Valentine: Cain seems able to handle his own

Friday, May 27, 2011

Atlanta businessman Herman Cain announced his candidacy for the presidency. If you were only paying attention to the mainstream media, you probably missed it. With the exception of a Fox News Sunday appearance (which we'll get to in a moment), most everyone else turned a blind eye to the announcement.

But if you were in Atlanta it was hard to ignore over 15,000 people at Centennial Olympic Park who enthusiastically embraced the candidacy of the self-proclaimed "real dark horse candidate." Cain dazzled the crowd in his usual fashion. Imagine Ronald Reagan as a black preacher.

Post mortems on sites like dismissed Cain's candidacy because of what they perceive as a fatal flaw. Cain served on the board of the Federal Reserve of Kansas City from 1992-94 and was chairman from 1995-96. Is that a deal-breaker? That depends.

If you believe that anyone who comes into contact with the Fed is inherently evil then it is. If you believe the Federal Reserve has become more of a source of our economic woes than financial stabilizer you understand how the role of the Fed has changed over the years.

I'll be honest. I'd rather that Herman Cain had never had anything to do with the Fed but I can certainly understand an immensely successful businessman like Cain being tapped for the position.

His support of TARP is a little more troubling but there are certainly conservatives who believed that it was in our best interest to make sure the large banks didn't fail. Cain later admitted that the plan was good in theory but in reality the government played favorites. He revised and extended his earlier remarks on TARP and now believes, in retrospect, it was a bad idea.

The rest of the Cain story reads like a prototypical conservative. Lower income taxes, lower the corporate tax rate, eliminate the capital gains tax. On illegal immigration he's for securing the borders, demagnetizing America by punishing employers who hire illegals and he's against amnesty.

With all that said the mainstream media, and many mainstream Republicans, have jumped all over Cain's Fox News Sunday appearance in which he supposedly stumbled over the 'right of return' question. Host Chris Wallace asked Cain, "Where do you stand on the right of return?" Cain looked at him confoundingly. "The right of return?" he asked twice. "The Palestinian right of return," Wallace clarified. "That's something that should be negotiated," Cain answered, adding that the decision should be Israel's and not the Palestinians.

The so-called experts waved Cain off as a lightweight. 'How could he be so uninformed?' they asked. Really? Over 4 million Palestinians live within the territory controlled by Israel. Sounds like Israel has already been making decisions on "right of return."

And is that supposed to be some universal code? I'm sure if you asked 95 percent of Americans what they thought of "right of return" they would give you the same dazed look.

But this is the game the intelligentsia elite love to play. They relish bringing up some esoteric word or phrase and chuckling with hands to mouths as the mere mortals stumble on their carefully laid trap.

Here's the bottom line and I'm going to say it because it needs to be said. Most people don't give a rat's rump about "right of return" or Israel, for that matter. I'm not saying we should throw Israel to the wolves. I'm simply saying it's not very high up on most people's priority list.

What matters is getting this economy back on track and on that issue Cain seems to be out-Foxing them all.

Phil Valentine is an author and syndicated radio talk show host. His website is