Forget what you heard. Herman Cain isn’t bowing out of the Fed race after all.
In an interview published Wednesday, the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO and one-time presidential candidate told the Wall Street Journal that, contrary to some news reports, he is not planning to pull himself out of the running for a seat at the Federal Reserve, even though he appears to lack enough support to be confirmed by Congress.
Donald Trump announced earlier this month that he intended to nominate Cain, a political ally with little relevant monetary policy experience, for one of the two open spots on the central bank’s seven-member Board of Governors. Economists collectively wretched at the decision. And, somewhat surprisingly, so have a number of Senate Republicans, four of whom have said they would not vote for Cain if he is officially nominated. Some have cited the sexual harassment allegations that sank Cain’s presidential bid in 2012. Others, like Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, have pretty much written him off as an unqualified partisan. But whatever the reasons, Cain currently doesn’t have enough votes to make it through Congress without Democratic support, which probably isn’t forthcoming.
Last week ABC News reported that Cain would withdraw himself from consideration. But on Tuesday, Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow suggested that might not happen. “At the end of the day, it will probably be up to Herman Cain if he wants to stay in that process or not,” Mr. Kudlow told reporters Tuesday. “As far as we are concerned, he is still in the process and it is proceeding.” Kudlow added that while Trump was still interested in Cain, the White House was talking to “a number of candidates” for the Fed. Now, Cain says he isn’t going anywhere. Per the WSJ:
“What Kudlow was doing was giving me an out, and I appreciate that, but I don’t want an out. I don’t want an out,” Mr. Cain said, adding that he doesn’t think the White House is getting cold feet about his potential nomination.
“You know that the president is a fighter, and Kudlow is a fighter. They might be getting a lot of blowback from some folks, I don’t know. But I don’t think they’re getting uncomfortable with it.”
To be honest, I don’t know what to make of any of this. I mean, maybe Donald Trump ends up nominating a former pizza executive who’s been accused of being a serial sexual harasser to the single most powerful economic institution in the world and just dares Republicans to actually vote the guy down. Or maybe not. But hey, at least it’s more entertaining that your typical Fed nomination process, which tends to be dry as an econometrics textbook. This saga is a good time. Everyone’s having fun? Right? Fun!