Cain Leaves Rails in Newspaper Interview

What Can You Say When Words Fail You?

It was too good to last.  While the personal attacks against Herman Cain were based on unsubstantiated allegations, I knew his real problem would eventually come up:  He does a decent ten-second sound-bite, but I think his depth of understanding on issues has always been lacking.  There have been signs all along, such as his lack of knowledge on the issue of a “right of return” claimed by Palestineans, his dearth of knowledge on some of the entitlements-related issues as demonstrated by the Cain-Gingrich debate, and now he’s really blown it with some very odd responses to questions about Libya in a sit-down interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.  I do like Herman Cain, and I think he’s a genuine and sincere American who believes in a message of optimism, but the fact is that he doesn’t know the issues.  Cain’s reliance on his life’s experience in business has come down to this:  He’s inspiring and motivating, but it does not qualify him to be the President.

I say this with some sadness, because I firmly believe we need a candidate with his optimistic view of America’s potential, but I also know that in the real world we face, that alone will not salvage our position.  If he gets this  confused over our foreign policy on Libya, it’s going to be a problem.  He seems to have gotten confused about the question, his rehearsed answer, or some combination of the two.  To his credit, he gets back on track but he seemed to be stalling a bit in trying to do so, suggesting he was trying to remember what his position has been rather than responding directly to the question.  Again, I’m not bashing Herman Cain, but giving you my best assessment of his knowledge.  It may be that he would be able to stumble in this fashion through foreign policy crises that may arise, but that’s not really the scenario in which you want your President learning the foreign policy ropes.

I also realize that Cain says he likes to have full information before making a decision, and that’s laudable, but the truth is that a President must frequently make decisions despite sometimes sizable gaps in the available information.  Some of those situations will be time-critical, and a President will be forced to try to fill in the blanks with best guesses from advisers, but also from his own accumulated knowledge and experience.   Herman Cain has a great deal of wisdom and experience in some matters, and virtually none in others.  Foreign policy is one of these, and the truth of the Presidency is that foreign policy is arguably the most important concern of every President, whether the occupant of the Oval Office recognizes this fact or not.  If defending the country is the primary purpose of the federal government, then foreign policy must be among our top priorities for our nominee.

This lack of detailed knowledge becomes readily apparent when placed alongside Newt Gingrich, another technocrat with long experience as a policy wonk, but it’s more than that.  I have had concerns about Cain from the moment he first ran into the “right to return” flap.  Even at that, I’d still take a Herman Cain over a Mitt Romney, but the truth is that there are better options than either, in my view.  This particular instance with Cain comes at a bad time, because the latest round of polling seems to indicate his personal favorability has slipped in light of an admittedly dubious batch of allegations about his personal conduct.  A bit reminiscent of Perry’s mental slippage of last week, this moment may provide the final downward impetus to seal Cain’s fate.  Honestly, it’s too bad because he may very well be innocent of all the wretched allegations leveled at him, but in politics, it is so difficult to over come perceptions that when combined with this episode, may turn out to have been an insurmountable obstacle to his campaign.  Then again, people have counted Cain out before, and he’s survived.  Whether he can win the nomination with his clear lack of knowledge may be another matter.

You can watch the video clip from the interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel below:

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  • David

    Oh yeah…because Obummer knew sooo much about running this country…….get a grip give the man a chance…he truly loves our country!

    • http://www.markamerica.com MarkAmerica

      David, I agree. Herman Cain loves his country. So do I. So do you. Should we run?

      • David

        perhaps you and I could do a better job than the current occupant…

        • http://www.markamerica.com MarkAmerica

          David, I have a three-year-old colt that could do a better job than the Obumbler. He'd eat grass and stay out of the way. That alone suggests a vast improvement.

      • David

        seriously Mark, what experience did O come with…he never even held a job…..he still doesn't hold a job, he's always flyin all ove, always on tv…when does he do anything???

        • http://www.markamerica.com MarkAmerica

          David, I agree. Obama is an empty suit, and malevolent besides. Still, that's not really a good argument for Cain, so much as a clear case against Obama. As I said in the article, I like Cain. I just don't think he's ready for the presidency.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=739030764 Dave Pavano

      David I was going to say just about the same thing. But do we need another president that that has no political experience and no political track record? I bet if he ran for congrrss and got some political experience under his belt, he would kick some major butt!

