George Graham

American Politics is a Macabre Masquerade

In Trinidad they have Carnival. In Jamaica they have John Canoo at Christmastime (see picture above). In America they have politics. But there’s a difference. In Trinidad and Jamaica, people disguise themselves for fun. In America it’s a deadly serious game.

Take Herman Cain.

He is the “outsider” in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. Never been in politics, right? Just your average black millionaire who made his money making pizza.

Yes, and I’m the King of Siam.

Cain is no outsider. He is a longtime political hack. And he is owned by – wait for it – the billionaire Koch brothers.

Click here to meet the Kochs.

Cain would have you believe he pulled up the Godfather’s pizza chain by its bootstraps, and would apply his miraculous business skills to being president, solving America’s complex challenges with such childlike formulas as his 9-9-9 tax plan.

The truth is far less amazing.

The Atlanta radio host, syndicated columnist and bank chairman has had a long history in politics. He was one of the principal opponents of Hillary Clinton’s health care plan. He was a senior adviser to Bob Dole’s presidential campaign. He ran – unsuccessfully – for the U.S. Senate in 2004. This isn’t even his first shot at the presidency; he was a Republican candidate back in 2000.

Not surprisingly, he is also a Fox Business channel commentator.

He didn’t found Godfather’s Pizza and build it into an empire The Pillsbury corporation assigned him to save the pizza subsidiary after he impressed his bosses there by teaching Burger King employees to smile. And how did he make the pizza chain a success? By closing hundreds of outlets and laying off thousands of kids. (I bet they weren’t smiling!)

The list goes on and on (click here for more), but the most sinister thing of all is his association with Charles and David Koch.

The link is exposed in an Associated Press story by Ryan J. Foley today. Here’s an excerpt:

Cain’s campaign manager and a number of aides have worked for Americans for Prosperity, or AFP, the advocacy group founded with support from billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, which lobbies for lower taxes and less government regulation and spending. Cain credits a businessman who served on an AFP advisory board with helping devise his “9-9-9” plan to rewrite the nation’s tax code. And his years of speaking at AFP events have given the businessman and radio host a network of loyal grassroots fans.

Foley reveals:

AFP tapped Cain as the public face of its “Prosperity Expansion Project,” and he traveled the country in 2005 and 2006 speaking to activists who were starting state-based AFP chapters from Wisconsin to Virginia. Through his AFP work he met Mark Block, a longtime Wisconsin Republican operative hired to lead that state’s AFP chapter in 2005 as he rebounded from an earlier campaign scandal that derailed his career.

Block and Cain sometimes traveled together as they built up AFP: Cain was the charismatic speaker preaching the ills of big government; Block was the operative helping with nuts and bolts.

When President Barack Obama’s election helped spawn the tea party, Cain was positioned to take advantage. He became a draw at growing AFP-backed rallies, impressing activists with a mix of humor and hard-hitting rhetoric against Obama’s stimulus, health care and budget policies.

Block is now Cain’s campaign manager. Other aides who had done AFP work were also brought on board.

There’s more:

AFP’s agenda also includes weakening private and public sector unions, opposing environmental regulations and undoing Obama’s health care reform law, among other policies. But before the tea party and Obama, Cain worked with AFP on more local issues.

In 2006, he campaigned all over Wisconsin in support of a proposed constitutional amendment that would have limited state government spending. A slew of officials and analysts said the plan would have ultimately devastated government services, and the Republican-controlled Legislature eventually backed off it.

To give you an idea of the kind of morals these people have, here’s another excerpt from the Foley piece:

Block …settled a suit in 2001 accusing him of illegally coordinating a Wisconsin Supreme Court justice’s re-election with an outside group. Block agreed to pay $15,000 and sit out of politics for three years.

Click here for the AP report.

There are no”outsiders” in American politics.  It’s a masquerade of millionaires posing as characters from some traditional folk tale. Cain is just one example. There are many, many more to be found inside and outside the halls of Congress these days.

It’s no wonder so many people are saying, “Enough!”

Click here for the latest on “Occupy Wall Street.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for