The current Republican presidential candidate flavor-of-the-month is former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain, a 65-year-old African American who self-describes himself, without any apparent irony, as “Haagen Dazs Black Walnut” flavor. Cain is the latest in a long string of proposed alternatives to the seeming inevitability of Mitt Romney’s candidacy, with likely GOP primary voters so desperately disenchanted by the thought of the former Massachusetts governor as their standard bearer that they are even willing to consider a black man for the position, not something the God-and-guns crowd would normally countenance.
Cain’s apparent ascendancy occurred in late September, as rival anti-Romney candidate Rick Perry’s stock plummeted following several poor debate performances. But Cain’s flash-in-the-pan candidacy is not likely to last, with just $2.8 million raised in the third quarter of 2010, compared to Perry’s $17.2 million, raised just since mid-August, in half the time. Perry also outpaced putative frontrunner Romney, who took in some $14 million, so his early rhetorical stumbles just out the gate may not be an indication of flagging support, at least not where it counts, in the pocketbooks of wealthy donors. Cain’s shoestring budget doesn’t allow for much of a ground game, either, so even if he polls well into primary season, whether that translates into actual votes is uncertain.
Cain’s sudden leap to the top of the charts reflects less upon his own popularity and more upon the weakness of the Republican field, which pits one flawed candidate against another. But his populist-sounding and simplistically appealing “9-9-9″ taxation overhaul plan has struck a chord with voters, and although once dissected it appears to be an economic disaster for low-income Americans, Cain would not be the first politician to ride a catchy slogan to the rainbow’s end.
Herman Cain was born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1945. Cain’s father Luther was a janitor and chauffeur who worked three jobs to buy his own home; his mother Lenora was a cleaning woman, and raised her two sons to appreciate the spiritual rather than material aspects of life. Cain graduated from Morehouse College in 1967 with a BA in mathematics, and in 1968 married Gloria Etchison; the couple has two children. He worked full time as a ballistics expert for the US Navy while working toward his masters in computer science at Purdue University, which he attained in 1971.
After Purdue, Cain took a job as a systems analyst for Coca-Cola in Atlanta, then in 1977 moved to Minneapolis with the Pillsbury corporation’s restaurant division as director of business analysis. He was soon promoted to oversee Pillsbury subsidiary Burger King’s operations in the Philadelphia area, managing some 400 locations. His successful tenure there prompted a move to another Pillsbury company, Godfather Pizza, which was failing. Cain was appointed president and CEO in 1986, and turned the company around in two years, buying it from Pillsbury in 1988 and continuing as CEO until 1996, when he resigned to become CEO of the National Restaurant Association, a trade group and lobbying organization.
Cain first stepped onto the national stage in 1993 when he challenged then US President Bill Clinton at a town hall meeting in Kansas City, Missouri, over the employer mandate provision of the proposed “Hillarycare” health reform bill. In 1996 he acted as senior economics advisor to the doomed Dole/Kemp campaign, and in 2000 indulged in a brief presidential campaign of his own, before dropping out and endorsing Steve Forbes over George W. Bush. In 2004 Cain took a run at the GOP nomination for Senate in Georgia, but failed in the primary.
In 2005 Cain began an association with Americans For Prosperity, a political advocacy group focused on business concerns and the restraint of federal regulations; AFP is funded primarily by the infamous Koch brothers, billionaire speculators who sponsored and incubated the Tea Party movement. AFP was instrumental in the funding and election of dozens of GOP legislators in 2010.
In September 2010 Cain publically mooted a second run for the GOP presidential nomination. Encouraged by winning a RedState.com reader poll in December, he formed an exploratory committee on January 12, 2011, and formally announced his candidacy May 21. Cain’s major claim to fame is his controversial “9-9-9″ taxation plan, which would substitute the current tax code by a 9% personal income tax on all income, a 9% business transaction tax, and a 9% national sales tax. Economists such as Paul Krugman have asserted that such a revision would shift much of the burden of taxation from the rich to the poor, though conservative groups such as the Club for Growth endorse the concept.
Before his formal entry into the race, Cain was reckoned in the fourth tier of potential Republican candidates, but finished seventh in a field of 21 in a January 2011 straw poll in New Hampshire. In February he won a poll of the Tea Party’s American Policy Summit in Phoenix, with 22% of the vote.
A July 2011 Zogby poll showed Cain in second place nationally, behind Bachmann and ahead of Romney, but he finished only fifth in the Iowa straw poll in August. A well-received performance at an Orlando GOP debate in late September led to a first place finish in the Florida straw poll a few days later, and Cain’s star has been on the rise ever since.
In addition to his economic plan, Cain courts social conservatives, opposing abortion in all cases, and supporting the defunding of Planned Parenthood. He opposes same-sex marriage and supports DOMA, and would reinstate the military’s DADT policy. He has been accused of anti-Muslim bias, stating that he would not appoint Muslim judges to the federal bench, and supports the banning of new mosque construction if local communities reject it. Cain has termed human-influenced global climate change “poppycock” and opposes federal subsidies for development of wind and solar power alternatives, while supporting increased drilling offshore and in ANWR.
In foreign policy, Cain supports both the Iraq and Afghan wars, asserting that any timetable for withdrawal is equivalent to surrender. He is a staunch supporter of Israel, but in interviews seems unknowledgeable about the complexities of the Palestinian situation, or indeed, about much of foreign policy, slighting the president of what he terms “Uzbeki-beki-beki-stan-stan,” Uzbekistan, a vital ally in the war on terror.
Born 13 December 1945, Herman Cain sports several significant galactic contacts in his astrological birth chart. The Sun at 21 Sagittarius lies within the event horizon, or orb of influence, of the Black Hole at 18 Sagittarius, and closely opposes a Quasar at 22 Gemini. Astrologically, Sun/Black Hole denotes an individual who can be magnetic and attract the support of others easily, although this may not always be stable, something evinced by Cain’s sudden rise in the polls, to be followed by his inevitable fall. This combination also gravitates toward power readily, as seen in Cain’s steady climb up the corporate ladder and his status now, seemingly within grasping distance of his goal of being the most powerful man on earth.
The Quasar here is more effective even than the Black Hole, promoting success and a high degree of visibility, recognition and reward for one’s efforts, and a skill with networking, being in the right place at the right time to take advantage of the circumstances necessary to propel one to the attaining of goals. Sun/Quasar individuals are often leaders in their fields, with steady upward mobility and advancement.
Within the chart, the Sun makes only two tight astrological aspects, both minor, but telling in their focus—a sextile to Jupiter at 22 Libra, and an inconjunct to Saturn at 23 Cancer. These two, Jupiter and Saturn, describe how Cain self-defines—initially via career matters (Saturn) as corporate exec and CEO, and latterly as political potentate (Jupiter); these are the areas which evoke Cain’s deepest sense of self identity and purpose, and that they tightly square each other is an indicator of internal stress in combining these in harmonious fashion. Cain can have the career in the private sector, or he can be a public servant, but to be both creates conflict and division.
Both points also have galactic encumbrances, with Saturn tightly squared the Black Hole at 24 Aries and Jupiter exactly conjunct another at 22 Libra. The Saturn square to a Black Hole has the potential to be manipulated to positive effect, making unexpected inroads in career if sufficient energy and focus is channeled into matters Saturnine, although the path may be a circuitous one and the gains temporary.
The exact conjunction of Jupiter to a Black Hole is much more problematic; there are literally no “angles” to play with this—one is at the mercy of cosmic forces totally beyond one’s control, subject to the whims of fate. Thus, the political aspirations represented by Jupiter are something over which Cain has little ability to direct, he is tossed upon the gravitational seas of the Black Hole, now riding the crest of the wave, soon in its trough, but ultimately floundering, unable to bring his will to force.
The Sun is also somewhat broadly opposed to Uranus at 15 Gemini retrograde, suggesting some degree of nonconformism to Cain, and an innate understanding of the marketplace and social/business interaction. The mere fact of his extreme conservatism, as an African American, is to a degree unusual and counter to type, but the aspect can be seen most clearly in his ability to foster unexpected growth in the companies he has headed, largely through innovative approaches. His “Beamer” program, wherein he trained Burger King employees to smile to customers, thus evoking greater sales, was instrumental in boosting the restaurant chain’s sales during his leadership, a concept that evokes the radical simplicity typical of Uranian activation.
