Leadership Unimpressive Among Initial GOP Hopefuls

What If They Held a Debate and No One Came?

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Herman Cain

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Herman Cain

COMMENTARY | The 2012 presidential race officially started for the Republicans Thursday at the Peace Center in Greenville, S.C. The first debate of the election season was sponsored by Fox News and the South Carolina GOP. Unfortunately, most of the Republicans weren't there.

I was really surprised by the low turnout of candidates; the weak state of the economy makes Barack Obama a very beatable candidate in 2012. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty was the big name of the night, accompanied by Texas Rep. Ron Paul, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, and businessman Herman Cain. Given the predictions of President Obama potentially raising $1 billion for his reelection campaign, I would expect the candidates to be out early and strong to get as much face-time with the public as possible.

Not to be to disrespectful, but the hopefuls in attendance were basically second-tier candidates, based on the low name recognition outside of their home states or districts. Republicans need to field a bold candidate unafraid to articulate a vision. Going on "listening tours" to decide whether or not to run is not going to do it. You know you are going to declare. The American people know you are going to declare. Declare, tell us how you are going to improve America, and then do it. And please, no distractions about birth certificates.

I'd heard of Herman Cain, but didn't really know much about the man. As former CEO of Godfather's Pizza, I had to learn more about him based on that alone. I came away impressed by what I saw. The man is articulate and good at thinking on his feet. I especially enjoyed his one line about his lack of electoral experience when he pointed out all the elected politicians in Washington and asked "How's that working out for ya?," as reported by Red State.

Personally, I like the fact that he's a political outsider. Someone who can successfully run a business deserves a good look. If you can balance the books and stick to a budget, I want to learn what you can do at the national level. It's refreshing to see someone from outside of Washington step up to the plate.

Again, based on the small number of candidates, it was hard to judge a true winner, but I thought Gary Johnson was the big loser of the night. He seemed overmatched against the other candidates, often asking for equal time from the moderator. When he stated he was against imposing tariffs on Chinese imports, he seemed to have a "deer in the headlights" look that indicated he wasn't really sure what he was saying.

This is no time to be timid. With the economic problems we currently face, we need a government that will give us value for what we pay for, not make us pay for things we don't need. This is no time to be timid. We need a real leader, and we need him now.

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