      But then again what other choices do we have? I'm thinking Newt as he did take us out of a ditch under Clinton… Of course Cinton got all the credit for it after kicking, screaming and biting the idea of agreeing with the Republican majority…

      • David

        I would say a Gingrich/Cain ticket would be a good bet…Newt has the WH experience, and Cain has the business accumen.
        I would go for that……I'm sure most of America can go for that!

  • http://gravatar.com/moonprinces moonprinces

    mark, i have a question for you i hope you can answer there was supposed to be a veterans march to washington dc against oboma, but neer heard if they had the march or not no press coverage if they did

    • http://www.markamerica.com MarkAmerica

      Moonprinces, I heard only a short word about it, and no, nothing since it was supposed to have happened. The media does its best to hide this sort of thing.

  • Gunnerdad

    Obummer can't put two sentences together with out a teleprompter. If the media was objective you'd see how little he still knows . I hope they told him we don't have 58 states even though he's "been in 57 of them".

  • http://benfranklinslepthere.blogspot.com Texmom

    Newt is smart, but part of the problem. Don't forget some of Newt's history…not just old stuff, but fairly recent.
    Attacked Ryan's plan, supports mandatory health care: http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/gingrich-supp

  • Katherine

    …"Cain’s reliance on his life’s experience in business has come down to this: He’s inspiring and motivating, but it does not qualify him to be the President." ???

    Funny, that ridiculous standard didn't apply to 'candidate' Barack Obama.
    Not only because of his total lack of experience in business, but because his only job 'qualifications' were rabble rousing, campaign fund raising, and community organizing.

    IF ONLY a young Barack Obama had had a man like Herman Cain as his father, then maybe Barry would have believed in the greatness of America. Instead, that void was filled with radical male figures. Maybe Barry learned how to read a teleprompter, to hide his college transcripts and his birth certificate, to rabble rouse and community organize. And, he may have even learned to craft a spine tingling speech, or answer a few foreign policy questions, but Barack Obama does not believe in the fundamental GOODNESS of America.

    Yet HE was elected to be POTUS? Oh, the media…ROFLMAO!

    Here, a GREAT MAN, being interviewed for a newspaper article, seems to struggle with a question regarding the details of Obama's foreign policy. Yet you discredit him by holding him to a higher standard than the poser we now have in office. Wha….

    WHOOOOOOSH…. What's that SUCKING SOUND that we hear?

    That sucking sound we now hear is from the VOID that represents the sum total of what Obama LACKS in experience, in leadership, and in his ability to inspire our nations' citizens and to restore its former greatness.

    It's time America got her own house in order. That's a job for a MAN,, not a petulant, narcissistic, hopelessly incompetent MAN CHILD.

    • http://www.markamerica.com MarkAmerica

      Katherine,

      I agree that Herman Cain is superior to Obama. Still, in my view, that's a fairly low bar to set.

      • SeanStLouis

        A presidential candidate should absolutely be held to the highest standards. Unfortunately, many people don't vote that way. They tend to support the most popular instead of the most able.

    • mimsborne

      I watched the video expecting to see something "going off the rails", and I didn't see it. Cain says that he doesn't know what Obama was privy to in making his decision — most importantly, more about the opposition that would be taking Khadifi's place.

      As with Perry, I'm not opposed to the nominees' unpolished impromptu replies. The important thing is their positions. For me, Perry's record on forced inoculation and state-funded venture capital attempts are the problems, not his momentarily memory weaknesses.

      If we demand a professorial verbal ability, we're going to end up with a statist like Gingrich.

  • Pat Cashman

    I think Cain could surround himself with highly qualified people in his cabinet. Palin, Newt, West, etc. Now if he could only convince Thomas Sowell to get involved he could really change things. It will be interesting to see if Palin endorses someone tonight on Greta. If it's Newt, God bless us all.

