ANALYSIS | Herman Cain didn't used to be a front runner for the 2012 Republican primary for president. Since he won the Florida Straw Poll in late September, Cain has had a surge in popularity among likely Republican voters.
His stances seem to be grounded more in common sense approaches without getting into political jargon, which has led to voter excitement over his conservative views. Cain's policy suggestions for energy and the environment are much like his speeches about everyday topics such as the economy.
Cain has a plan for America's energy independence. He wants to end our dependence upon foreign sources of oil by opening up all forms of American energy including oil deposits, wind, solar and nuclear energy. Yet he wants the private sector to take the lead in doing so in a free market economy. Cain's answer is to get rid of all subsidies for the energy sector and let consumers decide what works the best.
As such, Cain said that excessive environmental regulations have stifled America's energy production. Removing those regulatory barriers is seen as a solution by his campaign. Think Progress reported in June 2011 that Cain took a question in Iowa at a campaign stop with the American Principles Project. He said he wasn't anti-regulation, but it's just that too much regulation of particular industries is bad for the economy. Cain asserted that individuals such as oil company executives would be ideal for being in charge of setting EPA guidelines.
Cain is just as upset about oil and gas prices as ordinary Americans. U.S. Election News reported he was adamant about OPEC's stranglehold on oil prices. He suggested gas prices would fall when more American companies drill in and around American territory. The free-market system would take care of oil prices at that point when more supply catches up with demand. Cain's solution is to remove the problem causing high gas prices.
Global Warming and Climate Change
Cain believes global warming exists but not because of human intervention. CBS News interviewed Cain where he said he opposes any cap and trade system or taxes to offset global warming. Initiatives to limit greenhouse gases are seen as wasteful uses of government and private resources according to Cain's methodology.
His opposition to any carbon regulation was one of the reasons for his statements at the Americans for Prosperity rally against the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in New York.
"They call it the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.... It should have been R.G.G.R - Regional Greenhouse Gas Rip-off! Call it what it is. It is a rip-off! It is a hidden tax!" Cain said at the AFP rally June 8.
He was commenting on secret auctions for greenhouse gas reductions that happen in New York City as just another way to tax the American public. Cain is an ardent supporter of Americans for Prosperity, a group that promotes fewer taxes and less regulation. He will speak in November at an event in Tennessee.
Cain's response to a question at the Fox News/Google debate in late September also offers clues as to how he would handle climate change. When asked what government department he would eliminate, Cain responded with the Environmental Protection Agency because of over regulation. Cain suggested created an entirely new EPA with common sense regulatory practices.