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Yes, We Cain

A first-hand report from Atlanta, where Herman Cain announced his presidential candidacy on Saturday.

by
Mary Grabar

Bio

May 22, 2011 - 12:04 am
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It was the day the rapture was supposed to come. The invocation came from the Old Testament prophet Isaiah. Herman Cain chose Olympic Centennial Park in downtown Atlanta to announce his run for president, saying: “I stand in the shadows of my upbringing as the son of a chauffer and domestic worker.” To the 15,000 supporters gathered in the 85-degree sunshine, he said the “skeptics thought no one would show up.” But he wanted to counter speculation that as a dark horse he is in the race only to lobby for a cabinet position in a future Republican administration. Athletes compete for first place and so is he, he told the crowd. Communist China’s economic growth looms, with the country predicted to be on par with the U.S. in five years if we continue at the current pace. With that comes of course military power.  “I am not going to allow America to become number 2 economically or militarily,” Cain promised.

It could have been a tea party rally with the Fair Tax signs, the Gadsen flags, the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, the patriotic country songs — but now there were also Israeli flags to indicate alarm over President Obama’s announcement on Thursday, before discussions with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Obama’s public demand for a return to 1967 borders was taken by many commentators as a diplomatic insult, a bullying tactic.

Cain hit Obama hard on all the issues on which he has disappointed voters, citing the high unemployment rate. “Hope and change is not a job,” he quipped. He referred to Obama’s $2 billion loan to Brazil for offshore oil exploration, saying he would never go to a foreign country, loan them money, and promise to be their best customer. He cited the Justice Department’s lawsuit against Arizona’s law on illegal immigration. “The last thing I will do is sue a state,” he said.  Instead, he suggested, we send Arizona “a peace prize.”

News reports have referred to Cain’s weakness in foreign policy experience. He seemed to have that in mind when he said, “I know you don’t throw your friends under the bus. You don’t need years in the statehouse to know that.” The “Cain Doctrine” would be “If you mess with Israel, you’re messing with the United States.”

His last point was that the nation has slipped into being an entitlement society. Another memorable line followed: “We can take this from an entitlement society to an empowerment society.”

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