I guess it finally had to come to this – judging presidential candidates by a somewhat less than objective analysis of their campaign websites.
I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn’t seen it myself, but I did, last Sunday morning on Fox News Sunday. Host Chris Wallace was grilling GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain on his 9-9-9 Tax Plan and Cain was explaining in detail just how it would work and why it would invigorate business, leading to more jobs and recovery from the recession.
Cain also detailed how American workers would have far more control over their wages and expenditures under his plan.
Wallace responded to Cain's explanation by saying that he didn't see the information on Cain's website. Cain responded to Wallace by saying that's because it isn’t on his website.
Wallace asked Cain, "Why not?"
Cain responded that the information Wallace was asking about is not on his website because he doesn’t want it on his website. That seemed to give Wallace a bit of a pause, but frankly I found it to be refreshingly honest.
I have a website. You are probably reading this on my website. I pay for it, and I pay the webmaster who maintains it for me. It's mine; if I don’t want something on it you can bet that it won't be on it. As far as I'm concerned Cain was making a pure statement of ownership and Wallace was acting like an Obama Socialist who thinks the general public owns and controls every facet of our public and private lives regardless of who is paying the bill.
Overall, I'd have to say that Wallace was doing a pretty good job of pressing Cain on the specifics of his proposed tax program, and Cain was doing a pretty good job of answering Wallace's questions. I did get a bit of a chuckle when Wallace said that unnamed people at Fox News weren't sure that Cain's proposal adds up.
Cain responded by detailing exactly how he arrived at his program, what revenues it would bring to the government and the breaks it would give to both individuals and businesses. Cain then reminded, or perhaps informed, Wallace that he majored in mathematics in college before becoming a highly successful businessman.
So Wallace then challenged Cain on the identities of his economic advisers. Cain told Wallace the name of his chief economic adviser but Wallace wasn't satisfied, saying Cain has more than one and he wants to know who they are.
Cain responded by refusing to tell Wallace the names of his other economic advisers. Wallace asked why not, and Cain responded that he did not have permission to use their names in a public venue as being associated with his campaign.
Once again, Wallace seemed somewhat unsettled by that response.
And once again, I think Cain did what he should have done. I have no doubt of his business acumen, nor that he has people helping him formulate his plans for economic recovery and the future of America's tax structure.
I also have worked in politics long enough to know that most campaigns of substance have people supporting them out front and others who work behind the scenes. There is nothing nefarious about this; some people just want to help but are concerned that the candidate won't get the nomination and they don’t want to burn bridges with others who may get the nomination.
All in all, Cain has repeatedly shown that he knows his subject matter, he is willing to discuss it openly and in detail and he is not likely to back peddle on his positions. When he actually gets asked questions in the GOP debates he answers clearly, concisely and he makes sense. Often he gets enthusiastic applause from the audiences.
FOX News is hosting another debate tonight and has asked viewers to submit questions to the candidates. So I can't help but wonder if out in the wide world of American voters, someone asked Herman Cain if he has attached a detailed analysis of his economic recovery program on his website, and if not, why not.
I didn't submit a question but if I did I think that after watching Fox News Sunday last week the question that would have interested me the most is: "Do you think my website makes my thighs look big?"
Thursday, September 22, 2011