Last night’s CNN Republican presidential debate generated some new heat, but very little light on the issues conservatives and Tea Partiers really care about – the one exception being, and perhaps the most interesting exchange of the evening, was the discussion of the Occupy Wall Street protests between Congressman Ron Paul and businessman and former Federal Reserve Board Member Herman Cain.
CNN’s liberal commentator Anderson Cooper posed to Herman Cain a question he received from Twitter, "How do you explain the Occupy Wall Street movement happening across the country? And how does it relate with your message?"
Cain reiterated a previous comment in opposition to the Occupy Wall Street protests; "Don't blame Wall Street, don't blame the big banks. If you don't have a job, and you're not rich, blame yourself."
Congressman Ron Paul, on the other hand, seemed willing to grant the Occupy Wall Street protesters the special status coveted by every liberal entitlement-seeker -- that of being a “victim” of some oppressor, when he said, “Well, I think Mr. Cain has blamed the victims. There's a lot of people that are victims of this business cycle. We can't blame the victims.”
Ron Paul then went on to give a spirited indictment of the TARP Wall Street bailout, which Herman Cain supported, and to observe that, “But who got stuck? The middle class got stuck. They got stuck. They lost their jobs, and they lost their houses. If you had to give money out, you should have given it to people who were losing their mortgages, not to the banks.”
Ron Paul made a legitimate point, but here’s the problem with his position – the middle class isn’t at the Occupy Wall Street protests, it is at the Tea Party meetings and rallies.
We often agree with Ron Paul, but in this case he showed the limits of his vision by accepting the notion that anyone who opposes the Washington/Wall Street Axis must be a friend. Anyone who digs just a little into what the Occupy Wall Street protesters want will quickly realize that their demands are anything but conservative, calling for nothing less than the overthrow of the Constitution and a radical redistribution of wealth.
We believe that as the campaign progresses, conservatives and Tea Partiers should take a tougher look at Cain’s support of TARP, the national sales tax in his 9-9-9 plan, and his lack of foreign policy experience. But that one brief exchange did do a lot to explain the rise of the Cain phenomenon -- his Reagan-like embrace of individualism and America as the land of opportunity was no staff-written one-liner. It came from the heart and his personal experience -- and whether or not Herman Cain becomes the Republican nominee for President, last night he showed once again that he is the real deal.