Herman Cain
CPAC 2011
Washington, DC
February 11, 2011

[Music: Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell "Ain't no Mountain High Enough"]

Thank you.  Thank you.

Let it be borne in mind that the tragedy of life does not lie in not reaching your goals, the tragedy lies in having no goals to reach for.

It's not a calamity to die with dreams unfulfilled, but it is a calamity to have no dreams.

Ladies and gentlemen, the American Dream is under attack, but the good news is we are fighting back.  We are fighting back with our voices and our votes.   And it is under attack by what I describe as the attack of the "-ations."  Too much legislation.  Too much regulation.  And too much taxation.  The attack of the "-ations" is killing the American Dream. 

But the good news is we are fighting back.

Regulation.  You know the arrogance of this administration and the 111th Congress went beyond shoving legislation down our throats that we didn't need called health care deform legislation, but they went so far as to not only shove legislation down our throats we didn't need, but legislation we did not want.  Oh yeah, they tried to hide it under "we want to decrease costs."  They tried to hide it under "we want to increase accessibility."  Now that the cat is out of the bag we now know that that healthcare deform legislation was an absolute disaster and that's why the United States House is trying to repeal and replace and we're going to help them do that.

Too much regulation.  According to the Small Business Administration based on some of this latest data, they have calculated and estimated the cost of regulatory compliance—just regulations—on a small business in this great economy of ours—$10,000 per employee.  Every time a small business opens up in this country, they have regulatory compliance costs of $10,000 per employee.  If you only hire 20 employees—you do the math.  Just to open a business.  I received a call one night when I was hosting my radio show, "The Herman Cain Show" out of Atlanta, GA, and I got a caller who called up and said Mr. Cain, I'm a restaurateur.  He said I own two very successful restaurants, fine dining restaurants.  He said I have the cash flow to open up a third restaurant.  He said I even have an "A" location to open up this restaurant, but I cannot open up this restaurant because of all of the uncertainty hanging over this economy.  That wasn't the first caller like that I have gotten.  Imagine the number of business people across this country, especially small- to medium-sized business people who are reluctant to expand their businesses. which would create more jobs, because of the uncertainty hanging over this economy and the lack of leadership in the White House.  Imagine what would happen if we are able to unleash the full economic potential of this country.

Too much legislation.  I didn't have to mention cap and trade and tax and kill.  I didn't have to mention the "unfairness doctrine."  I didn't have to mention any of the others that they are trying now to get put on us through the back door.  Too much legislation, regulation, and taxation.

You know I've been on this planet 65 years, and I have been a businessman for over 42 years.  And I along with many of you have come to one irrefutable conclusion.   The only way to fix our messed up tax code is to throw it out and put in a whole new system called the Fair Tax.  Throw it out, and start over.  Throw it out, and start over.  Isn't that what you do when you mess up a cake?  You throw it out and you start over.  Our tax code is not fixable.  It's a mess.  But as my maternal grandmother used to say—she lived to be 104 years old—my grandmother used to say it's our mess, and we have to fix our mess, starting with throwing it out and starting over.  We cannot fix it tinkering around the edges.  Too much regulation.  Too much taxation.

Now how do we fight this fight and beat back the "-ations?"

The same way you have fought the fight up into this point, to begin our journey to 2012.  Three things that you have to do, I have to do and those that you influence will have to do in order to get this nation off of the wrong track, back on the right track.

First, we've got to continue to stay informed.  Stupid people are ruining America.  It's sad.  See many of you like me thought that all you had to do was register to vote, vote, go to work, raise your families, pay for their education, that's all you have to do to keep America strong.  No.  You've got to become teachers and educators of the stupid.  But you have to stay informed.  That's why you come to great conferences like this.  That's why you go to HermanCain.com for information.  And as we used to say on my radio show, watch out; if you go to HermanCain.com you just might learn something.  But we've got to stay informed.  We must stay informed.  This is one of our greatest weapons in this fight.  And that is to know when they are trying to employ the SIN tactics. 

