Here's the Deal. Herman Cain Seldom Knows What He's Talking About and Isn't All That Conservative (Updated)
There. I said it. Here's some evidence to back it up.
On the issue of collective bargaining, Cain said he supported the right of public employees to bargain collectively.
"But not collective hijacking. What I mean by that, if they have gotten so much for so many years and it's going to bankrupt the state, I don't think that's good. It appears that in some instances, they really don't care."
Asked about last week's vote in Ohio, in which the state's new collective bargaining law was rejected by voters, Cain said that "maybe they tried to get too much and as a result it failed."
Asked if the Ohio Legislature had gone too far in stripping collective bargaining rights for public employees, including fire and police personnel, Cain said that Ohio legislators "may have tried to get too much in one bill."
Ohio's collective bargaining law differed from Wisconsin in at least one key aspect: Wisconsin exempted police and fire personnel from the law.
In an interview with the Journal Sentinel last month, Cain said that he was "right in the corner of Gov. Scott Walker 100%" in Walker's battle with public employee unions.
Cain also appeared to be unclear on the issue of collective bargaining as it involves federal employees. Asked if he thought federal employees should have the ability to bargain collectively, Cain said: "They already have it, don't they?"
Told they didn't, he said, "They have unions."
The American Federation of Government Employees, which represents 600,000 federal government workers in 65 agencies, says that most federal employees don't have collective bargaining over pay and benefits.
They do have collective bargaining rights over working conditions.
Cain also said that government worker unions should have collective bargaining power as long as it doesn't create an undue burden on the taxpayers. That's only what the entire, very loud and very visible, union battles in Wisconsin in Ohio and elsewhere have been about. It's about that plus how the unions use Democrats and Democrats use unions to keep campaign money flowing from the taxpayers to the unions to the Democratic Party, so they can keep handing everything over that unions want. That's how they're bankrupting states while bargaining themselves into lavish benefits packages that most in the private sector can only dream of.
In Saturday's debate on foreign policy, Cain couldn't get a coherent answer out except to say that he would rely on advisers. That's fine up to a point, but what if your advisers don't agree? If you don't fill the room with robots and yes-men and women, that's a problem. POTUS is supposed to be the decider. I half expected him to answer whether he would let Iran have nukes in German -- "Nein, nein, nein" -- just to work his catchphrase into the debate. He punted to Gingrich in the one-on-one debate, didn't know what the "right of return" was and doesn't seem to understand that the right to bear arms isn't a state issue. It's in the Constitution. And then there's the abortion answer, which still doesn't make any sense.
In the interview linked above, he also dithers around on Libya, saying he had "All of this stuff twirling around in my head." And that's the beginning of the problems with his answer on Libya.
His 9-9-9 plan opens up a new stream for the federal government to confiscate your money -- a national sales tax. He said he would release terrorists from Gitmo to get one American returned, until the blowback told him that that was the wrong answer. You can almost imagine him in the conference room saying "Was that wrong? When I said I would let all those hard core terrorists out of Gitmo, and signaled how al Qaeda could get Khalid Sheikh Mohammed out of jail if they want him? Should I not have said that?"
When I met Cain in Austin, TX a few months ago I wanted him to do well. I would love to see all the GOP candidates do well and show that they're more than just debate figureheads, that they're actually conservatives and capable of leading when the cameras aren't around. But I've come to the conclusion, reluctantly, that Herman Cain just isn't that well informed and isn't that quick a study. His instincts aren't that conservative and he has trouble getting beyond platitudes to the meat of most issues. He's a fairly typical big corporate guy, actually, a bit surer of himself and his ability to talk his way around issues than he should be.
Update: Is Cain's campaign capable of coming up with a convincing explanation for his Libya and public union whiffs? Um, nein. Nein. Nein.