Herman Cain was quiet in last week’s national security debate. Unless more is made of the sexual harassment allegations of the four women who’ve come forward to accuse him, he’ll likely be allowed to die on the vine with the same lack of fanfare in which he entered the race. Newt Gingrich, (one head of the Great Republican Hydra) won over Ron Paul, and Michele Bachmann, the only other candidates fully participating. Cain appeared drawn, tired, disengaged, and out of his element since no opportunity to insert 9-9-9 into the discussion presented itself.
Cain’s overexposure the couple of weeks while he was his Party’s frontrunner, his lack of knowledge about issues both foreign and domestic, and his ability to revel in his ignorance, proved him as equally unqualified as the rest of the field of GOP contenders. A few weeks later, when he fended off his accusers in sexual harassment charges an arrogance and nastiness arose seldom witnessed in even a GOP presidential candidate.
His explanation, a modern day “buck dance,” with shuffle and tap steps attempted to conjure up some collective hallucination that these women were lying, and that he, Herman Cain, was victim of yet another “high tech lynching” like his brother Clarence Thomas.
can he deliver?
As stalking horse for the Republicans, Cain boasts of his ability to squarely deliver African-American votes underneath the Big Tent. His theory about blacks held in ignorant captivity by the Democrats is unfounded; the truth is, black moderates and conservatives would welcome a candidate who embodied their economic and policy values accompanied by a principled social agenda that fairly incorporates the concerns of everyone. Herman Cain is not that candidate, nor is the GOP that Party.
Cain’s rise through the business world is cloaked in a Horatio Alger narrative of hard work, reward, and family values. Cain the populist, omits facts that the turnaround of the Burger King franchises while in the employ of Pillsbury, were attributable to the closing of hundreds of stores and the loss of jobs of thousands of workers. The same strategy was repeated after he and his investor cohorts bought Godfather’s pizza. As an unapologetic shill for the Koch brothers, Cain fills his days with speaking engagements to plug his well-scrubbed biography, and his evenings speaking before trade groups boosting his Tea Party credentials collecting large honorariums.
long-term Aquila board member
A story in the November 26th edition of the Huffington Post places Cain at the forefront of an embarrassing scandal from when he (Cain) served on the board of directors from 1992 until 2008 of Aquila, a Midwest utility company. Aquila paid $10.5 million to settle claims it failed to protect the retirement savings (ERISA) of its employees and paid another $26.5 million over claims it manipulated gas prices. The story was reported by Boston Herald.com Monday, November 21, 2011 and reveals the utility strongly encouraged its employees to invest their 401(k) retirement savings in Aquila stock.
The affected employees alleged company stock (that traded as high as $37.50 in 2001 and was devalued to less than $5 before the company was acquired seven years later by Utilicorp United) was too risky and inappropriate as a retirement savings vehicle.
Cain denies any wrongdoing but takes credit for helping stave off a corporate bankruptcy. “There’s a degree of risk in all investments in all companies,” Cain spokesman J.D. Gordon maintained. “The actions that the board took saved the company.” Cain shared responsibility for the company’s overall direction as a member of the board.
By the middle of 2001, Aquila stock accounted for two-thirds of the retirement plan’s value, lawyers said.
Former Aquila worker Robert C. Goodson said employees were shown speeches where company executives blamed the stock’s downturn on broader troubles in the market and financial volatility after the Sept. 11 terror attacks. He said Aquila stock had been the “foundation of my retirement.” “It wasn’t just a gradual decline. It was not even close to that,” Goodson said in a 2005 deposition. “That stock dumped fast.” “I feel that they had the knowledge and the ability to know that the company was getting in a shaky position, and it was their responsibility,” Sharon Lee Arr, a former Aquila worker who was laid-off, said during a 2005 deposition. “They were to be looking out for the stockholders and it was their responsibility to have invested and done things differently. A lawyer representing the utility quizzed Goodson on why he did not sell off his shares as troubles mounted for the company. At the time, the stock was trading for less than $4. “At least if you converted it right now you’d be in a profitable position?” Aquila attorney Timothy O’Brien said. “Yeah, make a few bucks,” Goodson said. “I’d be able to buy a 12-pack.”
A laid-off African-American Aquila worker when recently asked about Mr. Cain’s relationship with Aquila immediately dismissed him and his candidacy, after having spent a year unemployed and being forced into bankruptcy.
Drawing Cain at his most unscrupulous, was the report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission pointing to Aquila as one of several crooked firms that had distorted energy prices. The utility forked over $26.5 million in claims that natural gas prices were inflated in trade publications such as Standard & Poor’s. According to a May article in Mother Jones, “A month after the Kansas City Star reported on the hefty bonuses in July 2002, the company laid off 500 employees. By then, losses to employees holding company stock had reached hundreds of millions of dollars.”
Herman Cain presents his financial knowledge as incontrovertible proof of his qualification for the White House, on Aquila’s board he was its most senior independent director; he was eventually tapped as the company’s official “leading independent director.” Cain chaired Aquila’s compensation committee, and directed millions in bonuses to the very executives presiding over Aquila’s debacle.
Herman Cain touting his business mastery as his singular qualification for elected office is like the captain of the Titanic having the nerve to apply for another captain’s position on the White Star Line, citing his background on the sunken ship as reference and testimony of his proficiency. Any other applicant would recoil in embarrassment but the Cain freight train just keeps rolling on.