i continue to follow the Cain saga and the troubling picture his candidacy presents of a substantial chunk of the U.S. electorate. It doesn’t seem to matter how clueless Herman Cain is about policy matters nor how badly he has handled the sexual harassment charges, he continues to poll near the top among the GOP presidential candidates. The last poll taken in Iowa shows him in a statistical four-way tie. I believe these polls were taken before Cain had his “oops!’ moment when questioned about Libya by the editorial board of a Milwaukee newspaper.
The Cain camp has attributed the way he responded to the question on Libya by arguing that he had only four hours of sleep and he was being peppered with rapid-fire questions. But the question he was asked was not long nor complicated. He was asked: “Do you agree with Obama’s policy on Libya?” Cain sat squirming in his seat and playing with a water bottle. He finally asked a question of the question, to the effect that are you asking me what Obama’s policy is? This is a tactic I’ve seen Cain use several times, and I think he is trying the create an impression that the questioner is trying to trip him up with a trick question. It also buys him time to answer.
Herman Cain then proceeded to show that he didn’t know what Obama’s position was nor what should have been done instead; however, he did say he didn’t agree with Obama’s policy. Cain resorts to non-answers by saying he doesn’t have full information. Information on a policy matter is often incomplete and/or contradictory.
Cain finished up on Libya by saying he doesn’t know what will happen in the long run. This is a safe answer and is meaningless, because even experts on Libya can’t tell you what is certain to happen in Libya in the long term.
Herman Cain supporters frequently excuse his demonstrated lack of knowledge on issues by saying that if he becomes president he will have advisers to steer him straight. If this is true, not only can we dispense with the entire presidential primary process, but presidential advisers almost invariably differ strongly among themselves on the best policy to follow. A president without a bank of knowledge will not know how best to choose from the varied opinions.
The other very recent Cain matter is the interview Cain’s wife, Gloria, gave to Fox News. What interested me the most was what Gloria had to say about when her husband told her about the impending Politico publication of sexual harassment charges. Although Politico had given the Cain camp ten days advance notice of publication, Gloria said her husband didn’t mention what was coming until the day of publication. Furthermore, she said the only other time Herman mentioned anything about sexual harassment charges was 15 years before, when he told her sexual harassment had been alleged but it was found that there was nothing to it.
Gloria Cain was not able to offer anything which might have raised some doubt about the validity of the charges, except to say that her Herman had never done anything to show disrespect to a woman. This contention, though understandable, is belied by Cain and his campaign operation trying to blacken the character of Sharon Bialek and her female lawyer; calling Bialek a liar and strongly implying that the other three accusers are liars; calling former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, “Princess Nancy;” and crudely responding to a claim that Anita Hill is coming, by saying, “Is she coming to endorse me?”