Writes Peggy Noonan:
The reporter asked him if he agreed, in retrospect, with President Obama's decisions on Libya. Mr. Cain said, "OK, Libya." Ten seconds of now famous silence ensued. Then: "I do not agree with the way he handled it for the following reasons." Another pause, and then: "Um, no, that's a different one."But you do, Noonan says. For a GOP candidate to display comfort and even pride in how little he knows plays into the hands of Democrats, who love to argue that Republicans are "not really for anything, they just hate government." Why else would you "blithely dismiss the baseline requirements of a public office, as Mr. Cain does"?
He was saying: That's a different soundbite.
Later, with an almost beautiful defiance, Mr. Cain told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "I'm not supposed to know anything about foreign policy." That's what staffers are for. "I want to talk to commanders on the ground. Because you run for president [people say] you need to have the answer. No you don't! No you don't!"
The charge that Republicans just hate government carries other implications—that they're stupid, that they're haters by nature, that they're cynical and merely strategic, that they enjoy having phantom foes around whom to coalesce, like cavemen warming themselves around a fire.Cavemen? Where did that come from? That seems unfair to cavemen (who were, I assume, very connected to reality and focused on doing what works). Anyway, you see the point. Republicans may favor limited government, but that requires competence too and they're going to lose the election if they don't realize that before it's too late.