Here via my colleague Ali Gharib is a great interview of a David Brody softball interview asking Herman Cain if he’s ready to answer factual questions about world affairs. Given that Cain is not, in fact, prepared to answer them, he does a different job of dismissing the need to know the name of the head of state “of some of these small insignificant countries around the world” including “Ubeki-beki-beki-stan-stan.”
So, okay, Herman Cain’s not going to be president. Who cares? But it drives me nuts that the guy can get taken seriously by some conservative activists and voters without him taking the process seriously at all. The president of Uzbekistan is Islam Karimov. Maybe Cain doesn’t know. Fine. It’s a trivia question. But say, I dunno, something about American foreign policy in Central Asia. Try to demonstrate some command of the issues. But Cain is transparently running for talk radio host or something. If it wouldn’t make a good subject for a 10-minute drive time segment, he doesn’t want to talk about it.
The contrast with someone like Al Franken is, to me, telling. A comedian running for Senate naturally faces some voter skepticism even if, like Franken, he’s been politically engaged and active for years. So Franken clearly went out of his way during and after his campaign to show that he’s well-briefed and well-versed in the issues. He had a higher bar to cross than your average candidate, so he did the work to clear it. Cain, trying to leap from ex-CEO of third-rate pizza chain to president of the United States, doesn’t think he needs to do anything.