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As I continue to observe the 2012 GOP presidential primary, it is becoming more and more apparent that mainstream republican voters are dissatisfied with the current field of candidates. Up until the Ames, IA debate and straw poll, many were clamoring for Texas Governor Rick Perry to enter the race, and he did not disappoint — that is until he first opened his mouth at his first debate. His debating skills are, to say the least, to be desired. Despite that, Perry has been exposed on his less than conservative stances over the years. The bottom line on Rick Perry is that he is a republican opportunist who looks and sounds conservative, but upon closer examination, reveals himself to be inconsistently conservative at best.

After Perry waxed and waned, people were pressing such republican celebrities such as former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan to enter into the race. As of this writing, all three of them have declined to enter into the race. Unless something drastic happens, the current field of candidates is going to be it. That means conservatives are either going to have to hold their collective noses and pull the lever for Mitt Romney, or rally around a current candidate.

After Michele Bachman’s crash and burn and Rick Perry’s crash and burn, the current favorite seems to be former Godfather Pizza CEO Herman Cain. What’s not to like about Herman Cain? He’s smart, accomplished, articulate, personable, and (sorry to say it) he’s black. Not that race should matter, but Cain offers something that no other GOP candidate can — he can speak on race related issues with some serious credibility. Unlike our current president, Herman Cain grew up poor and earned his place in life with hard work and determination.

However, as appealing it would be to get behind Herman Cain, to do so because he’s black and can go toe-to-toe with Barack Obama is definitely the wrong way to go. In our current day and age, the presidential election is more a popularity contest than a serious debate on substantive issues. Look at how the presidential debates are organized with everyone expected to give substantive answers to serious questions in 60 seconds or less. If you look good, sound good and can give a catchy, clever soundbite, you’re halfway home. Herman Cain is acceptable on all three counts; his “9-9-9” plan is clever and catchy, plus he looks and sounds good.

Yet if one looks a little closer at his records, there are some disturbing revelations. Let’s consider a few issues of importance in this election:

  • The TARP Bailouts — Herman Cain was in support of the bailouts. He called them a “win-win” for the taxpayer. What?!?!? Banks that engaged in risky financial behavior received all of the profit when things went right, but were able (through TARP) to push the losses onto the American taxpayer. How is this a “win-win”? It’s only a win-win if you’re talking about the bankers and the politicians. The taxpayers got screwed. Herman Cain has gone on record as saying that while he supported the bailouts in theory, the way it was handled was poor. I don’t think it’s a case of good vs. poor handling of the bailouts, but a case of right vs. wrong. It’s wrong to take taxpayer money and use it to bail out banks that failed. It’s especially wrong to take taxpayer money and use it to bail out politically connected banks that failed. In a free market economy, banks that make risky investments should be allowed to fail if they don’t pan out. That’s how you cleanse bad money from the market.
  • Auditing the Federal Reserve — Herman Cain, former chairman of the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank, was caught in a flat out lie during the debate on October 11. Congressman Ron Paul questioned Cain on his comments about those calling for an audit of the Federal Reserve. Cain denied that he was against the idea of an audit of the Federal Reserve and clarified that his position was that if anyone wanted to audit the Fed to go right ahead, he’s not against it. However, several sources have found comments Mr. Cain made on the Neil Boortz Show in which he, in fact, did dismiss the idea of auditing the Fed. He claimed that nothing would be found, that the Fed conducts hundreds of internal audits and that it’s a waste of taxpayer money (this coming from the man who was in support of TARP). At the end of this article is a video of Herman Cain’s comments regarding the Fed.
  • Housing Bubble/Economic Crash — As has been noted by others, Herman Cain gave the economy a clean bill of health two weeks before the housing bubble burst. He has since admitted that he wasn’t aware that things were that bad with the economy. OK, that’s good that Herman Cain was able to admit he failed to foresee the economic crisis. It’s a lot better than many other politicians would do. But here’s the deal: Do we want a man as president that couldn’t see this disaster coming less than two weeks before it did? That’s like the captain of the Titanic saying the oncoming iceberg poses no real threat.

Conservatives, if you’re looking for a candidate other than Romney for whom to vote, why settle for Herman Cain? Cain is no outsider, he’s a former Federal Reserve chairman — that means he’s a politically connected insider. Herman Cain was wrong on TARP, wrong on the Federal Reserve and wrong on the financial crisis. If you want to solve the economic problems we have, you cannot vote for someone who not only wasn’t able to diagnose the problem, but was in favor of actions that have prolonged the problem. Furthermore, he wasn’t even in favor of going to the source of the problem (the Fed).

I think as conservatives, we need to get behind the only true conservative running in the race — Ron Paul. As is obvious from perusing his economic plan, Dr. Paul is the only candidate who is proposing serious cuts to the federal budget — true cuts, not fake Washington cuts (i.e., cuts to the rate of growth). Ron Paul promises to cut nearly $1T from the 2013 budget and to balance the budget in his first term in office. No other candidate is proposing anything so radical. Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan, while it sounds nice in theory, it proposes to introduce a new revenue stream into Washington in the form of a national sales tax; this on top of a corporate tax and an income tax. Furthermore, the 9-9-9 tax plan is a regressive tax — meaning it will affect poor people at a disproportionately higher rate.

Conservatives, I think the choice is crystal clear. Ron Paul voted against TARP and thought that the banks who made bad investments should have failed. Ron Paul has been fighting against the secrecy of the Federal Reserve System for over 30 years. He finally was able to receive a partial audit of the Fed, and far from finding “nothing” (as Mr. Cain has said), they found that the Fed created $15T, giving nearly a third of it to support and bail out foreign banks. Ron Paul will give us a full audit of the Fed and then eventually end its monopoly of control on our money supply. Finally, Ron Paul recognized the impending housing collapse in 2001. Would you rather have a president who didn’t see the financial collapse two weeks before it happened, or a president who not only saw it coming seven years ahead of time, but would have taken corrective action before the crash hit? Republicans can keep on trying to find that “magic” candidate who will take on the mantle of Ronald Reagan and defeat Barack Obama, or they can vote for a true statesman in Ron Paul — a man of unwavering principle and character who has been preaching the message of individual liberty, personal responsibility and free markets all his life.

Herman Cain lying about the Federal Reserve: