The Washington Post

President Herman ‘Oops’ Cain (R-Land of Make-Believe)

Let’s get real, people. Herman Cain didn’t have his “own ‘oops’ moment,”as The Post headline today says. The flagging Republican front-runner didn’t have a brain freeze or a “Cain freeze,” as “Morning Joe” cleverly called it. There actually must be something there to freeze for that to happen.

When Gov. Rick Perry (R-Tex.) said “oops” at the GOP debate in Michigan last week, it was because he couldn’t remember one of the policy pillars of his own stump speech. When Cain said, “Okay, Libya,” after being asked if he “agreed with President Obama on Libya or not,” he searched the heavens and shifted in his seat like a student with no answer to a question anyone with half a brain — let alone a wanna-be commander in chief — should have seen coming.

“Got all of this stuff twirling around in my head,” he said. Right.

Watching that painful bit of video took me back to former Alaska governor Sarah Palin’s interviews in 2008. The Republican vice presidential nominee also struggled with questions about the Bush Doctrine and about her foreign policy experience.Yet, unlike Cain, who has never held elective office, Palin was a governor who knew how to bluff, duck and weave her way in a political context. That’s what politicians do. Her answers were totally unsatisfying and her lack of knowledge and policy depth made the prospect of her being a heart beat away from the presidency terrifying. But leave it to Cain’s shallowness to make Palin’s look like the deep end of a pool.

Cain’s “Okay, Libya” moment is but more evidence that the former chief of Godfather’s Pizza should come nowhere near the presidency, assuming that’s what he’s really trying to do. In a piece for the Nation, Ari Melber listed the four signs that Cain isn’t really running for president. They include the lack of time he’s spent in Iowa; the lack of time he’s spent anywhere else vital to securing the nomination; the fact that he’s still on his book tour, and the fact that he continues to give paid speeches. “Everyone knows it takes chutzpah to run for president,” Melber writes, “but as Herman Cain is proving, it also takes chutzpah to pretend to run for president.” If he were running for president of the Land of Make-Believe, Cain would win in a land-slide.

Jonathan Capehart is a member of the Post editorial board and writes about politics and social issues for the PostPartisan blog.


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