Debra J. Saunders

Ronald Reagan went from actor to politician. Please note: Reagan could not have been President Reagan without being California Gov. Reagan first.

Sabato noted that in 1980, when Democrats were painting Reagan as an extremist, "the most reassuring qualification that Reagan had was having run the nation's largest state (population-wise) for eight years -- and it was still there."

Cain has a poor sense of timing. Obama did not have a thick political resume when he won the White House. If American voters are so dissatisfied with Obama in 2012 that they want to replace him, they are not going to choose a rookie -- who never has won a showdown with other lawmakers, sat across the table from a foreign despot or withstood the pressure of a hardball election and triumphed -- whose claim to fame is that he is a good talker.

In its early stages before voters have begun to focus seriously on the election, the 2012 GOP primary has shined the spotlight on vanity candidates (Newt Gingrich), vanity non-candidates (Sarah Palin) and vanity personified (Donald Trump).

Like Cain, Palin and Trump have a talent for saying glib things that suggest that there are easy fixes for entrenched messes. Take Cain's premise that not being a politician is a plus in a presidential election.

Debra J. Saunders

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