Today's Zogby poll of likely Republican primary voters is big news: Herman Cain has opened a 20-point lead over Mitt Romney and he now beats President Obama in a head-to-head matchup, 46 to 44 percent.
I like Herman Cain, and so do a lot of people I know. Last week I wrote that his comments about black voters being "brainwashed" were condescending, but that his underlying point was valid: that the African-American vote could be in play this year. He's right—smart campaigns don't take anyone's vote for granted. Cain's not taking any votes for granted. Lately, he looks like the hardest working guy around.
Cain is picking up the voters Rick Perry has turned off, which is feeding his surge past Mitt Romney. He's attracting those voters for two big reasons:
First, he's an outsider, not a career politician, who has Main Street business experience. No one else in the race can say that, including the president.
Second, he's got a plan. His "9-9-9 Plan" would establish a flat business tax at 9 percent, individual taxes at 9 percent, and a national sales tax at 9 percent. Economist Stephen Moore wrote a great piece in the Wall Street Journal recently on the flat tax, saying that Cain's 9-9-9 plan "would be rocket fuel for the economy ... Cain has super-sized solutions to an economy with super-sized problems." Not only would Cain's flat tax ideas draw Republican primary voters—as we see in the Zogby poll—they ensure that billionaires would pay the same as their secretaries, something the left and independents would like as well. He's a good debater, he's got plenty of financial support, and he's doing well in the polls. Cain's campaign website says "Let's Get Real." That's the question: is Herman Cain for real, or is he just another flash in the pan along with Donald Trump, Rick Perry, and Chris Christie?