An absolutely true news item: Herman Cain, former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, has won the Republican presidential straw poll in Florida.
My fellow Americans,
Welcome to the Herman Cain bandwagon!
All you devoted Tea Party folks know who I am, and know where I stand. Same goes for all the fans of my syndicated column and my commentaries on the Fox Business Network, as well as all the good God-fearing people at the Baptist church where I’m an associate minister.
But the rest of America is probably wondering: Who the heck is this Herman Cain, and how does running a pizza company qualify him to be president of the United States?
What makes him so much smarter than Papa John, or that super-rich dude who owns Domino’s?
First thing you should know: Herman Cain isn’t just about pizza.
I also worked for Coca-Cola and Pillsbury, and supervised a whole bunch of Burger Kings. I’ve served on the board of Nabisco, Whirlpool and even Reader’s Digest.
Not that I’m trying to downplay all those great years at Godfather’s. Make no mistake: Pizza has been very good to Herman Cain. I can’t think of a better background to prepare a candidate for the formidable and complex challenges of the modern presidency.
Imagine the Mideast, for example, as a large mozzarella pie with an extra-crispy crust. Each slice is loaded with different exotic ingredients, and occasionally one slice clashes with the others to which it is geographically linked.
Let’s say the pizza slice we call Israel is diced mushrooms and bell peppers. Perhaps Syria is bacon with pineapple chunks. Will there be harsh words and strife? It’s inevitable.
Now, throw in Jordan (ham with Kalamata olives) and Egypt (pulled chicken on spinach leaves) and of course Saudi Arabia (artichoke hearts, tomatoes and ground lamb).
What you have, my fellow Americans, is a recipe for trouble.
Which is why we need a president who has first-hand experience in the delicate balancing and mixing of life’s condiments. Let me say this loud and clear: Herman Cain is a man who can make pineapple chunks work with anything!
Now let’s talk about our struggling economy. Again you might be wondering how an executive career in food services translates to instant expertise on the global debt crisis, domestic tax policies or Social Security reform.
Don’t forget that I was once chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank in Kansas City. I also singlehandedly rescued Godfather’s Pizza from bankruptcy, although I had to shut down more than 120 restaurants and fire a whole bunch of folks.
I don’t deny saying that I’ll turn America around the same way I turned Godfather’s around, but naturally the left-wing media has twisted this into something snarky. Of course you can’t run the biggest economy in the world exactly the same way you run a pizza company.
The secret to Godfather’s resurgence was basic: More topping. The secret to saving America is equally simple: Less topping.
Imagine the federal budget in slices, and what do you see?
Cheese, my fellow Americans, a veritable mudslide of cheese.
Then, on top of all that goo, you’ve got a virtual mountain of pepperonis, jalapenos, prosciutto, capers, eggplants, onions, salami and anchovies.
And where is President Obama? He’s in the kitchen cooking up more marinara sauce, probably with garlic and rosemary!
As you know, the biggest, sloppiest pieces of our budgetary pizza are Social Security, Medicare and the Pentagon. Herman Cain is the only candidate who isn’t afraid to reach into that hot oven and scrape off all the wasteful toppings, until there’s nothing left but the dough.
To those who think I’m a long shot, let me remind you that the same was said about a certain B-list Hollywood actor who became one of our best presidents (and who also liked a slice of deep-dish from time to time).
It’s true that I’ve never held public office. It’s also true that I’ve fumbled my facts a bit when it came to sensitive topics like Palestine or, more recently, the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution.
That’s OK. Herman Cain can take a fair hit.
But I’ve detected even among fellow party members a humoring attitude toward my candidacy. I can’t help but wonder if they’d be treating me the same way if my background wasn’t pizza but, say, calzones.
In any case, thanks to those 986 Republicans who voted for me in Florida’s straw poll, Herman Cain is now a crusty force to be reckoned with.
Bring on the heat.
(Carl Hiaasen is a columnist for the Miami Herald. Readers may write to him at: 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, Fla., 33132.)
(c) 2011, The Miami Herald Distributed by Tribune Media Services Inc.