“I Support Cain” Means “The Country Is Fine Just As It Is”

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A Suffolk University poll of Florida Republicans finds 25% in support of Mitt Romney and 24% supporting Herman Cain. In other words, these voters believe the country is about 4 percent off track but basically all right. For all their talk about how bad Obama is, apparently things aren’t that bad if they want to replace him with a safe establishment man like Romney or Cain (former head of the Kansas City Federal Reserve).

Under Romney it’s obvious nothing will change. Anyone can see that. Under Cain it’s only slightly less obvious. His big proposal is a revenue-neutral tax shifting. He has no plans to cut anything (and please, spare me the he’ll-cut-the-rate-of-growth-of-spending stuff). He supported Romney in 2008. He supported TARP — he had no idea it would be used to “pick winners and losers”! — which means on the key economic issue of our time, which Reagan budget director David Stockman calls “the single greatest economic-policy abomination since the 1930s, or perhaps ever,” Cain chose the Establishment over the people. He lectured “free-market purists” for opposing it.

You can imagine how much “change” we can expect from a guy like that — the whole establishment lines up on one side (the New York Times, the Washington Post, the cable news commentators, John McCain, Barack Obama) and the American people on the other, and Cain goes with the establishment. But he’ll be a big maverick next time that happens, right? Sure.

Not to mention he thought there was nothing wrong with the economy on September 1, 2008. How can he fix something he couldn’t perceive — and actually ridiculed other people for pointing out? How is this in any way defensible? He is such a lightweight on the economy that he calls his economic adviser onto the stage to answer even simple questions.

His foreign policy is indistinguishable from Hillary Clinton’s. Both subscribe to the entirely conventional bipartisan foreign-policy consensus, which has yielded Americans one budget-busting boondoggle after another. (Turns out the people in Washington the Tea Party rails against do not suddenly become infallible and super-effective when they turn to foreign policy — though why this should be surprising or unexpected I have never been able to understand.)

So Florida voters are telling us this: we don’t want a truth-teller who in 2001 explained precisely what was happening to the economy. We don’t want any deviation from the trillion-dollar bipartisan foreign policy (even though we don’t support any other bipartisan program). We want someone totally clueless who will more or less keep things the way they are and not lay out any serious plan for cutting spending or the deficit. Well, that’s just super.

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