Last week I announced the formation of my Presidential Exploratory Committee. That’s right! I am formally testing the waters for a run for the presidency of the United States of America. We want to measure how much voter support and financial support we can generate in helping to make a final decision.
Of course some people think I have lost my normally rational mind, while others are excited about the possibility of a problem-solver in the White House instead of another politician. Some others have expressed doubts that I even have a chance, but I have been to that rodeo before and succeeded against the odds. In fact, that’s been the story of my career.
The day after the announcement, I had fifteen interviews with all types of media. The most frequently asked questions were whether people would elect someone who has never held public office, what makes me different from the other likely candidates seeking the Republican nomination, and was I running to win. In the case of the last question, they don’t know me very well.
As for not having held public office, I pointed out that most of the people in Washington today have held public office, “so how’s that working out for the country?” None of the reporters attempted to defend the lack of leadership we have in Washington, D.C., or the myriad of problems that never get solved. They just get worse, delayed or ignored altogether, as the self-appointed political elites pass new legislation for the greatest power grab in our history.
What makes me different is that I am an unconventional candidate. I believe voters are ready for an unconventional candidate based on how the citizens’ movement has impacted the political landscape as evidenced in the November 2010 elections. Many people also like the fact that I have actually run large organizations and fixed broken businesses in my 45-year business career.
Another attribute that makes me different from other potential candidates is my approach to problem solving. It’s simply working on the right problems, establishing the right priorities and putting the right people in place to execute the right plans. Ask the right questions along the way, with a good dose of common sense, and we make things happen.
Example: We have known for decades that baby boomers would start straining the Social Security system. The only changes made over the years were to gradually reduce benefits, gradually increase the retirement age, and gradually increase payroll taxes. That’s not a solution! That’s delaying the inevitable.
A solution would be what the small country of Chile did nearly 30 years ago. They transitioned their similar system using personal retirement accounts after their payroll taxes reached 27 percent of a worker’s income. Instead of continuing to dump people’s money into a dysfunctional system, each worker contributes to a personal retirement account with the worker’s name on it. What a novel idea!
I have also had an extensive career of diverse experiences, which has allowed me to continually sharpen my communications skills on a variety of topics. Many good ideas die in Washington, D.C because they get lost in the politics or the media echo chamber. As a result, the public stays confused and some people are totally disengaged, allowing the bureaucrats to make government bigger and bigger and less effective.
I would be a people’s president, taking common sense solutions directly to the people to get their support, which would impose pressure on the committee of 535 to do what’s right for the people for the right reasons. The citizens’ movement has shown that when people understand it, they will demand it.
My primary motivation for even prayerfully considering a run for the presidency is all of our grandchildren. I have three and I do not want to have to tell them what America used to be like when men were free, as Ronald Reagan said.
I would be running to win for them, because it’s not about us.
A people’s president would be of the people, by the people and for the people.
Herman Cain is a former CEO, a radio talk show host on AM 750 and 95.5 FM WSB in Atlanta, and a FOX News contributor.