I'm talking about the liberals.  They don't have but three tactics; they don't have a strategy.  They have an objective.  The objective of the liberals is to destroy this country.  The objective of the liberals is to make America mediocre like everybody else who aspire to be like America.  That's their objective.  Well let me tell you something about mediocrity.  It's not in an America's DNA to be mediocre.  Not in our DNA.  And so the liberals, they have an objective—destroy America, make it mediocre, make it become part of this whatever they call this world order stuff.  But they do have three tactics, which is why we have to stay informed or we will get head faked sometimes when they put out bad information.  When they attack the Fair Tax using lies, flat out lies.  And if your young kids haven't figured out what a lie is yet, it's time for you to tell them, because you're going to hear a lot of them between now and 2012 because they're trying to destroy this country at all costs and they don't care too much about the truth. 

They have only three tactics—S-I-N.  They shift the subject, they ignore the facts, and they name call.  Am I right.  That's all they do.  Those are their tactics; there is no strategy except to basically try and continue to mislead the American public. 

They'll shift the subject on you in a minute:  Well the war in Afghanistan is uncertain.  It's Bush's fault.  Everything is Bush's fault. 

Ignoring the facts.  This administration with the approval of the 111th Congress authorized nearly $1 trillion which was supposed to stimulate the economy and create jobs.  They did all of this spending, made government bigger, and now they want to ignore the fact that it did not work.  But I've got a message for the administration.  We noticed.  It didn't work.  We noticed.  And that's what they're afraid of.  That's what they are afraid of, and that is you will influence more people with the facts. 

And I tell my listeners all the time.  If you can get a liberal to engage in an intelligent dialogue in the first place, ask them to strip away the labels and pick an issue and talk to 'em about the facts of that issue.  You might make some  progress.  I've even had some folk call my radio show and admit that they're beginning to see the light.  Because I'm very factually motivated, very factually driven.  But they choose to ignore the facts.  They ignore the fact that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid were headed for a train wreck before they passed another disastrous bureaucracy called the health care deform legislation.  They just ignored the stuff that wasn't fixed, that was broken.  Let's just ram through this political agenda and maybe folk won't notice. 

So their tactics are they shift the subject, so watch for that.  They ignore the facts, but you have to know the facts.  And then they name call.  You know I've been called so many names for being a black American patriot who happens to be conservative, I started a list in my studio.  I couldn't keep track of all of them.  Now you will be called racist simply because you disagree with the President, who happens to be black.  Well they call me racist too because I disagree with the President who happens to be black.  Go figure.  So mathematically, the only conclusion you can draw is that it ain't about color, it's about if you disagree with that liberal leader, then you must be a racist no matter what color you are.  Well I got a breaking news announcement for you.  You are not a racist; you are patriots because you're willing to stand up for what you believe in.  Patriots.  And every time, and every time they would call my show or they would send me a hate e-mail I just smile and think about the vernacular of my grandfather.  I does not care. 

Now you see Niger and I, we got a list of them.  They call me Uncle Tom, they call me sell out, they call me Oreo.  And then one night I got a call from a guy that came up with a brand new one.  I told you I had to start a list because there was just too many of them.  So one night the guy calls up, and this is how his voice sounded.  "Mr. Cain."  I said, "Yes, sir."  "You are shameless."  I said, "Shameless.  Excuse me, sir, why do you say I'm shameless."  "It is shameless that you as a black man would disagree with our black president."   I said, "Well sir I have two thoughts that may be difficult for you to comprehend, but work with me.  First, it may surprise you and a lot of folk that some black people can think for themselves without having somebody else think for them."  I know that's a shocker.  And I said, "Secondly sir, secondly, and this one may be even more difficult for you to understand.  When this nation reaches a point where its citizens cannot constructively criticize its leaders, we are no longer a democratic republic; we have become a nation of tyranny and that's not going to happen on our watch."  It is our right to disagree.  So I had to add that to the list of me and Niger, shameless.  But those are their tactics.  So that's why we have to stay informed. 

Secondly stay involved.  Don't stay home.  One of the contributing factors to the current president, the current administration, is that too many people stayed home because they didn't see the perfect candidate.  Well let me tell you a little secret.  You aren't going to find a perfect candidate that you agree on every single issue that's important to you.  I used to tell my listeners, if you can find a candidate where you are in agreement seven out of ten, that's a home run.  Because if you are waiting for ten out of ten, America's going to continue down the wrong track.  Stay involved, no matter what you do.

