Cain Freeze (or: Herman’s Black Walnut Brain Slurpee)

November 14th, 2011

Inspired by Herman Cain’s painful policy prescription for Libya.



“We were all going on four hours sleep, so he was tired. When he got the Libya question, it took him a while to get his bearings on it, but he got the answer right.”  — Cain spokesman and national security adviser J. D. Gordon
“I would have got all the information, listened to my advisors’ differing views, and thought about it more carefully than Obama did, since I’m a businessman.” — Herman Cain (paraphrased) in response to question about what Obama did wrong on Libya



What Obama did in Libya couldn’t have been wronger.

Herman’s solution: he’d deliberate longer.


He’s sit and think and think and sit

Until finding the perfect policy fit.


And the more he thought, the better it would get.

He’d come up with the best policy yet!


He’d use special businessman thinking tricks

All our foreign policy problems to fix.


Aren’t you glad we’ve got Herman Cain

The complexities of Middle East policy to explain?


Sorry JD, but Cain didn’t get the answer right,

But if he keeps on thinking, he eventually might.


Here’s video of Cain’s brain freeze.


To me, what was most revealing (and disheartening) about Herman Cain’s brain freeze wasn’t the painful silences, the false starts, the inability to answer a simple question about a major national issue that he has spoken about in the past, the factual uncertainty, or the inartful attempts to stall for time by adjusting his jacket or taking sips of water. What struck me was what Cain finally (and gleefully) latched onto as his exit strategy. I was flabbergasted that he has such a low opinion of the American voter (or at least of the GOP base voter).

The (paraphrased) Cain quote above summarizes the crux of the answer he ultimately gave after hemming and hawing horrendously for over five minutes: I would have got all the info, listened to my advisors, and thought about it more than Obama did.

Anyone who has ever taught high school history (I actually have) and graded essay exams, as well as anyone who’s resorted to the Cain approach on essay exams (I’ve done that too), will immediately recognize Cain’s response as a lame attempt to BS his way out of a question about which he’s completely clueless, while trying much too hard to make it sound like he knows what he’s talking about. Cain’s response was a giant nothingburger.

And does he really believe (and expect his listeners to believe) that Obama did not do the things Cain describes? That Obama is not deliberative or analytical? Does Cain think Obama skipped the information gathering, advisor-listening, and deliberation stages? Does he think Obama spent too little time on those stages? Is Cain’s Libya plan to find out how much time Obama spent on his deliberations, and then double or triple that?

To top it off, as Cain’s going on and on about how deliberative he’d be, he actually seems to be quite pleased with himself. “Whew,” he seems to be saying, “I got off to a rough start with this answer, but I’m hitting the ball out of the park now.”

Not that there’s any chance that this man ever could have been elected president, even before the sexual harassment accusations. But seriously, Republican/Tea Party. Get a grip.

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