Can Cain Really Do It?

All American Blogger: Herman Cain’s Achilles’ Heel

I like Herman Cain.  I trust the guy.  I think that he’s running for president for all of the right reasons, and I truly believe that he would make a great leader — if he take the next 18 months or so and educates himself on certain issues.  After watching what I thought was a cringe-worthy performance on Fox News Sunday–”he got trounced,” is the text message I sent to my boss–I had planned a piece on what it would take for Cain to deepen his understanding of the issues that matter.  Thankfully, Duane Lester over at All American Blogger already did so for me.  Speaking about his bombed answer on Fox News Sunday, as well as the generalities with which Cain spoke during the Greenville, South Carolina GOP debate a few weeks ago, Duane wrote the following:

When you couple the two answers, it creates serious doubt that Cain understands foreign policy. That doubt can torpedo a campaign.

There are two things Cain can do to fix this. First, learn the art of BS like a world champion. Cain admitted that Wallace caught him off guard with the question on right of return. Here’s the thing: that’s going to happen. You have got to be able to B.S. your way out of those questions. There’s an art to it. It can be learned. If Nancy Pelosi can do it, so can Herman Cain. Learn it. Use it.

Second, he needs to open that giant brain pan of his and start dumping some industrial strength foreign policy knowledge into it. Hire the best wonks you can afford and start training on this stuff where ever you go. If he’s riding on Highway 2 in Iowa, he better have a cheat sheet and a teacher in his face. When he’s walking the treadmill, have a audio book drilling into his ear holes. Sitting on the pot? Bring a book.

He’s in a bad spot. See, there’s knowing what you know, not knowing what you know, knowing what you don’t know, and not knowing what you don’t know. (Yeah, I channeled a little Rumsfeld there.)

On Sunday, he didn’t know what he didn’t know. The answer on Sunday proves it. Now he knows what he doesn’t know. He needs a teacher who can educate him, and he needs it fast.

One thing that I hope voters on the right understand is that, in Barack Obama, we had someone who spoke in platitudes and rhetorical flourishes, without lending much to the discussion in terms of policy and specifics.  While I am sure that Mr. Cain has a vast understanding of what it takes to build a business, I don’t know that his knowledge base when it comes to national security and foreign policy is much better–if not worse–than Barack Obama’s was at this stage of the 2008 campaign.  It is disingenuous for the right to plant a flag in Cain’s candidacy and dismiss the very same weaknesses that we so derided when it came to then Sen. Obama.

So, what does this mean for the presidential election.  Well, I’m hoping that my infant son will sleep long enough during my shift at night so that I may share my thoughts, but in the meantime I can be brief.  I don’t think that this coming election cycle is as much about independent voters as it has been in years past. This time around, the political climate has been polarizing enough to diminish the number of independents, and besides — the sea change that we’ve seen in American politics, most notably the emergence of the Tea Party as an influencing body on the right, means that this election will be about (a) a referendum on President Obama, which will in turn depend (b) not so much on how independents perceive him, but (c) more about how excited the GOP nominee can make the base on the right.



  1. Anonymous says:

    Better than Obama, but I prefer Chris Christie/Allen West. All the good candidates are considered ‘too fresh to politics’.

  2. Thanks for the mention.

    One thing that I do like about Cain that came from his failure on Fox News Sunday was his appearance on Hannity the following night where he admitted he didn’t know what Wallace was talking about the day before. Most politicians would have tried to deny their ignorance.

    While I still think Cain needs to hone his BS arts, his candid response on Hannity was refreshing.

  3. Richard Sava says:

    Cain may very well be the man. Solid business sense, open and honest. I like the article though, Cain needs to surround himself and learn as much as he can. His biggest plusses so far are 1) he is not the usual politician and 2) he is not Obama. Team him up with a good solid #2 and they could win it back.

  4. Linda C. says:

    Two words: Allen West. He knows and he can speak extemporaneously on the issues and enemies – both foreign and domestic.

  5. Jeff Schreiber says:

    Duane — you always do good work. I could probably have you in Assigned Reading every day.

    Hope all is well, friend.


  6. Anonymous says:

    Why does everybody feel the need to act as an evangelist after a few drinks when in front of a microphone and a crowd?

  7. Randy Wills says:

    Anonymous @ 9:50 AM.



  8. Gail B. says:

    Herman Cain is a man with charisma, but members of the political forum from across Georgia and up around Atlanta have serious doubts about Cain. They feel he is part of the Establishment, a possible RINO. He is not supportive of auditing the Fed.

    I agree with Linca C. above. Allen West is not intimidated; he is an honorable man, one with integrity and courage. Allen West is willing to run for POTUS if the constituents in his FL-22 District will release him from his pledge to represent their voices in Congress.

    As for VP — I say let him pick his VP running mate. Has he not already served his country enough, with 22 years in the military? His supporters see him as our today’s George Washington, and our answer is NO!


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