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Post Partisan
Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 10/24/2011

Herman Cain doesn’t know what he’s talking about


During the first of the post-Labor Day debates, the one at the Reagan Library on Sept. 7, I was Tweeting up a storm. The 140-character-max missives weren’t terribly serious, mostly stuff about what the participants were wearing, truth be told. But when then-second-tier candidate Herman Cain kept going on about privatizing Social Security using “the Chilean model,” I wrote, “Cain is that uncle at the bbq who’s always trying to convince you he knows what he’s talking about. #chilemodel.”

Nearly two months later and now at the top of the polls, Cain still doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

The former Godfather’s Pizza chief bludgeoned us for weeks with his faulty “9-9-9” plan. After intense scrutiny revealed that it had more holes than a colander, Cain amended it on Friday to  “9-0-9,” an unsatisfactory “improvement” for the poor, who would still have a higher tax liability.

Cain tripped all over his abortion stance last week. He’s fervently pro-life, even in cases of rape or incest. But when asked what about for the life of the mother by David Gregory on “Meet The Press” last Sunday, Cain said, “If it’s the life of the mother, that family’s going to have to make that decision.” Then in an interview with Piers Morgan last Wednesday, he said, “[U]ltimately gets down to a choice that that family or that mother has to make, not me as president, not some politician, not a bureaucrat. It gets down to that family.”

That sounds pretty pro-CHOICE to me — and to a lot of conservatives. So, Cain sat down with the Walter Cronkite of conservative television — David Brody, the chief political correspondent for CBN News — on Saturday in Iowa to clarify and blame-shift.

The lesson that I’m learning is that I’ve got to be careful being pigeon-holed because people can take a piece of tape and edit out the first half and only pull out one snippet that could start a firestorm. The tape that you’re referring to I said specifically, “I am pro-life from conception no abortions no exceptions.” But they only focused on a later part of it where I was, they were trying to pigeon hole me with a specific situation. And, so, the lesson learned is “beware of being pigeon-holed” because you know they can take it and pull it out of context.

There was nothing taken out of context. No matter how many times he tries to rhyme his way out of his self-dug rhetorical hole — “I am pro-life from conception no abortions no exceptions” — there’s no getting around the fact that Cain was stone-cold busted on talking out of both sides of his mouth on perhaps the premier litmus-test issue for conservative Republicans. Oh, and in that interview he said he would sign a Constitutional amendment outlawing abortions. As Ben Smith at Politico correctly notes, a presidential signature is not needed.

Ever since that interview with Piers Morgan, Cain has been trying to blame his predicament on attempts to pigeon hole him or take things out of context. He was at it again this morning on Fox. But on Friday, Martha MacCallum of Fox zeroed in the problem for the novice politician and presidential candidate by pointing out there are plenty of elected officials out there who are pro-life but who believe that families should make such sensitive decisions.

As you will see in the clip, Cain tried over and over again to convince MacCallum that he knew what he was talking about. But the more he talked the more it became painfully apparent that he didn’t — and why that matters.

By  |  12:00 PM ET, 10/24/2011

 
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