The Islamophobia Candidate
Herman Cain is probably the most important 2012 candidate you’ve never heard of — and we’d like to change that. With Herman Cain growing more popular in the polls and the next GOP primary debate just around the corner, here’s the rundown on Herman Cain.
What you might know about Herman Cain
- He is the former president and CEO of Godfather’s pizza
- He is a Tea Party favorite
- He is a former radio show host and Fox Business Channel contributor, naturally
What you might not know about Herman Cain’s and his campaign
- He is surging in the GOP primary polls and is more popular than other, more well-known candidates. In a Reuters/Ipsos poll out just yesterday, he was tied for third with Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) — putting him ahead of Tim Pawlenty, Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Jon Hunstman.
- He was the most googled presidential candidate during the month of May
- He was on the board of directors for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City during the 1990s
- He won the GOP’s first official debate, held last month in South Carolina, according to a Fox News/Frank Luntz focus group
- His official campaign announcement in Atlanta attracted nearly 15,000 people
- He has visited Iowa 19 times
- He says he is proof that the Tea Party is not racist
What you should know about some of the extreme views of Herman Cain
- Cain wouldn’t appoint Muslims to his administration: Back in March, ThinkProgress asked Cain if he’d be comfortable appointing Muslims to his cabinet and the federal judiciary. His response: “No, I will not.” During the now three-month long media firestorm that ensued, Cain hasrepeatedlytried to deny that’s what he said. PolitiFact awarded his denials a “pants on fire” rating. Religious tests are, of course, unconstitutional.
- Cain would require special loyalty oaths for Muslims: Yesterday, Cain gave an expansive interview to Glenn Beck, who asked him about his comments on Muslims appointees. Cain once again attempted to tamp down the controversy by insisting he’d been misquoted, but then added he would require special loyalty oaths for Muslims — but not for any other religious group.
- Cain says Muslims “have an objective to convert all infidels or kill them”: In an interview with Christianity Today magazine, Cain remarked: “The role of Muslims in American society is for them to be allowed to practice their religion freely, which is part of our First Amendment. The role of Muslims in America is not to convert the rest of us to the Muslim religion. That I resent.And so I push back and reject them trying to convert the rest of us. And based upon the little knowledge that I have of the Muslim religion, you know, they have an objective to convert all infidels or kill them.”
- Cain’s solution for securing the border is a Great Wall of China featuring a moat with alligators: During an event ThinkProgress attended earlier this week in Iowa, Cain said: “Now, my fence might be part Great Wall and part electrical technology. […] It will be a 20-foot wall, barbed wire, electrified on the top, and on this side of the fence, I’ll have that moat that President Obama talked about. And I would put those alligators in that moat!”
- Cain worked for a group and voiced ads in previous elections that accused Democrats of wanting to kill “black babies”: The group for which he was the spokesman and helped voice ads for in the 2004 and 2006 election cycles ran spots on black radio stations with lines like: “Black babies are terminated at triple the rate of white babies. The Democratic Party supports these abortion laws that are decimating our people, but the individual’s right to life is protected in the Republican platform. Democrats say they want our vote. Why don’t they want our lives?”
- Cain thinks it’s “plausible” that Planned Parenthood was formed to systematically lower the black population: During a 2004 Senate run, Cain said: “One of the motivations was killing black babies, because they didn’t want to deal with the problems of illiteracy and poverty.”
- Cain thinks homosexuality is a sin, but he’d appoint gay cabinet members –because, he says, they would not try to impose Sharia law: Cain told CBS news that he believes homosexuality is a sin; however, he told ThinkProgress earlier this week that he’d still be willing to appoint gays because he apparently believes they are anti-Sharia: “Nope, not at all. I wouldn’t have a problem with that at all. I just want people who are qualified, I want them to believe in the Constitution of the United States of America. So yep, I don’t have a problem with appointing an openly gay person. Because they’re not going to try to put sharia law in our laws.”
