By Leonard Pitts Jr.

Intellectually, Cain Running On Empty

November 23, 2011 7:59 am Category: Memo Pad 2 Comments A+ / A-

You likely remember the 3 a.m. phone call.

In 2008, the most effective line of attack his opponents mounted against candidate Barack Obama centered on the freshman senator’s lack of experience. An ad for Hillary Clinton famously implied that you did not want this callow naif answering the phone at a moment of pre-dawn crisis.

Though the country eventually decided it did, in fact, want Obama, the argument was valuable in that it forced the electorate to ask itself what kind of experience is necessary to a president. There is a corollary question that becomes more obvious and urgent with each passing day. It involves not quality of experience, but quality of mind.

On Monday, an editorial in the Manchester (N.H.) Union Leader attacked Herman Cain for blowing off an interview with the paper. It seems that after video of Cain stumbling to articulate a position on Libya in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel went viral last week, the candidate instituted a new rule: no video cameras in newspaper interviews.

A spokesman for the Cain campaign said this was because “videos are typically used for television and it’s a newspaper.” But as the editorial noted, videos are used for pretty much everything these days. It suggested Cain’s real problem lay not in the presence of cameras, but in the fact that “newspaper interviews tend to be longer and more in depth” and require answers that go beyond canned sound bites. Cain’s refusal to engage in that sort of rigorous give and take, said the paper, “gives the impression that he’s got something to hide.”

Cain capitulated that same day.

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  • ljorgensen

    Pitts hit the nail squarely. 9-9-9 (German for NO-NO-NO) is definitely not a well thought out plan and Cain’s attempts to discuss its details in a logical sense shows that he is naive in the workings of our complex economy and its relationship with the world economy. Simple may appeal to a lot of people but it won’t get us where we need to go.

  • dawnowens

    Herman Cain is a lobbyist for the tobacco industry via the Restaurant Association, a Martin Luther King wannabe without the compassion, and a black Rush Limbaugh, as evidenced by his rants on an Atlanta radio station for years. His ‘Princess Nancy’ remark was straight out of his radio patter; you could just see him forgetting for a second that he was on stage in a national presidential debate and using a phrase he had used a hundred times before with impunity for a far right listener base.

    This ‘candidate’ is a joke and Rachel Maddow is correct, it’s performance art and he’s trying to pull the biggest con job ever on the American public.

    When are we going to truly vet these people before they go far onto the national stage? When are national news outlets going to call them out on their national and international knowledge and ability to think quickly on their feet?

    Meanwhile, while we’ve been carelessly offered the likes of t’Rump (remember the hype over his possible candidacy?), Palin, Bachmann, and Cain, a true legitimate candidate like Ron Paul is completely ignored by the MSM even when he’s running in second place, and another very interesting and intelligent candidate like Gary Johnson is not only ignored, but kept from the national debate forum by spurious and questionable ‘rules’ whereby you aren’t invited if you don’t make 2% in the polls, but your name is omitted from the poll in the first place…

    What the hell is going on here? Has corporate money completely superceded common sense? Have we learned nothing from 8 years of a puppet moron in the White House?

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