Sarah Palin may have ultimately declined to run for president, but the brand of folksy and plainspoken "non-politician" that she embraced during her flirtation with higher office is still in demand among many Republican primary voters.
Ask former pizza impresario and improbable 2012 Republican frontrunner Herman Cain who, as a supposedly bona-fide Washington outsider with an ability to create catchy sound bites on the fly, has hammered away at his 9-9-9 tax plan to become “The Black Sarah Palin” – the newest gaffe-prone and likely-to-collapse-on-the-national-stage Tea Party darling.
Here are the reasons why "The Hermanator," with his folksy anti-intellectualism and lack of substance on important policy issues, is the next Sarah Palin – a title with serious liabilities if he wants to become president, but one that gives him a great chance to land a role with Fox News.
1. He's "anti-establishment": Just as Palin initially characterized herself as an outsider by "taking on the good ol' boys" as governor of Alaska, Cain has made sure he highlights his common-people and small business owner credentials as often as possible, despite being a Federal Reserve “insider” as denounced by fellow presidential contender Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas).
2. He throws "red meat:" Like Palin, who immortalized a good number of controversial statements (death panels, anyone?), “Citizen Cain” knows how to energize the conservative base with provocative and potentially offensive comments such as when he said on CNN’s The Situation Room that African Americans are "brainwashed" into voting Democratic and proposed an electrified border fence along the Mexican border.
3. He's anti-intellectual: Just as Palin prided herself in not having "an elitist Ivy League education," the former CEO of Godfather's Pizza thinks that is not important to know the name of the president of "Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan" while denouncing what he and Palin refer to as the media’s “gotcha questions” during an interview on CBN.
4. He's a walking bumper sticker: Who doesn't remember some of the most popular "Palinisms" ("don't retreat, reload," "we're all Arizonans now", and "blood-libel" among others). Cain has his phrases, too. Among them, the “black walnut” response to Palin’s dismissal of his candidacy as “the flavor of the week” right after his surprising win in the Florida straw poll last September.
5. He's not ready for primetime: In an era of exacerbated cynicism, political inexperience becomes an asset for launching careers such as Palin's and Cain's. However, when novice campaigns hit the realities, demands, and magnified scrutiny of the national stage, they tend to collapse under inconsistent statements, a lack of command of important national issues, or both.
6. He's entertaining: Unlike Tea Party darling substitutes Christine O'Donnell and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Palin and Cain have real entertainment value that displays itself whenever Cain sings in front of a political rally or Palin goes “climbing in Alaska.”
7. He invokes guns and religion: Bona-fide conservatives such as Palin and Cain "keep clinging to our Constitution and our guns and religion" just as both of them have stated repeatedly on and off the campaign trail – Cain most recently stated during a speech at the Western Republican Leadership Conference, "I like my guns and my bible."
8. He has no foreign-policy credentials: Aside for some attacks on “weak” President Barack Obama and some rehashing of President Ronald Reagan’s “peace through strength” doctrine, little is known about Cain’s positions on foreign policy. While not as laughable as Palin’s “You can see Russia from Alaska,” Cain’s lack of experience on the issue is nonetheless a serious liability in his quest for the commander in chief post.
9. He will end up as a Fox News contributor: Some of Cain’s critics agree on suggesting that the pizza magnate is actually running for his own show or at least a seat as a contributor to Fox News. The Hermanator, who already has professional radio talk show experience, could then join the ranks of Palin and disgraced South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford who recently was hired by Rupert Murdoch’s controversial news brand.
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