- Cain taking part in a Tea Party, pro-gold standard bus tour of Iowa: Along with several other candidates, Cain will participate in a three-week tour of Iowa that is focused, in part, on returning the U.S. to the gold standard, a favorite theme of Glenn Beck and the Tea Party. Blaming the national debt, Cain did admit to an Iowa audience earlier this week that it might be too difficult for the U.S. to go back on the gold standard.
- Cain misreads the Constitution to say the federal government can’t do anything about the foreclosure crisis: During a recent interview, Cain said, “The United States federal government, folks, has no jurisdiction over bankruptcy law. States do!” Article I of the Constitution, however, explicitly states: ““[t]he Congress shall have power . . . [t]o establish a uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States.”
Cain has also had some notable gaffes, including saying he would only sign bills three pages long or shorter (before backtracking) and confusing the Declaration of Independence with the Constitution.
Three months ago, ThinkProgress wrote: “As the Republican presidential nomination process begins, one GOP candidate is making a name for himself as the Islamophobia candidate: Herman Cain.” Yesterday, ThinkProgress’ Scott Keyes followed up by adding: “Unfortunately, we are seeing just how true that prediction was.”
Evening Brief: Important Stories That You May Have Missed
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) questioned Leon Panetta, President Obama’s Defense Secretary nominee, about “military plans to strike and destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities.”
Dana Goldstein calls for cooling off the rhetoric around the NAACP/UFT lawsuit against the NYC Education Department and taking a case-by-case approach.
The FAIR Blog mocks a New York Times headline — “Connecticut Shifts to the Left” — for a budget that achieved a four percent cut overall.
Dimi Reider, who was early on the story of Gay Girl in Damascus being abducted, tries (inconclusively) to pick through accounts and evaluate the dramatic Arab Spring sub-plot.
House Budge Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) has called for the U.S. to go into default and miss some payments to creditors.
The RAND corporation is distancing itself from a report written by an adjunct staff member which suggested that Iran could produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon within eight weeks.
Public underestimates the cost of Bush tax cuts.
Bush rehabilition watch.
Politicians shouldn’t be assignment editors.
The problem isn’t on the supply-side.
Bad Party Tricks: Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) Thinks Default on Our Obligations Would Be a Good Thing
Last week, we discussed how Republicans have amnesia about how we got into our current debt troubles (hint: Bush-era policies) and how they’re playing with fire when it comes to the nation’s debt ceiling. Today we learn that Rep. Paul Ryan, the architect of the GOP’s plan to end Medicare in order to pay for tax breaks for the wealthy and Big Oil, has joined the crank wing of the Republican Party that actually believes default would be a good thing. ThinkProgress Economy’s Pat Garofalo has the details:
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) has outright called for the U.S. to go over the cliff and miss payments to creditors:
If a bondholder misses a payment for a day or two or three or four — what is more important is you are putting the government in a materially better position to better pay its bills going forward.
Several Republicans — including Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) — have said default would not necessarily be a bad thing. Others, like Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), have said that failing to raise the debt ceiling would bring on a “crisis,” but that such a crisis could be beneficial. But as the State pointed out, Ryan is “is the highest ranking Republican thus far to express support for a possible U.S. default.”
Numbers to Know: Economic Growth in Minnesota Under Tim Pawlenty
Despite the fact that it has never happened before, Tim Pawlenty’s “fantasy” plan for the economy predicts sustained 5 percent GDP growth for the next 10 years. Based on his own experience as governor of Minnesota, Pawlenty should know he can’t deliver results like that. Though his predecessor as governor, former pro-wrestler Jesse Ventura, did achieve 5 percent growth in some years, it never happened from 2003-2010 when Pawlenty himself was governor. Here’s the chart, via Matt Yglesias:
Check out Tuesday’s Progress Report for more on Pawlenty’s $7.8 TRILLION plan that slashes taxes for the wealthy and corporations, raises taxes on the middle class, and slashes Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
LATE BREAKING: Newt Gingrich’s Campaign Aides Resign En Masse
I am committed to running the substantive, solutions-oriented campaign I set out to run earlier this spring. The campaign begins anew Sunday in Los Angeles.