John Colson: Hit and Run | AspenTimes.com

John Colson: Hit and Run

John Colson
Aspen Times Weekly
Aspen, CO Colorado

Just imagine how wild, how unutterably great it would be to have two black candidates vying for the presidency of the United States. Some of our more benighted states might try to secede again over it.

That’s about the only good thing I can think of regarding Herman Cain, the guy who wants the Republican nomination. Otherwise, he’s just another Republican, hallucinating about a mythical past in which everything was wonderful and the poor stayed in their place and America was the unblemished leader of the free world.

It’s interesting that, in a vein similar to the ideas voiced by Clarence Thomas, Cain has been quoted as saying poor people are only poor because of something they, themselves have done, remarks that many black voters have interpreted as something a self-hating black man might say.

His implication is that since he, the son of relatively poor black folks, can make it to be a billionaire, anybody else can, too.

That blase cliche, of course, completely ignores the most basic fact of pyramid-style, monopolistic capitalism, which is that in order for there to be fabulously rich people at the top of our national heap, there must be grindingly poor people at the bottom.

If you doubt that fact, I can only feel sorry for you, because it’s as plain as it possibly can be.

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Cain’s fans like to point out that he took the Godfather’s Pizza chain from a nearly foundering heap in the late 1980s, to a major player in the pizza wars in the mid-1990s, when he was tapped to head up the National Restaurant Association. According to a story in Newsweek, Cain, who was appointed to run the business by its corporate parent, Pillsbury, gave the pizza chain an extra edge, commissioning wacky ad campaigns and gong toe-to-toe with the big boys – Dominoes and Pizza Hut – in television marketing competition.

OK, he’s a whiz at cobbling together funny ads about a type of food that is so far from its roots, it’s worse than McDonald’s in terms of its effects on an otherwise healthy body. It’s a big part of why this nation is rapidly becoming the fattest on Earth, thank you very much, so I personally don’t give Cain a lot of credit for being able to sell more of this slop to us.

Now, if he had become known for helping to raise awareness of the dangers of eating nothing but pizza, by offering healthy alternatives and cutting down on the amount of fat-producing ingredients, I might feel a little more favorably toward the guy.

But the plain fact of the matter is that Cain is just another Republican, one who admits his entire goal in life has been to get rich. The Newsweek profile even has him changing the mantra of the Civil Rights movement from the original “We Shall Overcome” to his own, self-centered version, “I Shall Overcome.” Which, in and of itself, might be a creditable philosophy – but we can’t all “overcome” and get rich (see above) and somebody’s got to look out for those who are left behind.

And now he’s touting this 9-9-9 plan all over the country, citing it as the formula for bringing our nation our of the economic doldrums and into the light of prosperity.

Again, we have a few conceptual hurdles to overcome, such as the fact that a nine percent sales tax on everything, including food, disproportionately hits the poor, taking a bigger bit out of their income, while the rich wouldn’t even notice it.

The same is true with his nine-percent income tax. Of course, his 9 percent corporate tax is the darling of the CEOs, because it will legitimize corporate America’s long-extant habit of not paying its fair share to keep this country afloat.

Let me say it clearly – the only beneficiaries of the 9-9-9 plan will be the corporations and the wealthy, while the rest of us will just have to suck wind a little harder.

So, to sum it all up, I can’t see much good coming out of Herman Cain, other than the likelihood that if he gets the Republican nomination, it will guarantee Obama another four years in the White House.

Now that would be a humdinger.

jcolson@aspentimes.com

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