Herman Cain Painfully Clueless on Libya

Herman Cain more or less admits that he has no idea what he would have done about the Libyan Revolution and no idea whether his criticisms of Obama on the conduct of the Libya War are well grounded or not.

Cain keeps saying he’d have others do an assessment for him, but our experience with W. made us suspicious of a candidate who promises he’ll surround himself with knowledgeable people.

It turns out that if you are ignorant on a wide range of important subjects, you can’t actually tell when you’re being given bad advice or who the better experts are.

There is no substitution for an individual’s knowledge and discernment.

8 Responses

  1. Am i the only one that finds it funny when he starts moving around thinking about what he is going to say? I swear all politicians are the same and all they care about is going to power!

  2. Yes, sure, Cain does not look here. However, what he lacks is polish, not knowledge! As a GOP interventionist, her needs to blame Obama for something while basically agreeing with him on all the important issues.

    Resolving such a dilemma is a routine task for a super-demagogue like Gingrich, but Cain visibly struggles to sell his views to the audience. This is the issue of political technology, not knowledge or political will.

    Given power, Cain is likely to find experts who will do everything necessary to justify wars and serial regime changes in the Middle East. He is not like Sarah Palin who is really clueless on everything except self-promotion.

  3. Cain is completely ignorant of the Middle East. He had nver even heard of ‘the right of return’ which refers to UNSC Res 194. link to youtube.com

    The man is as ignorant as Bush. It seems that being ignorant, uninformed, not well read are the consistent hallmarks of Republican presidents and presidential candidates. It is doubtful that either Reagan or Bush ever read a book in their adult life. It is possible that Bush’s distaste for reading was compounded by dyslexia which runs in his family.

  4. Interesting ramifications on the notion of what constitutes “education.”

    Having the background to smell out competence is nice to have, as long as you’re within that arena and have maintained some currency in it. What I see/feel more often is how it can lead to a false sense of confidence or security, unless the person is exceptionally self-aware.

    Its better, even when you know something, to be able to come at it with the mind of a beginner. Taking that to extreme you end up with decision-making that is tone deaf, or has a Spock-like lack of context or sensibility.

    What’s needed is to find a balance between critically drawing on the knowledge of others and your own experience, leading to an ability to put/keep things in balance/context.

    As a case, its hard to accept the above performance by Cain. But great executives are usually good at finding a balance, which I have observed to be based on an exceptional sense of humility in their knowledge as well as an appreciation for the world’s complexity.

  5. Asking Mr. Cain the kind of serious questions that one would ask an actual candidate for president is like asking Max Bialystock (of “The Producers”) a serious question about the score for his musical. I don’t see anything in the early phases of his campaign that contradict the idea that he was modeling himself on Sarah Palin – get free publicity through one’s candidacy, sell books, collect speaking fees, and maybe get a show on Fox News.

    Like Bialystock and Bloom facing their investors once their show became an accidental hit, Cain becoming a leading candidate means having to answer actual questions about policy and was likely never part of the plan.

    There’s always a trap when earnest people have to interact with disingenuous people. Trying to earnestly critique Mr. Cain’s “answers” seems pointless.

    At best, it seems that Mr. Cain is going through the motions so as to avoid damaging his brand and thus reducing future sales/fees. But either as a candidate or as a “money-making political brand” I don’t see that he gains anything doing this newspaper panel Q&A, which just seems like incompetence from his manager/campaign staff.

  6. “It turns out that if you are ignorant on a wide range of important subjects, you can’t actually tell when you’re being given bad advice or who the better experts are.”

    This dovetails frighteningly with Daniel Kahneman’s notion of “the illusion of skill”. For example, fund managers over time achieve results no better than random, yet they present themselves as (and are all too often believed to be) highly skilled.

  7. Watching the video of Cain’s interview is painful. Simply painful.

    With all due respect to Cain, he is a dolt, proud of his ignorance and sadly lacking the requisite intelligence to compete for the presidency. What’s amazing is that he’s still in this race and that there remains a fairly large chunk of the conservative base which thinks he’d make a good president. Maybe I’m missing something but when did we elevate stupidity – as in “uz bek-a-bek-abecky-becky-stan” – to a qualification for higher office? I guess he’ll be with us as long as he keeps maintaining the same (wrong) mantras that appeal to the red meat core of the party’s conservative wing. By comparison, even Rick Perry would be an improvement (OMG, did I just write that?)

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