The national media in this country has worked hard to make the GOP presidential primary a two man race. We saw this effort repeatedly in the series of debates held last month, even from Fox News. As far as the networks were concerned, Mitt Romney and Rick Perry might as well have been the only two on the stage.
Of course, Herman Cain's overwhelming victory in the Florida Presidency 5 straw poll and his subsequent rise in national polls has made it impossible for the media to ignore him. Not that he's getting the same type of coverage, as we see the intense scrutiny he is now under.
Cain has been quick to point out that this time around, the people are going to pick their candidate, not the media, not the political class and certainly not the candidate that can raise the most money. And I believe he is correct... 2012 will be the year of we the people.
The fact that Cain is a non-politician with a strong business acumen and is not beholden to special interests and partisan politics may very well be his strongest appeal to the folks.
When I look at the U.S. Senate race here in Florida, I can't help but see many similarities with the presidential primary. The media in this state seems to be focused on the two candidates who are products of the political class, Adam Hasner and George LeMieux. And these two candidates also act as if they were the only ones in the race, as each spends considerable time going at the other, with the state media eager to play along.
An argument can be made at the national level that the media is simply following the polls, as until recently, Romney and Perry were consistently out in front. However, such cannot be said here at the state level. In fact, Hasner frequently polls below the non-politician in the race, Craig Miller, who's only been in 12 weeks. And LeMieux is certainly not breaking away from the field.
Craig Miller, much like Herman Cain in the early going, struggles to get equal treatment in the press.
Miller and Cain have quite a few other similarities, not that you will hear much about this in the media;
- Both men are of humble beginnings, products of working class families that taught each man the value of hard work and self reliance
- Both men spent 40+ years in the private sector growing businesses and creating jobs
- Both men found success in the restaurant industry, being CEO's of large national companies
- Both men reached the pinnacle of their careers by being selected by their peers to head the National Restaurant Association
- In fact, both men even have previous unsuccessful bids for public office!
The similarities are quite startling, are they not?
As non-politicians in races for public office, Miller and Cain also find themselves being held to the standard of professional politicians, not only by the media, but by many of the very citizens who bemoan career politicians.
The polished rhetoric and flowery prose that politicians spend years crafting gives them an advantage in that in today's world, perception often trumps reality. Yet, as we have seen Herman Cain grow as a candidate in the months since he entered the race, the same can be said of Craig Miller.
And I suspect that, just as Herman Cain recently had his 'break out' moment, Craig Miller's is coming.
It just makes sense. At a time when the public has lost all faith in politicians - have you seen the latest approval ratings of Congress? - and the consistently poor decision making by these elected officials continues to drive our economy in the ground, negatively effecting the quality of life for every citizen in this country, and you then consider that 80% of these elected officials have no business experience, the value of men like Miller and Cain becomes obvious.
And we must harken back to Herman Cain's words that the people cannot allow the media, nor the political class to determine who our candidates will be. It is incumbent upon each of us to do our due diligence and take a good, hard look at where we are as a society and come to understand that the time has come in America for a new brand of leadership. While the people are still in a position to make the choice.