During an interview this weekend with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, presidential hopeful Herman Cain was asked whether he agreed with President Obama's handling of the uprising in Libya. Cain fumbled the question badly, pausing, leaning back in his chair, and repeating the question before finally managing to splutter the following garbled answer:
"President Obama called for the removal of Gaddafi. Just want to make sure we're talking about the same thing before I say, 'yes I agree' or 'no I didn't agree.' I do not agree with the way he handled it for the following reason –-. nope, that's a different one. I gotta go back to, see...got all this stuff twirling around in my head. Specifically, what are you asking me, did I agree or not disagree with Obama on?"
Clearly, Cain was unable to recall what happened in Libya. He also made it perfectly plain that while he didn't recall the specifics and couldn't recall what his own position was, he knew only that he wanted that position to be opposite from the one Obama had taken.
Taking a slightly different tack, his interviewer then asked what he would have done in that situation had he been in the White House. Cain's answer was eerily reminiscent of the kind of non-answer Sarah Palin gives whenever she is questioned about foreign policy (or about which newspaper she reads):
"Some people say as president you're supposed to know everything. No, you don't. I believe in having all the information, as much of it as I possibly can, rather than making a decision or statement about whether I totally agree or disagree when I wasn't privy to the situation."
What Cain doesn't seem to realize is that even with advisors around him, a president cannot make an informed decision without having at least a rudimentary understanding of the situation at hand. When the clip of this interview went viral and people began poking fun at Cain's inability to give a coherent answer, Cain's campaign spokesman, J.D. Gordon, tried to excuse his lapse in knowledge by attributing it to being tired.
“He was on about four hours of sleep after flying from Atlanta to Wisconsin. He just took a moment to get his bearings. He just had to take a moment to articulate his ideas. He didn't say anything wrong. He didn't say anything inconsistent with his beliefs. It may be how the video was edited.”
I don't for one moment believe the excuse that Cain was 'tired' or that editors were somehow able to edit in that ridiculous answer and the embarrassing pauses. The fact is that Cain previously admitted his lack of knowledge on foreign policy; worse yet, he indicated that he has no real desire to understand it. In an interview on October 9 with David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network, he stated the following:
CAIN: I’m ready for the ‘gotcha’ questions and they’re already starting to come. And when they ask me who is the president of Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan I’m going to say, you know, I don’t know. Do you know?
Last month Cain seemed proud of his ignorance of foreign policy. Why is he now making excuses for that same lack of knowledge? And is it truly ignorance, or is this lack of understanding a harbinger of something far more serious, like Alzheimer's? After all, he does claim to be unable to remember the women who have accused him of sexual harassment. Most of us would remember people who made such claims against us - whether true or false.
Regardless of the reason for Cain's inability to answer questions about foreign policy, however, he is clearly out of his league and unsuited for the office of the presidency. Surely the GOP must have more respect for the U.S.A. than to support a candidate like Cain.