Election 2012

Herman Cain’s Bait and Switch

Given Herman Cain's recent and likely transient surge in the polls, everyone's been waiting for him to make his first big mistake before passing the torch off to the next front-runner. Today, he may have made that mistake.

Here's Herman Cain speaking on the subject of Occupy Wall Street.

CAIN: I don’t have facts to back this up, but I happen to believe that these demonstrations are planned and orchestrated to distract from the failed policies of the Obama administration. Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks, if you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself! [...] It is not someone’s fault if they succeeded, it is someone’s fault if they failed.

Republican voters may agree with Cain, in a masochistic sort of way, that Americans should blame themselves for not being among the ranks of the rich and shameless, but I highly doubt a majority of them would agree that Wall Street deserves none of the blame. Certainly a majority of Americans as a whole would not agree.

Cain is trying to tap into the notion, which is very prevalent among conservative voters, that we must protect the system because one day we're all going to be rich.

It's a bait a switch.

First they dangle the carrot in front of you by telling everyone that they too can own their own business and live like Kings if only government would get out of the way, and then after you've voted for them, they do their very best to ensure that you will never join The Big Club, as George Carlin would put it.

  • Username1016

    How funny. Today I read Barbara Ehrenreich’s Bait and Switch, which came out in 2005. Yep, the problem is entirely us, it’s not the corporate environment… funny how Bob’s even using the same words, “bait and switch.” I think I’m going to make my way to Wall Street and put in a few days protesting.

  • priscianusjr

    Assuming Cain’s target audience is the Tea Party, which is a pretty fair assumption, then this can hardly be seen as a mistake. A poll conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner for Carville’s Democracy Corps and released July 2010 found that 54% of people who identified with the Tea Party described themselves as “warm” to big corporations, out of which 24% were “very warm” (75-100), whereas only 20% were “cool” (but of those, 15% were “very cool”). This compares with likely voters, 30% of whom were warm and 42% cool. In other words, Tea Partiers were nearly twice as pro-Wall Street as the average likely voter, and the average likely voter was more than twice as anti-Wall Street as the Tea Partiers. There does appear to be a small minority, less than one-fifth, of Tea Partiers, who are anti-Wall Street. Or at least there were a year ago.
    I agree that what Cain said is a big mistake with regard to the average likely voter, but then so is most everything else he says.

    • bphoon

      The mistake is this: You can’t win a general election without independent voters. As you point out, their numbers are almost exactly opposite self-identified Tea Partiers.

      Maybe Cain would do better to run for King of the Tea Party.

    • bphoon

      The mistake is this (as I think you alluded to): To win a general election you need independent voters. You don’t win them over by pandering to the crazy caucus.

      Maybe Cain would do better running for Grand Imperial Wazoo of the Tea Party.

      • priscianusjr

        In effect that’s what he IS doing. I don’t think any of these guys (except Romney) seriously think they will be running against Obama. And as for Romney, he’ll never be Grand Imperial Wazoo of the Tea Party. but he hopes he can get them to vote for him for preznet of the US of A.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rick-Janes/607039439 Rick Janes

      It’s like the idiots who wave “Keep the govt out of my Medicare” signs — they may be having problems with a big corporation, or several of them, and may have even lost their job because a corporation shifted it overseas but, when they’re through complaining about that, they’ll blame anyone — Obama, hippies, liberals, whatever — but the Republicans for the mess they’re in. It’s a peculiar form of GOP-induced derangement, and a success of the right-wing propaganda machine; fortunately, the number who believe this guff is small and shrinking.

  • holyreality

    Conservatives demand the Billionaire’s agenda because they believe that with enough hard work, they too can rest on easy street.

    That, and anyone who engages in “class warfare” by definition, hates America, is jealous of the rich’s success, and wants to penalize that success.

    What conservatives need to have demonstrated to them is the TP agenda would culminate in a Somalia style pirate republic where the federal government is inconsequential, small, and the sacred freemarket runs amok.