It's bad enough that some religious extremists are trying to divide Republican voters who are seeking a presidential candidate – with a minister for one Protestant denomination, who claims to be spreading the word of Jesus Christ in support of Rick Perry, calling Mormonism a cult.
But it was just as bad to hear what Michelle Bachmann had to say about Herman Cain's 9-9-9 tax reform plan at the GOP debate in Dartmouth College this week.
Bachmann, apparently trying – unsuccessfully – to be glib said of the 9-9-9 plan, that when "turned upside down" meaning 6-6-6, "The devil is in the details." Oh, 666, the sign of the devil, I get it! Wow! What an unspeakably stupid comment!
I guess it was intended to turn Christian evangelists against Cain by making him appear to be doing the work of the devil. Does she think her fellow evangelists are that stupid? That was as big an insult to evangelist Christians as it was to Cain.
Bachmann's comment only proved to me that she be as small, mean and un-Christian as any other politician out there.
While Bachmann is showing that she only understands the current tax system and is unwilling to change it to make it fair to all Americans, Texas Gov. Rick Perry's wife Anita is running around the campaign trail inaccurately bashing Cain's plan while telling voters that Perry is being bashed for his faith.
What? It was his pastor who said Mormonism is a cult, and Perry won't repudiate that statement. These people are not good missionaries to spread the word of the Republican Party. And the ultimate GOP nominee will NOT get votes from independents or cross-over Democrats if this is where the debate is headed.
Bachmann's gaffe also was remarkable in that it came after she gave a really good response to a leftist question about American banks and corporations. But it was exactly in line with an equally obnoxious remark from former Utah governor and Obama Administration ambassador to China Jon Huntsman that he thought 9-9-9 stood for "the price of a pizza."
Which considering that the 9-9-9 plan is a precursor to the flat tax which Huntsman has bragged he used to bring Utah's finances under control makes him appear about as clueless as Bachmann. Both of these candidates tried to appear "cute," but neither pulled it off and considering the dire financial straits we are experiencing, their cavalier commentary is appallingly insensitive to the voters.
I don’t want a president who is glib, I want an president with a clear vision for the future of this country, and a plan showing how to get there. Bachmann, Huntsman and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum don't have one, but that didn’t stop them from trying to tear down the one workable, understandable plan that is being offered by a GOP candidate.
It also didn't escape my attention that when Cain directly confronted Mitt Romney, asking him to explain his 59-point recovery plan, Romney took the typical politician's road and said a whole bunch of words, none of which qualified as an answer.
Candidates and the media alike continually refer to Cain only as the former CEO of Godfather's Pizza, or The Pizza Man, obviously attempting to minimize his qualifications and his expertise. Few commentators mention that he is a degreed mathematician who worked for the US Navy, a former executive for Pillsbury who bought Godfather's from that firm and made it profitable, or that he has a history of turning around unsuccessful businesses.
The latest rap on Cain is that he is just one of many candidates who have surged, and that the others, Bachmann and Perry for instance, have then dropped back. But there is a major point being overlooked – Bachmann, Perry and Romney all had national name recognition that initially gave them a boost, but when their candidacies were examined closely people changed their minds.
Cain was not known nationally and has had to work hard just to get name recognition. But as more people look closely at Cain, his numbers are going up. What does that tell you?
The comments from Huntsman and Bachmann were obviously meant to be condescending and demeaning, not just to Cain's tax reform proposal but to him personally. But I think both candidates hurt themselves far more than they hurt Cain, and frankly, considering that both are going nowhere but down in the polls it would be nice to see them both drop out and let us concentrate on people without baggage who can beat Barack Obama.
One candidate seeing steady improvement in the polls - to a lot of pundits' surprise - is Newt Gingrich who repeatedly demonstrates his knowledge of the Constitution and federal law in GOP debates. The media determined early in this race that Gingrich is ineligible to be president but again the voters are showing that they have their own minds.
Considering how the Democrats have treated the White House, both the physical building and the office of the presidency, going all the way back to John F. Kennedy, I don't think Gingrich's three marriages should necessarily disqualify him, especially since he is showing a commanding grasp of the issues and potential solutions. He gets along well with Cain too and has refrained from the character assassination the other candidates employ.
It is also remarkable that so many people are criticizing 9-9-9 but either have conflicts of interest or don't understand Cain's proposal.
For instance, the current tax code is more than 70,000 pages long, would stretch over 12 miles if the pages were laid down end to end, and it changes every year. Guess who profits from that system?
Michelle Bachmann and her husband, both of whom are federal tax lawyers as she repeatedly points out during her campaign speeches and debates, that's who. So I have to take her comments with a grain of salt.
Oh, and Rick Santorum. Did you see his reasoning as to why the 9-9-9 plan won't work? Well, he says it will never pass Congress. Really, that's it.
That kind of negative, wimpy approach to solving our nation's problems is exactly why voters across the political spectrum are looking for a real leader. Real leaders don’t tell us what we can't do, a leader sees possibilities, not insurmountable obstacles.
And lest we forget, Santorum, Bachmann, and Ron Paul all are or were part of the system that got us to this point in the first place. So continuing with their negativity and lack of creative solutions doesn't bode well for the future of our country.
Santorum even turned to the New Hampshire audience and asked for a show of hands on who would support a national sales tax, without adding that virtually all other taxes and fees would be abolished. Not surprisingly, people didn't go for it.
So, let's see. Using that methodology, how many people who are watching me write this column would vote for Rick Santorum?
No one! Sorry, Ricky, you're out too. Pack your bags and join Bachmann, Huntsman and Perry in the taxi.
Friday, October 14, 2011