Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The slow self-destruction of Herman Cain: Embarrassing himself on Libya, supporting public sector collective bargaining

Lest we forget, Rick Perry doesn't have a monopoly on brain farting (or abject ignorance) among the Republican presidential candidates. Herman Cain in particular can't seem to open his mouth without discharging some mindless stupidity. For example, in a meeting yesterday with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, he completely botched a question about Libya:

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, in the midst of a Midwestern campaign swing, stumbled badly Monday when attempting to answer a question about whether he agreed or disagreed with President Barack Obama's approach to handling the Libyan crisis.

Meeting with Journal Sentinel reporters and editors before fundraising appearances in Milwaukee and Green Bay, Cain was discussing foreign policy in general when he was asked specifically about Obama's handling of Libya.

Cain paused for some time, then wanted to clarify that Obama had supported the uprising. Clearly struggling to articulate a response, Cain paused again, saying "got all of this stuff twirling around in my head."

Finally, Cain said: "I would have done a better job of determining who the opposition is. And I'm sure that our intelligence people had some of that information. Based upon who made up that opposition... might have caused me to make some different decisions about how we participated. Secondly, no I did not agree with (Moammar) Gadhafi killing his citizens. Absolutely not... I would have supported many of the things that they did to help stop that."

Actually, it was worse than that. Here, as reported by Politico, is how he started his "answer" (emphasis added): 

OK, Libya. President Obama supported the uprising, correct? President Obama called for the removal of Qadhafi. 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?

And this guy supposedly wants to be president? I wouldn't even let him be my latex salesman. He can't even formulate an answer to a question about one of the most significant issues of the year. (Because he probably hasn't ever thought about it enough to formulate an intelligent response. He just wanted to slam Obama somehow.) And when he finally got something out, it had to do with "assessing the situation differently."

He's such an idiot that no one outside of his narrow sliver of hardcore supporters appears to be taking him seriously. He's become a laughingstock (and a sexual harasser, which is no laughing matter, even if he's trying to laugh it off), more and more of one the longer he remains in the public eye, and even the media can't hide their laughter. (And yet he's still polling well among Republicans, which tells you a lot about the state of the GOP and particularly about the state of the Republican presidential field.)

And it wasn't just Libya:

Cain also appeared to be unclear on the issue of collective bargaining as it involves federal employees.

Asked if he thought federal employees should have the ability to bargain collectively, Cain said: "They already have it, don't they?"

Told they didn't, he said, "They have unions."

The American Federation of Government Employees, which represents 600,000 federal government workers in 65 agencies, says that most federal employees don't have collective bargaining over pay and benefits. They do have collective bargaining rights over working conditions.


Cain's comments came after he was asked his reaction to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker stripping most collective bargaining rights from public unions. Cain said he believes public employees should be allowed to bargain collectively on wages and benefits. 

Apparently he doesn't even have the ability to regurgitate Republican talking points. And expressing this position won't exactly help him with GOP voters.

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