November 11, 2011

Herman Cain

Herman Cain

Cain’s utter lack of knowledge about the threats facing America hasn’t stopped him from bloviating against those threats. In an interview on PBS’s NewsHour last week, he told Judy Woodruff that China has “indicated that they’re trying to develop nuclear capability and they want to develop more aircraft carriers like we have. So yes, we have to consider them a military threat.” China detonated its first nuclear weapon in 1964. It currently has at least 200-300 warheads. I wonder if he knows who the president of “Chi-i-i-na-na” is.

Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that the 30% or so of Republicans who say they plan to vote for Cain have much of a handle on these issues, either. (Well, hopefully they’d at least be able to understand the simple question, “Should abortion be legal?”) So it will take more than repeated displays of ignorance and dimwittedness to unseat Cain from his current frontrunner status, especially considering some of the alternatives. 

Rick Perry isn’t much brighter, and even the anti-intellectual Republican mainstream is noticing. He’s so bad at speaking in complete sentences that his campaign has considered pulling him out of future debates. The Texas governor does much better, his advisors have realized, when he’s freed from the onerous task of thinking on his feet. Much better to have him read a speech or a teleprompter than “attack” Mitt Romney for being “on the side of…against…the Second Amendment before he was for the Second Amendment…was it was…before he was before these social programs, uh, from the standpoint of he was for standing up for Roe v. Wade before he was against Roe, uh, Roe v. Wade….” 

At least Cain and Perry’s supporters haven’t been taken in by Romney. The sad thing is that I was actually cheering Perry on while he was delivering this painful oration because, despite his contorted language, he was right—Romney is the most odious man in the campaign. Transparently amoral, Romney makes the twice-divorced Gingrich look like a paragon of integrity. His pliability on political issues is only slightly more revolting than his condescending tone and slimy smile. If this is the price of a sliver of intelligence, I’ll take Cain or Perry without a second of hesitation.

Such a sorry situation brings to mind a quote from the old French reactionary Joseph de Maistre. “Every nation,” he wrote, “gets the government it deserves.”



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