I don't see this as a particularly good move for the Tea Party's first ever Presidential nominee. It appears they are taking a page form Obama's play-book - a man without a nationally recognized name, and no political experience, but... he is also a man who appears to have a silver tongue with which to mesmerize audiences. I'm not certain we need another snake-oil pitchman in the White House.
But that's really more about what he is, or isn't, rather than who he is... so, who is he? He is the CEO of Godfather Pizza, and he is a black American. I hesitate to use the term African-American for a couple of reasons:
1. The hyphen is a separator, not a unifier. I don't run around proclaiming myself to be Irish-American. I'm probably at least a 5th generation American of Irish descent, so the "Irish" part of my genealogical makeup is exactly that - genealogy - it is not who I am. I don't "celebrate" St. Patrick's Day, nor have I ever been to the "Shamrock Isle". I am an AMERICAN!
(Personally, I see those who use hyphenates to define themselves, to be more proud of the antecedent nationality than that which is subsequent)
2. Just a guess on my part, but I wouldn't be surprised to find that Mr. Cain has never even been to Africa. Probably 90% of black Americans have never made the journey back to the Motherland. How do they then become hyphenated Americans?
The redeeming factor, or at least the single identifiable factor that distinguishes him from Obama, is that he is (apparently) a successful businessman. He has climbed the ladder of success - either by virtue of talent, or political devices, but nonetheless he has reached an enviable pinnacle in the business world. Obama has no such accomplishment on his personal résumé.
Does Mr. Cain stand a chance of success in the 2012 election? I think not. And it won't be solely because of his race, although for some that may strongly influence their decision at the voting booth.
There is a combination of things that will probably cause the demise of his bid for the presidency - chiefly his inexperience in "formal" politics (Yes, big business is fraught with politics, but it's a different kind of politics, and the fate of a nation does not ride upon a choice between pepperoni or Italian sausage). And, yes, some people did elect a relatively inexperienced man as president in 2008, and in 2012 they will have had 4 years in which to regret their decision (but... Americans apparently have become slow to learn from their mistakes, and many of them will choose to make the same mistake again in 2012). He also has to overcome his total lack of name recognition on "The Grand Scale" of national politics! That may or may not be provided by the national media. Then there are suggestions that Cain is a "mugwump", which, in politics, means he sits upon the fence with his "mug" on one side and his "wump" on the other. Herman Cain does not particularly present himself as one thing or the other, although to be the Tea Party candidate, he is most likely significantly more conservative in his "world view" than he is liberal. And then there is the matter of financial backing. The Tea Party better have a helluva "war chest" to promote a virtual nobody into the highest elected office in the country, because it will be an uphill battle all the way.
I guess Newt Gingrich wasn't available, nor was Sarah Palin, or any politically recognizable name. Now that he's really needed, where is Pat Paulsen? DEAD! (If you don't know who Pat was, Google him) If you choose to nominate a political weenie for President, Oscar Mayer would be your best choice. So, when you finally get your buns to the voting booth, remember the name Oscar Mayer! It's a weenie we all know...