Sunday, October 16, 2011

Why is Cain being taken seriously?

Why is it that the media -including conservative media- are taking Herman Cain so seriously?

Yes, his poll numbers are impressive for a candidate who was written off just weeks ago. But Cain's rise would not have happened had the media been doing their jobs. There are two categorical failures in the media's coverage of Cain, coverage concerning his 9-9-9 plan, and everything else. First, the tax plan:

A lot of conservative wonks are not on board with 9-9-9 for various wonky reasons. Sadly, the media has largely avoided those reasons, and has chosen to focus on made-up bullshit instead. Virtually every media report on Cain's plan portrays a nightmare scenario for middle and lower income households who would suddenly be hit with massive sales tax increases. The media conveniently omits the fact that Federal payroll taxes (-who is this "FICA" person, and why does he get so much of my paycheck?) would be eliminated under Cain's plan.

When critics leave out this crucial detail, they only invite the Cainiacs to (correctly) cry foul. All this spurious criticism then blinds Cain supporters to the legitimate problems with the Cain candidacy.

But with all the fuss about 9-9-9, we've been distracted from the biggest reason Cain shouldn't be President: He doesn't understand the Constitution.

I’m not exactly the biggest fan of the Religion of Peace (tm), but I have enough respect for the First Amendment to know that localities can’t prohibit the construction of mosques based on majority vote. Freedom of religion doesn’t work like that. That sort of fundamental misunderstanding of the Constitution is a complete deal-breaker.

And we shouldn’t forget Cain's shaky remarks about the Second Amendent, which, even in the most generous view of Cain’s comments, seems to misunderstand the incorporation doctrine.

So there we have it. A guy who is dead wrong about the First Amendment, possibly the Second, and shows a general misunderstanding of Constitutional principles. Even his 9-9-9 plan shows a wrongness about the ability of Congress to bind future Congresses to a two-thirds supermajority to raise taxes. The supermajority requirement itself could be repealed by a simple majority.

How can anybody, particularly pro-Constitution conservatives, possibly be taking Herman Cain seriously?