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article imageOp-Ed: Herman Cain flubs keep piling up, and his opponents just love it

By JohnThomas Didymus     Oct 24, 2011 in Politics
Herman Cain gaffes have become the subject of much discussion in the last few days, with viral videos which seem almost certain to hurt his prospects. His rise to the top of GOP poll may only be short-lived with increased scrutiny on his misstatements.
Unfortunately, he continues delivering his howlers with unmatched generosity to the delight of his opponents, and he may already have given the impression he is not the right material for President of the United States.
Many commentators are already predicting the former Godfather's Pizza CEO fall from grace. Fox News Senior political analyst Brit Hume, thinks the "honeymoon may soon be over." Herman Cain, according to Hume, has made a series of avoidable gaffes, even in core social issues of concern to conservatives he is struggling to woo. Hume says,
“I think serious damage has been done. For all of the disaffection for professional politicians that we see in this cycle and to some extent in the congressional election, in the end, particularly when you are running for President, it is not an advantage to be without long experience. And Herman Cain’s lack of experience is leading to these stumbles and missteps and misstatements...The abortion blunder was inexplicable. It doesn’t walk it back when you say it ought to be the person’s choice but it is also illegal. I’m sorry — that doesn’t help. I suspect Herman Cain may have peaked and may begin to decline.”
We include here a sample of Herman Cain howlers:
According to The Week, Herman Cain's most famous immigration howler came when he said the U.S. should set up an electric fence on the Mexican border to kill immigrants trying to cross. Herman Cain claimed later he was only joking. What a joke for a presidential runner to make! But as if that hadn't done enough damage already, Mr. Herman Cain repeated his statement once again, after a meeting with Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio. He said in response to inquiries, " might be electrified."
Herman Cain's foreign policy gaffes are legendary and his opponents say they are sufficient to raise questions about his qualification for office of president of a major world power. His lack of experience in foreign policy, his opponents say, is glaring. Once, when Chris Wallace asked him about the Palestinian "right of return" on Fox News Sunday, Cain was momentarily at sea on the issue, repeating blankly to himself,"Right of return? Right of return?"(what the ...does that mean?). Then he said quickly and blithely, "Yes, they should have a right to come back if that is a decision that Israel wants to make." Everyone knows the Israeli government is dead against it. Jay Bookman of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution came down hard on Cain over this blunder:
"I’m sorry. You forfeit any claim as a legitimate candidate if you do not even know what the term 'right of return' means. As with the Afghanistan issue, it reflects not merely a lack of knowledge, but even worse, a basic lack of interest and respect for the high office that he seeks and for the voters who support him."
In an interview with Think Progress at the opening of his Iowa Campaign headquarters, Cain was asked about U.S. relations with Taiwan and what his foreign policy orientation to Taiwan would be, specifically whether he thought the U.S. should officially recognize the democratically elected government of Taiwan. Cain, according to Think Progress, showing visible confusion said , "I think we already recognize their democratically-elected government." (The United States stopped recognizing Taiwan in 1979 to avoid complicating relations with China.) And when pressed further on whether he would send a U.S. ambassador to Taiwan, Cain said evasively: "President Cain [pause] will get back to you."
One of Cain's biggest political howlers came when he said he would free every Guantanamo Bay detainee to save a single American soldier. He is quoted as saying to CNN Wolf Blitzer, "I could see myself authorizing that kind of transfer." Cain, who seems to have gotten used to retracting his statements, later said, "If I said that I spoke in error. Maybe I did not understand the questions."
A gaffe, which probably influenced his poor showing at the Ames straw poll, was his proudly expressed position on Muslims in his administration. Cain, according to The Week, pronounced he would not appoint Muslims as federal judges or allow them take positions in his administration. Cain would compel Muslims — Muslims alone — to take an oath of loyalty to the U.S. Cain lectures critics who fail to see the wisdom in his pronouncement, "That's not discrimination. It's called trying to protect the American people. This nation is under attack constantly by people who want to kill us, so I'm going to take extra precautions."
According to his critics, one of the most enigmatic statements Cain ever made comes from attempts at making contribution in the field of New Testament theology. In Herman Cain's theological system, Jesus was the "perfect conservative" because "He helped the poor without one government program. He healed the sick without government health care system. He fed the hungry without food stamps...[Jesus was] unemployed, [yet] he never collected an unemployment check."
Many of Cain's critics say his 9-9-9 tax plan is a study in Cain's economic policy naivete. There are claims that he got inspiration from his default tax plan from SimCity 4, a 2003 computer game. Cain's plan prescribes a flat 9% corporate, income and national sales tax.
Cain's opponents love to remind us of a statement he once made which confused the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. quotes him:
"We don’t need to rewrite the Constitution of the United States. We need to reread the Constitution and enforce the Constitution...And I know that there’s some people that are not going to do that. So, for the benefit for those that are not going to read it because they don’t want us to go by the Constitution, there’s a little section in there that talks about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.You know, those ideals that we live by, we believe in, your parents believe in, they instilled in you. When you get to the part about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, don’t stop right there, keep reading. ’Cause that’s when it says that when any form of government becomes destructive of those ideals, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it. We’ve got some altering and some abolishing to do."
According to constitutional history scholar and University of Pennsylvania Professor Richard R. Beeman, speaking to, Cain's statement about "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," and his reference to a part of the Constitution which speaks of "right of the people to alter or abolish" [government] not living up to the ideals of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" is not in the U.S. Constitution but "in the second [and third paragraphs respectively] of the Declaration of Independence, which was written in 1776, 11 years before the Constitution was drafted during the Constitutional Convention of 1787."
Jonathan Tubin writing on Commentary Magazine, sums up the impression of Herman Cain many critics and close watchers of his campaign now have of him:
"Herman Cain is an engaging figure whose unflappability and upbeat temperament has shown him to good advantage in all of the debates up until this week when his inability to defend his 9-9-9 tax plan was exposed. But the abortion gaffe, like his foreign policy misnomers, also exposes him as perhaps the least knowledgeable or thoughtful candidate for president in recent memory. As such, he’s not merely a poor choice for the presidency, but must be reckoned unqualified for high office of any kind."
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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