December 3, 2011 [LINK / comment]

Cain suspends his campaign

Republican candidate Herman Cain came close to formally dropping out of the presidential race today, saying he is "suspending" his campaign. (See the Washington Post.) He still clings to a shred of hope for a comeback, which is not unthinkable, given the less-than-satisfactory alternatives that are currently available. (See below.) Cain says he will continue to fight for his issues, such as tax reform and simplification. From what I can tell, however, his "9-9-9" tax plan is just not ready for prime time. I am all in favor of radical simplification of the U.S. Tax Code, but the consequences of such drastic changes need to be studied carefully first.

With all the accusations against him, it's hard to believe that Cain's personal life is straight and narrow. It is entirely possible that at least some of the women were paid by Cain's political opponents -- either Republican or Democrat -- especially since most of those women have some kind of financial problem that might make them susceptible to such inducements. It is also possible that Cain himself sought out such women precisely because they were vulnerable to wealthy, powerful men such as he.

Will bad-mouths GOP

I make no secret of my scant regard for the current field of Republican presidential candidates. I should have learned by now that the way the party is organized leaves little room for any candidate who is serious about addressing real-world issues, as opposed to various feigned grievances that seem to excite The Base. Washington Post columnist George Will raises big questions about the two front-runners, imploring the GOP not to prematurely "coronate" a victor before they have been thoroughly scrutinized. After ridiculing the hyperactive managerialism of Mitt Romney, Will skewers Newt Gingrich, who holds himself out as the thinking man's Republican:

Gingrich, however, embodies the vanity and rapacity that make modern Washington repulsive. And there is his anti-conservative confidence that he has a comprehensive explanation of, and plan to perfect, everything.

Will goes on to write that Gingrich "would have made a marvelous Marxist" (Ouch!), and makes it clear why Ginrich's credentials as a conservative are so shaky, though not for the reasons that many "conservative activists" might imagine:

Conservatism inoculates against the hubristic volatility that Gingrich exemplifies and Genesis deplores: "Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel."

Translation for folks who live in Rio Linda: A true conservative is cautious and low-key, not brash and bold.

Challenge to Goodlatte

Thanks to Chris Graham on Facebook, I learned that there will be a challenger to Congressman Bob Goodlatte next year, a retired Air Force officer named Karen Kwiatkowski. She is libertarian in orientation, but without evident political experience. Well, that's a refreshing change of pace. Read the interview at, and see her own Web site at This could be very interesting.

Virginia's Sixth Congressional District leans so strongly toward the right that Democrats rarely contest that seat in recent years. In the 2010 election, another libertarian candidate, Stuart Bain, picked up 9.2% of the vote. (See Nov. 3, 2010.) Bob Goodlatte is a good person, but he has been in Washington a long time, and may be out of touch with what has been happening in his party at the local level. I was not very impressed by his recent push for a balanced budget amendment, which was not going to pass a Democrat-controlled Senate in any case.