It’s no wonder the more people learn about Herman Cain, the more they like him. Quite apart from his policy proposals, his positive attitude — and his willingness to learn from mistakes (both his own and those of others) — is infectious and impressive.
This morning on “Fox and Friends,” Cain chatted about his new book, “This is Herman Cain! My Journey to the White House.” With characteristic humor, he laughed at the subtitle of his book, but didn’t back away from his belief in his ability to win: “I have the solutions,” he said.
And with trademark optimism, he explained why not even the racism he encountered as he grew up made him bitter.
“I’m not angry with America because America has something that a lot of other countries don’t have: the ability to change,” Cain said. “That’s the greatness of this country. We have always had struggles throughout our short 235-year history. Why be bitter? Why not embrace the change especially since it’s positive? So, I don’t have a negative attitude about this country because of that.”
His remarks on poverty were similarly apt — expressing the fundamental truth that it’s not poverty that imprisons, but dependence. Born to a father who worked three jobs until he could live off two — and two until he could live off one — and a mother who worked as a maid, he learned the value of hard work from his parents.
“We didn’t know we were poor because my parents embraced the opportunity to work for what it was that they wanted to achieve,” he said.
As Cain continues to climb in the polls, he seems increasingly confident in himself and the solutions he has to offer — solutions he says transcend partisan ideology as well as race. He’s always brought a refreshing and candid presence to the Republican field, but, now that the electorate has begun to see he offers a serious option, he has become even bolder, even more straightforward. For example, Cain this morning said Romney will eventually stumble thanks to the “ankle brace” of Romneycare, and suggested Rick Perry should have been better prepared before he entered the race. But because he’s still a decided underdog, he’s able to speak those truths without sounding harsh or threatened.
Yes, he’s bound to face more media scrutiny in the coming weeks, but Cain surely has enough life experience to stay humble — and zeroed in on solutions. It doesn’t seem probable that Cain will cause himself to stumble, in other words. Plus, when he has in the past, he’s picked himself up pretty quickly. Perhaps his lack of political experience allows him to make peace with his missteps, extract the lesson from them and move on in a way more experienced politicians (like Rick Perry) can’t.
What remains to be seen is whether Republicans are just symbolically rewarding Cain’s ascending performance right now or whether they’re actually seriously considering him as the potential nominee.