Defeat is temporary. Giving up is permanent.
That was one of the messages Herman Cain delivered to between 100-150 people Wednesday night at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin gym.
Cain, a 2012 Republican presidential candidate, used the contrast of defeat and giving up as a way to illustrate how conservatives must regroup after the Nov. 6 election, in which President Barack Obama was re-elected to a second term.
Cain discussed his life, accomplishments and his family’s influence during his speaking engagement, which was co-sponsored by the Young Americans for Freedom and the John Ben Shepperd Public Leadership Institute.
In a near 40-minute speech, Cain touched on the presidential election — he said the main reason Mitt Romney, Republicans and conservatives lost the election was because of “class warfare rhetoric” — and offered advice to what conservatives can do in light of what happened on election day, such as staying informed, involved and inspired.
After Cain dropped out of the presidential race, many people — especially on the left — thought he would go away and “shut up, sit down and be quiet,” Cain said.
“I’m back,” he said, seeming to mimic the voice of the young girl in the “Poltergeist” movies.
Republicans need to “get the narrative right” and learn to talk to people, Cain said. He said Republicans lack a minority outreach program, and the GOP needs to learn to talk about prosperity to minority groups. Plus, Republicans need to strip away labels, such as political designations, when they engage others, he said.
Cain said “class warfare is dividing this nation” and said people can accomplish their goals if they are willing to work hard.
He said young people today have “some barriers to deal with that many of us older folk didn’t have to deal with,” and those obstacles are too much legislation, regulation and taxation. At one point, Cain mentioned his 9-9-9 tax plan, which drew ample publicity and scrutiny during his campaign.
Cain discussed his upbringing, explaining how his father held three jobs, and his education and career, including at the Department of the Navy and several corporations.
Cain has worked in various capacities in business, including serving as chief executive officer of Godfather’s Pizza. He served a stint as chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in the mid-1990s and was CEO of the National Restaurant Association from 1996 to 1999.
Cain served as a senior adviser to Bob Dole in his 1996 presidential campaign. Cain ran for president, albeit briefly, on the GOP ticket in 2000, and in 2004, he ran for U.S. Senate in Georgia but lost in the Republican primary.
Elsewhere in his speech, Cain discussed the fiscal cliff, the tax code (he said it should be replaced, not reformed), the economy and his plans, which include a syndicated radio show in 2013. Cain will take over for Neal Boortz, who is retiring, in January 2013. Cain also plans to develop an Internet television network called Caintv.com.
People should have dreams in their lives, Cain said, and he is not giving up on the American Dream despite, in his opinion, that it is under attack. Success is journey, not a destination, he said.
After Cain spoke, he took several questions from the audience and met with people afterward.