  • eyetooth tom

    i'm getting to be an older fellow. Thought I was watching things well, thought all was well with Reagan, George Herbert Walker Bush. Then came Perot. Thought he was for real. Alerted us against NAFTA . Worked locally, not officially, but did a little local radio and TV trying to encourage votes for him. My thought years later is he had to have a real issue to have credibility is the reason for the NAFTA position. He was building an international airport in Fort Worth all the while, which I understand has lots of tax advantages, although don't know exactly what.
    Anyway, George H. W. didn't really try to win against Slick Willie. Why? Republicans had been pushing for the trade agreements, but couldn't pass due to democrats objections from labor at the time. What was needed was a Democratic pres to bring them along. And so Perot drops out of race when daughter's wedding is threatened…by who?…I never knew.
    But my point is…they're all global now. As a local pol said back during the Clinton era…"We're all global citizens now." So take your pick. I you sent them all packing…re-hired staffers and advisers will still be there with the same message. Just old fellows observation from a good while back

  • eyetooth tom

    Since there is not a lot of activity now on this site…

    Last sentence previous post…I mean't "If you sent them all packing…"

    Tried to proof…and did pretty good!!!

    This first comment…been reading a few weeks…found link in comments from some article…can't remember where. But think overall…it's great site.

    • http://www.markamerica.com MarkAmerica

      Thank you Tom, There's more activity than you may guess. Most readers don't comment. Still, this is a fairly new site. Been online 4 months tomorrow.

  • eyetooth tom

    As for me being older fellow…looking at what I figure is the picture of the host over to the left…that's gotta be Boston Blackie from the '40's and '50's. :)

    • http://www.markamerica.com MarkAmerica

      Oh, I'm a 1965 model. The style is certainly older.

      • eyetooth tom

        1965 model but still…really getting to the bottom of the situation ( now political corruption and crimes).

  • MiBones

    MY concern with Cain is who would be his advisors. We are seeing how effective the people we voted into the House are doing. They are constantly being pressured by the establishment. I fear, this would also happen to Caine. For now, I will keep my powder dry.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1649923542 Thomas Dixon

    With the Progressives following every line Saul Alinsky wrote to undermine Herman Cain's campaign (and character), I returned to your site Mark to intake your view and that of other followers.

    Must say I am disappointed. I've agreed with virtually all viewpoints; that's why I return and is basis for trying to expand your audience. But, with Mr Cain, I would ask that you consider a broader issue. Along with all of the accurate and kind words you wrote about him in this article, Mr Cain has one quality that no other candidate possesses ~ the man is not a politician. He is not from inside the beltway and carries no baggage that must be accounted later in his Presidency.

    I believe this is primary point of offensiveness to Progressives, both Democrat & Republican. He is not of the establishment and that scares the pants off them. They do not have any clue as to how he will act or react when addressing our country's dilemmas ~ he may be unconventional and most likely will be. Our current political system (politicians, lobbyists, pundits, media, activists) is so firmly entrenched that they actually believe they can continue to operate exactly as they have for the past 50 or more years and still convince the American people that the result will be new, innovative, and different.

    Insanity? Absolutely not. They (Obama, Gingrich, Rove, Matthews, Soros, Perrino, Jones, Clinton, Romney, Pelosi, et al) know exactly what they're doing and they know what's at stake ~ the future of this nation and the world ~ as THEY want to shape it. None of them can deal with 'unconventional.'

    Now, I'm a military man – have been since birth. My Dad graduated high school just after Pearl Harbor; joined to fight for his country's existence; survivied 28 bombing missions over occupied Europe; trained in B-29's to go to the Pacific; flew the Berlin airlift (I was 2 and with my Mom and brother in Bad Nauheim, GE); flew missions from Itazuke, Japan to support ground forces in Korea; stood alert in nuclear laden B-52's in the 50's; commanded an RBS Squadron in Albany, GA during Cuban missile crisis.

    I was an Eagle Scout, in ROTC when Kent State went down, joined after Tet in 1968; fought in the Delta 1971 and Cam Ranh Bay in '72; guarded our Titan missiles around Wichita; taught ground defense at the Academy; helped write the ground defense plan for Europe in the 80's when President Reagan was closing the 'window of opportunity' for the Soviet Bear; was there when 'the Wall' came down and finished as operations chief at Riyadh AB during Desert Storm.

    Didn't mean to bog you down with my history; however, when my experience is outlined, I hope you realize I'm not just bloviating. Sun Tzu, Rommel, Liddell-Hart, Schwartzkopf, and others are not only personalities, but tacticians whose concepts are deeply imbedded.

