Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Maybe Herman Cain's just clueless

Herman Cain's been getting a lot of shit from me recently. I think it's mostly justified, as his policies would be terrible for the nation. But it's becoming increasingly clear the more I hear him in interviews and debates that the man just has no idea what he's talking about. A sampling;

-His previously-discussed ignorance of the Palestinian Right of Return, a fairly major element in the Israel-Palestine conflict.
-His ignorance of neoconservatism, the dominant foreign policy idea in the Republican Party in the past 15 years.
-His proud ignorance of details of foreign countries and foreign leaders; "Uzbeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan".
-Most damning are his fumbles of questions on abortion, a topic he should be strong on given the prominent role it played in his 2004 run for Senate. In an interview with John Stossel about 3 months ago, Cain gives completely contradictory answers in back to back sentences. The clip really is worth watching; it's just over a minute, and the other guest's response to Cain's literally-jaw-dropping answer is worth the price of admission.
-On Meet the Press, he said he did not support abortion under any circumstances but then said abortion in the case of a threat to the life of the mother would have to be made by the family. Not as self-contradictory as the Stossel interview, but not crystal clear either.
-He further muddied the waters on his abortion stance in an interview with Piers Morgan, where he again seemed to indicate it wasn't the government's role to make the choice on abortion.

What concerns me most about the repeated poor responses on abortion is that neither the candidate nor his team thought to tighten up the answers. After the Stossel interview months ago, an intelligent/savvy politician would have spent some time to figure out a way to clearly convey his stance on this issue, which is a particularly important one in Iowa and throughout a Republican primary.

Republican voters should be hopeful that Cain's campaign mirrors that of Ross Perot. By making tax reform a central issue in his campaign, he is influencing the debate, just like Perot did in '92 on deficit and spending issues. But should Cain's lead in the polls carry him to the nomination, I'm supremely confident of four more years for Obama, and likely big gains in Congress as well.

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