So, it’s no secret that Herman Cain has experienced a jaw-dropping dip in the polls – and not because of the competition. We’re all familiar with the inexplicable statements and his take on controversial positions … several out of error, misinformation and/or misunderstanding of certain issues that a man running for president maybe ought to know. Political prognosticators are saying that his continuous flubs and gaffes are to blame for his falling from top spots in Republican polls more so than allegations that he sexually harassed and assaulted women in his past.
For a guy presumably wanting the title of Commander-in-Chief, the faux pas’ are serious and damaging enough for some to call into question his readiness for the job. Some of his excuses about being tired, for example, as the reason for delayed thoughts on President Obama’s handling of Libya during a recent interview, just won’t fly. After all, national security calls will very likely come in the middle of the night after very little sleep
But the flubs are just that – flubs. They should not be representative of Herman Cain’s intelligence – or lack of it. Whether caused by fatigue, failing to brush up on issues he’s not firm on or reluctant to give interviews, nothing Cain says should define his past and his brilliance as a highly educated scientist and business man.
Seriously. How many Americans have a bachelor degree in mathematics or a master’s degree in computer science? How many can use their knowledge of applied physics to study and analyze the motion of missiles or projectiles of all types and the conditions that influence motions of weapons on behalf of the United States Navy? That’s not knowledge you can pick up in trade school easily.
Dumb and Cain should not be in the same sentence.
Admittedly, he is guilty of having a limited world view. And, perhaps, he should fraternize enough with people of all faiths to know that American Jews, Sikhs, Muslims, Catholics and Evangelical Christians all want the same thing: to work, raise their families and be good citizens.
Had he been more exposed to diverse friends, he may not have declared that he’d be uncomfortable having a Muslim in his hypothetical future Presidential cabinet.
Had he been exposed to more hard working immigrant Hispanic families that are just like his, he may not have been so quick to pander to the legions of Americans frustrated with the illegal immigration problem in the nation. He wouldn’t have joked about plans to build an electric shock fence on the Mexico-US border.
Had he traveled more and been more widely read in history and foreign policy, he might not have told Christian Broadcast Network’s David Brody that he doesn’t knowing much about other nations including who the president of a fictional “Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan” is or might have known that China already has nuclear weapon capabilities.
All of these flubs and gaffes don’t prove that Herman Cain is dumb as some are claiming. All it reveals is that he may not have a firm grasp on certain topics and doesn’t have the media team or isn’t listening to his team well enough to bone up on areas he is unfamiliar with.
It may be helpful to note that expert campaigner Mitt Romney doesn’t do too many media interviews and will rarely speak impromptu or reply to a random reporter’s question yelled at him on the trail. He’s disciplined.
Granted, that is what makes many people hate the man: being so rehearsed, established, polished, controlled (a.k.a. boring) and robotic. It has kept Romney from getting caught in any gotcha moments, especially given he has a record and reputation of flip flopping. You can’t flip flop if you’re not talking. You can’t contradict yourself any more once you limit your speaking roles to the confines of an organized debate whilst you’ve gone over your talking points and know them like you know the freckles on your face.
But what Romney lacks as a candidate whom many Republicans are willing to embrace is what makes Cain so appealing. He is charming and likeable. Cain’s humility and folksiness, similar traits that have garnered Sarah Palin many fans, have helped elevate him to where he is now.
He is the anti-arrogant intellectual. He has the quintessential bootstrap story. Cain, who once cleaned toilets and flipped burgers at Burger King, is prototypical all-American: anyone can rise to the top with strong work ethic and dedication. You cannot grow up in a household where your dad worked three jobs as a janitor, driver and barber to feed the family and not appreciate the value of hard work.
Black pundits have pontificated that perhaps Cain is ashamed of being Black or of selling out to “the man” especially after he went on CNN and said Blacks are brainwashed against Republicans.
But, he knows his Blackness very well. The man never said he wasn’t Black.
Cain once told a policy review team, “Because I am a Black American, I’ve had to perform better than my White counterparts. This is a personal standard that I’ve set for myself: I’ve got to perform a little better in order to get the same opportunity. I can’t just be as good; I’ve got to be better. It should not be this way, but it is.”
A man who still mentors young Black youth isn’t one people can say hates his people. Several of his critics haven’t volunteered at all for anyone, nor done much for their own people. Yet, they cast plenty of stones.
A man who once sat on a Congressional Economic Growth and Tax Reform Commission and promised that his industry would give welfare recipients jobs, training and a chance to gain economic success isn’t one who doesn’t want other Blacks to succeed and do well.
There are different types of “smart”: intelligent smart, street smarts, book smarts, job-readiness smart, quick-on-feet-thinking smart. Cain is a few of these above, but – certainly – he is anything but dumb.
Those saying otherwise obviously aren’t smart enough to read up on the man and his accomplishments.