    In summary, please consider the leadership that our people so desperately need in these critical times. Conventional wisdom, strategy, and tactics spell doom for our Republic. Only an unconventional leader (read as 'special forces' or visualize George Washington) using unorthodox, peculiar, and offbeat means to address traditional and methodical problems will prove the deciding factor to recovery of our nation and its values.

    At this point in our democratic process, Herman Cain is that man.

    • http://www.markamerica.com MarkAmerica

      Thomas, I won't cover for Herman Cain. I also won't participate in the smears and lynching. If he shows that he doesn't know the issues, I'm going to say it.

      Here's the problem, for me: He is clearly as much of an outsider as anyone, but being an outsider is not the only thing that matters. I agree with you that many of those on the stage at present aren't much of an improvement, but I must also say that I want the nominee to know more about foreign policy than I do. Herman Cain doesn't.

      Like you, I am dissatisfied with the other choices. The truth is that I don't see a very good answer in any of these candidates. I never expected perfect. I just wanted "better" but I'm not sure that replacing the establishment folk with somebody who doesn't understand the question of Palestinean "right of return" is particularly prudent either.

      As ever, thank you for your service. It's actually interesting to know that you're among those who defined the strategy that directed the defense of Europe during the time I was a soldier there. Thank you!

      Mark

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1649923542 Thomas Dixon

        Thanks for your swift response, Mark. I was concerned you might not see the post as your original was three weeks past. Yet, with events unfolding at lightning speed, I simply wanted you to consider other aspects of the Cain dimension that could give 'advantage liberty' to this crucial power game.

        Having read your biographical sketch, I was aware of your service, though unaware of REFORGER involvement. As a fellow potential combatant, a hat tip to you also. There aren't many these days aware of how close we came to implementing the 4102 Plan ~ perhaps General Sir John Hackett's "The Third World War – The Untold Story" described it best. I feel assured he penned that novel and preceding volume to help convince our legislators and those in Parliament of the dire need to support President Reagan's and PM Thatcher's plans for military upgrade. We were so vulnerable after Carter's debacle (I still have difficulty addressing him as president).

        Yet, I do know in my heart that the Bear could have completely overrun the continent and Mediterranean Basin around 1985-86 with overpowering force and limited nuclear exchange. SPETsNAZ teams were trained and in-place with backpacks to neutralize our C4 centers, airbases, and logtail to interdict the reinforcers and throw the alliance into disarray. Not to mention the massive amount of men and materiel (both obsolete and top-of-the-line) that would deplete our forces quickly much the same as Fld Marshal Rommel in the 1940 blitz.

        Were it not for the foresight and determined action by two dynamic leaders (and I never use the term lightly) along with a host of others at lower levels, the Western culture would have been reshaped. Even now, I think those that regard President Reagan highly are amiss to his creative mix of humor, statesmanship, and determination. He was a true Commander-in-Chief, as well as leader of the Western world.

        But, I go on and on. You've a clear understanding of my search for today's leader that will use every means to restore our Constitutional Republic. As you, I know Sarah Palin is that kind of leader. Yet, far be it from me to advise her as to proper course ~ I've worked with Generals! I'm just a tactician not a strategist.

        Again, thanks for listening to my point of view, and I truly appreciate yours. That's why this site is one of five or six that are my regular ware.

        Highest regards,
        Thomas

        • http://www.markamerica.com MarkAmerica

          Thomas,

          "REFORGER" is a term I haven't heard in some time. Ah yes, you've succeeded in reminding me of an era that was far more dangerous than most remember, safely tucked in their beds in CONUS. Reagan was a much better Commander in Chief than most realize. The Soviets were indeed getting desperate near the end. Never is a despotic regime more dangerous than when it senses its own end.

          It's definitely true to say that Carter left us weakened and ripe for disaster. I have a sense that we're arriving in similar condition now.

          To this very day, one of the things I find terrifying is the absolute lack of knowledge today's youth has of that era. We don't teach it, and they have no clue about it. A parent like me might educate his/her child on the matter, but that's a drop in the bucket compared to all the parents who never taught because they don't care, and they never thought it important even at the time. Cultures have short memories for things that did not end in calamity.

          Thanks for coming to this site. I look forward to your valuable input!

          Mark