Senate Republicans are missing a huge opportunity by denying former Kansas City Fed chairman and one-time presidential hopeful Herman Cain a seat on the powerful Federal Reserve Board.
Four Republicans signaled late last week that they’d vote against President Trump’s expected nomination of Cain.
Assuming all Democratic senators do the same, he would fail to get the 51 votes needed for confirmation.
Cain is expected to pull his name from consideration — an opportunity lost for the country and the Republican party.
Unlike the usual Fed member, Cain has no formal training in economics. His degrees are in mathematics and computer science.
But there’s no rule that every Fed member must be an economist, and some previous members have not been.
Cain would have brought something far more valuable — a lifetime of success and practical experience.
He distinguished himself from other 2012 Republican presidential candidates by saying, "I'm not a professional politician; I'm a professional problem-solver"
In the 1980s he was asked by Pillsbury to manage 400 Philadelphia-area Burger King restaurants that were showing little to no profit. At the time Burger King was a Pillsbury subsidiary.
Corporate executives were so impressed with Cain’s turnaround at Burger King that they asked him to cure the ills of another Pillsbury subsidiary — Godfather’s Pizza.
Cain said that when he arrived, the Godfather’s chain "had one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel."
Charles Henderson, who served as Cain’s marketing director, attributed Cain’s success to his willingness to immerse himself completely into every facet of the business — he wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty if that was required.
Politifact contacted retired Pillsbury executive Jeff Campbell to confirm Cain’s contributions.
"He was the best thing that happened to Godfather’s in a long time," Campbell said.
I have met Herman Cain. He is smart, able and has good sense.
And he has Federal Reserve experience. Cain served on the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
FDIC Vice Chairman Thomas M. Hoenig praised Cain’s service, saying, “From 1992 to 1996, Herman served as a director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in the capacities of deputy chairman and then chairman of the board.”
He concluded that “It was my privilege to work with Herman very closely during his five years on the Kansas City board.”
In 1996 Cain left Godfather’s and moved to Washington, D.C., to take the helm of the National Restaurant Association, a trade and lobbying group. It was there that he learned the ins and outs of Washington politics, and added to his record of achievement.
The late Jack Kemp, former congressman, HUD secretary and GOP presidential hopeful, described Cain as "the Colin Powell of American capitalism."
And Cain is also a rarity in the GOP: He is a prominent Black Republican and well-regarded businessman. Why would the GOP send a “no need to apply” message to such minorities?
Does Cain have the button-down, economics credentials typical of Fed members?
No, but he has a string of achievement rooted in a determination to learn everything from the bottom-up, and applying that knowledge to his work.
As a Fed board member, Cain would have been an advocate for small business and taxpayers who are impacted by the central bank’s policies.
With the Senate’s rejection of Cain, it’s not Cain that comes out the loser — it’s the American people. America will have been denied its “professional problem-solver.”
Note: Michael Dorstewitz contributed to this blog.
Christopher Ruddy is CEO of Newsmax, one of the country's leading conservative news outlets. Read more Christopher Ruddy Insider articles — Click Here Now.
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