The right did it with Obama and will have to do it with Cain. When Senator Obama was running, questions abounded over his qualifications after serving just one term as a Federal elected official.
To be fair to Obama (I don’t say that often), he had served three terms in the Illinois state legislature.
Herman Cain, on the other hand, has never held elected office. Anywhere. For any reason.
Cain also happens to be the Republican front-runner in the polls.
Whomever he runs against will also have to acknowledge that, qualified or not when he was elected, Obama was elected and has served for 3 years as President.
Cain has experience running a company, something that had been the focus of campaign barbs in the Republican party nomination process in 2008, but that’s it.
Cain’s exuberance and enthusiasm has muted the criticisms about his experience which is fine to some degree. However, the same people clamoring to disqualify Obama for his lack of experience are anointing Cain the conservative front-runner of the 2012 election.
Those people, conservatives mostly, seem to have a short memory. Yes, Obama got elected with little experience, but he had more experience than does Cain and has been a colossal disaster as President.
I’m not saying Cain wouldn’t make a better commander-in-chief than our soon-to-be-former President. I think Cain understands what it means to be a leader, since there are few more difficult leadership positions than that of running a business, particularly one the size of Godfather’s Pizza.
Cain understands the type of needs businesses have and what might actually spur them to get moving again.
I’m just talking about being consistent. If you killed Obama for his lack of experience, then some sort of even more heinous metaphor (brutally murdering) has to describe the way we talk about Cain’s experience.
Furthermore, it isn’t like Cain is facing political neophytes in the Republican party. Mitt Romney was a successful entrepreneur much like Cain, but was the governor of a major east-coast state (although actually has less political experience than Candidate Obama had).
Romney ran against Massachusetts Ted Kennedy and lost, but was elected governor in 2002. He presided over just one term.
Unlike Obama but like Cain, Romney made his living as a business person, and as such, seems to have a better grasp of what’s going on in the commercial sector.
Either way, Romney has more experience than Cain and he’s the least experienced of the Republican candidates.
Rick Perry, who’s campaign has fallen on hard times, was elected Lt. Governor of Texas in 1998, before becoming governor when George W. Bush took office.
Perry won re-election three times since and is currently the longest continuously serving governor in the United States.
Even Michele Bachmann has more experience than Herman Cain. Bachmann served two years in the Minnesota State Senate, before later getting electing to the House of Representatives, where she’s served since 2007.
And while Newt Gingrich seemingly has no chance of being elected or receiving the nomination, few Republicans in the country have more experience than Gingrich as a high-profile Republican dating back to the Clinton administration as Speaker of the House.
Gingrich served 20 years in Congress until he left office in 1999.
And we haven’t even talked about long-time political veteran and outspoken Libertarian Ron Paul.
Again, none of this means Cain is an inferior candidate to his competitors, it just means he’s less experienced.
If conservatives and Republicans alike want to be consistent, they need to recognize the inherent flaws of Cain’s political inexperience.
That is, if his seemingly perpetual media flubs aren’t reminder enough.
Conservatives will have to defend Cain’s experience from liberal attacks like, “Well, what has Cain ever done besides run a pizza chain?”
The response can’t be, “Well, Obama didn’t have any experience either,” because, frankly, his lack of experience is part of the reason he’s struggling to stay above water.
Citing Cain’s experience as a businessperson and Obama’s lack of such experience is a much better counter, but questions over Cain’s political acumen will remain.
There is, however, a bright side for Cain supporters. A one-term senator was elected three years ago at a time when America was in crisis.
The crisis remains, and it is one of confidence in our government as well as the continued stagnation of our economy.
If candidate Obama can get elected, there’s no reason to believe Cain can’t be likewise elected, especially when you consider that, for most people, the crisis has gotten worse, not better.