An exact sextile from Neptune at 8 Libra to Mercury at 8 Sagittarius, which closely conjoins Venus at 9 Sagittarius, indicates a glib, charming manner, someone who has the gift of connecting with others verbally, if not always with honesty and directness. Mercury and Venus also conjoin a Black Hole at 10 Sagittarius, indicating, for Mercury, a potential difficulty in self-expression, with the need to continually revise one’s earlier remarks so as to maintain clarity and prevent misinterpretation or misunderstanding. Thought processes can be muddled, and the message divided, contradictory, or difficult to communicate to others.
Neptune exactly squares the Quasar at 8 Cancer, so Cain’s spiritual ethos is on public display, one of the most visible aspects of his character; as one of three dyed-in-the-wool Christian conservative candidates, Cain draws from the same voting pool as Perry and Bachmann, and has become a darling of the values voter set.
Mars and Pluto combine at 2 and 11 Leo, in trine to Mercury/Venus. Mars is exactly on a Black Hole, and in tandem with Pluto, this suggests some degree of sexual impropriety or secretiveness, an alternate reality or double life where Cain is drawn to more taboo or unorthodox types of sexual expression, but to all outward appearances his 43-year union with his wife has been happy and without disruption. [Author’s note: Not so fast! Sunday evening the 30th of October, online news source Politico reported that two female employees during Cain’s tenure as CEO of the National Restaurant Association made complaints of sexual harassment by Cain, and were bought off with non-disclosure financial settlements; Cain staffers deny the allegations. Stay tuned!] Mars and Pluto together also indicates a strong will, a desire to control and manipulate others, and a certain lack of scrupulousness abut the methods used to attain one’s ends.
Several asteroids suggest an intimate connection between Cain and the American people. Asteroid Hermann (#10239) at 0 Sagittarius tightly squares asteroid America at 2 Virgo, indicative of the potential for a strongly personal, one-on-one relationship with the US populace. Hermann also broadly conjoins Mercury, so Cain’s words seem authentic, he projects sincerity and a “down home” approach to communication. Asteroid Washingtonia, representing the US capital, at 12 Taurus closely squares Pluto at 11 Leo, indicating the attraction for power via the political process, as seen in Cain’s repeated attempts since 2000 to find his way to either the Senate or the White House.
Eclipse activation to the natal Sun and the Hermann/America square may be key to understanding Cain’s sudden prominence on the national stage. A Lunar Eclipse of June 15 at 24 Sagittarius conjoined the 21 Sagittarius Sun, highlighting Cain personally and bringing that latent Sun/Jupiter/Saturn potential more strongly into focus. The upcoming Solar Eclipse of November 25 at 2 Sagittarius conjoins Hermann and exactly squares America, while that of 20 May 2012 exactly opposes Hermann from 0 Gemini and forms a T-Square with America. Both eclipses focus attention on Cain’s connection to the US populace. The Lunar Eclipse of 18 Gemini on December 10 again highlights the Sun, this time by opposition. It is unlikely that Cain’s ascendancy survives the scrutiny of primary voters, but these eclipses indicate continued public attention and increased visibility for the candidate, and could result in an offer to be included on the presidential ticket as running mate.
Cain’s Election Day 2012 transits are intriguing. An exact conjunction of transit Mars with the 21 Sagittarius Sun suggests that Cain could be involved in the final battle, and with transit Jupiter at 14 Gemini conjoined the 15 Gemini natal Uranus, there could be an unexpected (Uranus) political (Jupiter) outcome. Mercury’s retrograde station that day on the Black Hole at 4 Sagittarius falls within orb of natal asteroid Hermann, and could pull voters his way, but Neptune coming to direct station at 0 Pisces in exact square to Hermann suggests a major disappointment. The issue may well be decided by Neptune’s repeated opposition to Cain’s natal asteroid America throughout 2012—will voters fall prey to the illusion of Cain, projecting their hopes and fears on him, or will a moment of devastating clarity reveal his faults and failings?
Finally, the Solar Eclipse at 21 Scorpio the week after the election forms favorable aspects, exactly semisextile the Sun and in trine to Saturn. As such, his presence on the ticket in the #2 position could be more of an asset than a hindrance.