So we've got to stay informed, stay involved.  Do what you can do.  Not everybody can run for office.  Not everybody is in a position to consider running for president.  I'm just saying.  I'm just saying.  But everybody can do what they can do with the skills, the talents and the time that God has allowed you to share while you're here on this planet.  Stay inspired.

And then the third thing we have to do.  Stay informed, stay involved and stay inspired, because they want you to believe that we can't complete the journey of taking back our government.  They want you to believe that changing control of the House of Representatives last November 2nd was just a flash in the pants.  That's what they want you to believe.  So you have to stay inspired. And I've got to tell you that when I woke up on the morning of November the 3rd, I breathed a cautionary sigh of relief because the citizens movement going across this country showed that it is real.  And it's not over yet, because it is still continuing. 

And everybody has to find their own source of inspiration.  My inspiration comes from God Almighty.  My inspiration comes from my mother and my father.  You see my mother and my father walked off a farm at the age of 18, literally with just the clothes on their backs.  They walked off different farms.  But they met up, got married, had two sons.  We grew up in Atlanta, GA.  And when my father walked off that farm, my uncle reminds me, who just turned 88 years of age, who was younger than my dad—.  My uncle still reminds me that when L Junior, that's what they called him, walked off of that small farm, he doesn't even believe that L Junior even had shoes on his feet.  Just the clothes on his back.  But he had some dreams.  Dad taught my brother and I, you can achieve your American Dream if you believe in God, believe in yourself, and believe in the greatest country in the world.  Those are the values that he taught us.

So what they were able to do, what my parents were able to do to inspire us, inspired me.  Because they wanted us to get a little bit better start than they did.  And we did.  And now we want to give our kids and grandkids a little bit better start.  That's why we are in this fight.

Let me tell you one of my other inspirations.  Her name is Selena.  She was born on January the 22nd, 1999.  Twelve years ago.  And when I got to the hospital just in time before her birth and I went into that delivery room and looked that little face, looked at that little newborn face that wasn't more than 15 minutes old, the first thought that went through my mind was what do I do to make this a better world.  I never forgot that moment.  And I was asked by a reporter yesterday, why was birth of your grandchild so impactful on you considering a run for the presidency?  What about your children?  And I reminded her when your children are born, you focus on their future.  When your grandchildren are born, you focus on the future of the nation.  Ask any grandparent and they will tell you. 

That's where a part of my inspiration comes, it comes from thinking about making this a better world, and we all have to do what we can do, using our talents and our faith.  Not only in the greatest country in the world, but those founding principles that you heard talked about today. 

The Declaration of Independence was conceived by our great founding fathers, and they didn't intend for someone to recite "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator—."  It wasn't intended to leave that out of a speech. 

When some of our early settlers of this country decided that they wanted to put "in God we trust" on all of our currency.  Now you have some people who want to take that off the currency. 

And then in the 1950s when this nation was in the fight of its life against communism, the United States Congress voted to add the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance.  It's not right that a United States Congresswoman from Minnesota by the name of Betty McCollum would lead the House of Representatives in the Pledge of Allegiance and skip over the words "under God."  It's not right.

So my inspiration comes from my faith in God, my parents, what they did; it comes from the American Dream that I have been able to achieve in this great country.  My inspiration comes from the fact that I believe that the founding fathers got it right, and as Rick Perry and others have said, we just need to get back to the Constitution and back to the Declaration of Independence.  And that we don't need to re-write it; we need to re-read it, re-review it and re-live by it. 

And so the American Dream is under attack, but the good news is we're fighting back.  Next stop, control of the United States Senate and at the same time, control of the White House with a brand new occupant in 2012.

And as others have pointed out to you throughout the day—you've had a long day, but I can tell that patriots don't get tired.  Patriots get energized.  Because we still have a lot of work to do.

And then finally one of the things that inspires me to even consider something as crazy as running for president of the United States are the words of the Gipper.  And the Gipper said freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.  We don't pass it on to our children in the bloodstream.  It must be fought for, protected.  Or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our grandchildren what the United States used to be like when men were free.  I don't want to have that conversation with my grandkids and I don't think you want to have that conversation with your grandkids.  And so we have an announcement to the liberals, the administration and the President.  The United States of America will not become the United States of Europe, not on our watch.

[Music: Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell "Ain't no Mountain High Enough"]

time: about 28.5m

Transcript copyright © 2011 Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action.