Sunday, October 23, 2011

Opinion: Why The Heartland Loves Herman Cain

By Steve Steckler ~ Back home in the heartland, where local retirees gather grudgingly at McDonalds each morning since their beloved diner has closed, the conversation drifts from farmland prices to the St. Louis Cardinals. It is in a state Barack Obama won in 2008 but where he doesn't stand a chance in 2012. These are good folks who no knowledgeable person would call rednecks. Most seem proud of the country for having elected a black president in 2008, though few will admit to having voted for him.

But Obama is not the main topic of conversation this week, nor is it Mitt Romney, and certainly not Rick Perry. It is Herman Cain, who they view as "authentic" as much as they have come to view Obama as from another planet. They even like Cain's 9-9-9 tax plan because they equate fairness with clarity and simplicity, and complexity with pinheads and cheaters.

How is it that Cain - Morehouse man, Federal Reserve banker, and corporate CEO - is so interesting to this all-white, not-terribly-political group of working class geezers? It's not because of any sort of tea party connection: these folks don't wear their politics on their sleeves. No, they seem to like Herman Cain because he's the kind of guy they'd invite to join their Masonic Lodge, or share a beer with at the Knights of Columbus hall. Moreover, they seem not to envy his success because they believe he's done it the way a man should: hard work, starting at the bottom and working his way up, in business, and certainly not from a lifetime in government or as a sudden post-racial messiah. Somehow, they feel Cain understands them in a way the effete Obama never will.

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