Herman Cain lit up the crowd at Republican Leadership Conference, delivering the keynote address before the socially conservative crowd, and getting several standing ovations
“I have a dream,” said Cain, who is African American, invoking Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and some friendly chuckles. “I have two dreams,” he added – (1) retain control of the House and and Senate, and (2) “You are looking at the next president of the United States of America.”
He took aim at conservatives who said he shouldn’t run.
“I didn’t get the memo,” he said, weaving it throughout the speech.
On substance, he laid out five tax-policy items that he said would improve the economy: a maximum 25% tax on corporations and individuals; make cap gains zero; sustain taxes on “repatriated foreign profits”; a payroll tax holiday of 6.2%; and make tax cuts permanent.
But there were also plenty of dog whistles with talk of American exceptionalism, Obama apologizing for the United States, not being Brazil’s best customer but “our own,” Israel (“You mess with Israel, you mess with the United States”), the Founding Fathers, spending, children and grandchildren, and taking American back.
He touched on his bio as well: “I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth, we didn’t even have a spoon to put in my mouth.”
He repeated his parents’ three lessons. Belief in: God, self, and the “greatest country in the world.”
“You don’t know how Washington works,” said Cain, who’s never held office, but has parlayed that into his biggest strength. “I know how it works. It doesn’t.”
He even got one shout with a twangy, “Yes, we Cain.”