If Herman Cain is elected president, he explains in This Is Herman Cain: My Journey To The White House, he's going to expect certain things from the people he hires. For example, "From the most junior clerical person to my chief of staff, White House personnel will be expected to have a copy of the Constitution of the United States nearby," he writes. It's a nice sentiment if, like me, you're charmed by CEOs of a certain generation. You know the type: they rose to the top prior to the Internet age, always had an executive assistant or secretary to help them manage their email, and talk about documents like the Constitution as though keeping hard copies on hand is important. What do the kids these days think, that the text of the founding document can just be called up at a moment's notice without even making any prior arrangements?
What those Cain staffers will surely notice, if they peruse their Constitution, is Article 2, where the office of the presidency is defined. But if Cain's forthcoming book, due for release October 4, is to be believed, their boss may decide to do the job differently than the framers intended. "I will define the office of the president; the office will not define me," Cain states. "As in every executive position I've ever undertaken, I will determine the parameters of my activities. And while I respect those who have served before me, I will not follow in their footsteps."
The alternative approach he'll take?
"I will create new footsteps."
Lest you worry that these footsteps might be created somewhere other than the Oval Office, relax. "Despite my high regard for the professionalism of those assigned to protect me, I and only I will in -- God forbid -- moments of national emergency determine when, where, and how I can best perform my duties as chief executive, because I happen to believe that the people want to see their president working in the Oval Office," he promises. "I believe that they are comforted and reassured by having him at the very center of presidential authority and responsibility."
In that office, fresh footprints in the carpet, there will be much work to do, so "I will reduce the number of protocol-oriented events that presidents are seemingly required to attend," Cain says. "At a time of deepening national crisis, I simply cannot afford to allocate valuable time to things that do not advance solutions to this nation's problems. That's why I have decided to sharply decrease the number of inaugural night balls." But don't those already only take place on one single night?
"Instead, Mrs. Cain and I will host a series of celebratory occasions, and they will be spread out during my first months in office." But won't that result in more time spent on "protocol-oriented events"?
Then there's this: "My guest lists for state dinners and other important occasions will be light on A list celebrities and heavy on normal Americans who work each day to restore our nation to greatness." What better way to spur productive diplomatic relations with foreign heads of state than inviting a lot of "normal" working class Americans to dine with them at formal state dinners held in their honor.
Of course, if Cain seems like he's departing from protocol, it's only because his aims are unique. "I will not come to Washington to do the usual, anticipated, accepted things," he writes. "Rather, paraphrasing the time-honored words of Abraham Lincoln, I will bring the nation a new birth of freedom, one that will be dedicated to the people who, together with me, will ensure that the American dream, one that patriots have pursued in good times and bad, will not perish from this earth."
That's what is great about having a CEO candidate instead of a regular politician. They're so practical and grounded, always offering specific, solution-oriented action items rather than vague, airy rhetoric. If only we'd elected a political outsider years ago we'd probably have had a new birth of freedom already.
Image credit: Reuters
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