2020 continues to be the year of the GREAT Suck. The world and Georgia lost two Civil Rights giants within hours of each nearing a week ago, and this week, we lost another leader, and at least to me, a good friend.
Herman Cain, a successful entrepreneur, former Presidential and U.S. Senate candidate, and longtime radio talk show talent at WSB Radio, as well as nationally-syndicated commentator, succumbed to the Corona Virus. He will not be the first person taken too soon by this pandemic, nor the last, but the place he leaves behind was and is a unique one. Herman Cain was a Black conservative. They are not as rare as a white Rhinoceros, or white deer, but they can be hunted and targeted, even within their own communities, almost as fiercely.
Herman Cain was originally brought in to the WSB Radio team in Atlanta as a fill-in host, and I would later learn of his many abilities and highly impressive business career with Burger King, Pillsbury, Godfather's Pizza and the National Restaurant Association, and that Herman had also chaired the regional Federal Reserve Bank during his tenure in Kansas City. I joined the deep talent roster of WSB Radio in Atlanta as a political analyst in 2006.
As I got to know Herman, heard often of his wife Gloria and two children...and as Herman's conservative star was rising, he became WSB Radio's nighttime conservative voice and talk show host. The New Herman Cain Show was born.
Heading into the 2008 Presidential campaign season, Herman and his longtime radio show producer, Shane Backler, or Shaney B. as he is known to longtime Cain fans, began to call and to book me during the 9-10 p.m. hour of Herman's show. We would discuss the Presidential primaries, the field shaping up for contested races in the U.S. Senate and House as well as the issues driving the attention and focus of the electorate. I'm not sure who suggested it first, but this segment became a Wednesday night regular feature of Herman's show called, "Cain & Crane: Food for Your Brain."
My politics were not and are not as conservative as Herman's, there were and are many things we agreed on, particularly the responsibility of EACH INDIVIDUAL to take control of their own life, and to not look to or rely on the government (at any level) to solve every problem. Yet on those rare occasions that we disagreed, Herman was never disagreeable. I asked Herman as he was entering the Presidential contest in 2012 why he would give up the lucrative and safe perch of a nationally syndicated radio program for the crapshoot of national politics as well as the possible negative impacts of a Presidential campaign on his family.
He said it had been a hard lesson that took him a long time to learn to tell the difference between what you 'had to do,' and what you 'ought to do,' the latter coming to him in the church often as it related to helping or leading others in a better direction. Herman felt he had something to offer our nation, and he ably entered the arena as he felt it was something he ought to do, with little regard for the financial and personal sacrifices he was making.
Finally, as news outlets and particularly cable networks, will continue to insinuate that Herman caught COVID19 while attending a Trump campaign rally in Tulsa on June 20, sans mask, I think you should know that it was Cain's daughter who came home to be with Herman and his wife Gloria, experiencing several COVID19 symptoms after the rally. On July 1, Herman was taking her to be cared for at an area hospital. Having survived multiple forms of cancer and aggressive chemotherapy treatments, Herman had a somewhat compromised immune system. As his daughter was being taken in to care, Herman stood up out of his car to check on her and collapsed at the door to the E.R. He was taken into the hospital as well, and unfortunately this virus did the rest...but even until the end, Herman was fighting back and I hear from those who did speak to or email with him, he still had those jokes and that smile and high spirit with him until the end.
I imagine about now it will be happy hour in heaven, Herman please go ahead and pour one for me, I will be there before too terribly long to join you. Rest in peace, my friend.