Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Libya Gaffe: This Was No Boating Accident!

I owe Herman Cain an apology. This “Libya gaffe” thing is just another smear, and sadly, I bought into it. Mea culpa. Here’s what really happened, along with my thinking on what really matters with the candidates.

Issue One: The Libya “Gaffe”
When Cain’s candidacy started taking off, the media smeared him with bogus sexual harassment allegations. Brought as anonymous and non-specific allegations, the MSM obsessively savaged Cain for failing to satisfy some undisclosed moving-target standard to acquit himself. Yet, within only a week, it became clear there was no substance to these allegations. The accusers aren’t credible: a serial complainer and a money-desperate liar. They have ties to David Axelrod, who has a history of this type of smear. The media witch hunt was overplayed. And polls continue to show Cain at or near the top. The scandal is D.O.A.

But just as Cain appeared to be recovering, a new allegation appeared: that he’s stupid. This allegation was based on his supposed “Libya gaffe,” and has again been pushed by the MSM and useful idiots like Byron York at National Review. But this is a smear too.

According to people like York, the Libya gaffe is this: A reporter asked Cain if he agreed with Obama’s policy on Libya. Cain had no idea what that policy was. He eventually mumbles something about Obama opposing Gaddafi, and then has to ask the reporter if what he’s just said is true.

IF this is true, then Cain really isn’t all that bright. Only. . . it’s not true.

Commentarama reader tryanmax sent me a link with the full interview. Here’s the link to the interview (LINK) and here’s a link to tryanmax’s thoughts on the subject (LINK). The interview is a lengthy discussion of many topics. About 20 minutes into the interview, they turn to the question of whether or not Cain would support democracy movements abroad. Cain tells the reporter he would support democracy movements, but he wouldn’t try to create one. Up to this point, Cain has come across as knowledgeable and relaxed.

The reporter then asks whether Cain thought Bush’s foreign policy was effective in this regard or if Cain has “a major critique” of how Bush handled the balance between American interests and democracy movements. Cain thinks about this and says he believes Bush ultimately struck the right balance. Cain repeats that where a democracy movement exists, he would support it, but he “won’t try to talk people into democracy.”

The reporter then says: “so you agreed with President Obama then on Libya or not?” Note first, that this is a strange question and it assumes much that has not been said by Cain or the reporter up to this point. They were talking about Bush’s foreign policy and suddenly the reporter asks this statement-question which assumes what Obama’s policy was and assumes that Cain has just provided an answer consistent with it. I am not saying this is a “gotcha” question, but it is a vague and ambiguous question with an uncertain subject. It is the kind of question a lawyer would object to and make the reporter rephrase.

Cain again thinks for a moment. Then he says:
“President Obama supported the uprising, correct? President Obama called for the removal of Gaddafi. Just want to make sure we’re talking about the same thing before I say ‘yes, I agree’ or ‘no, I don’t’.”
There’s the supposed gaffe. This is what is being portrayed as Cain asking the reporter to help him with the facts. The MSM is saying Cain’s use of the word “correct” means Cain needs the reporter to assure him he guessed right what Obama did in Libya. BUT that’s a blatantly false interpretation. Watch the video and it immediately becomes clear that Cain is neither confused nor is he asking the reporter to confirm the facts. Instead, Cain is asking the reporter to confirm that this was the topic the reporter meant with his odd question. Cain is using the word “correct” as a rhetorical device to make sure they were talking about the same thing. The fact both Cain and the reporter remain calm and continue the interview without any sense a gaffe has occurred confirms this.

There is NO reasonable way you can interpret this video as Cain being unsure what Obama did in Libya or asking the reporter to help him get the facts right. To assert that, as supposedly-reputable conservatives like National Review have done, is to adopt yet another smear, just as they did with the sexual harassment allegations. It is to intentionally pretend there is confusion, where there is none – just as they continue to wrongly claim Cain was confused about the difference between pro-life and pro-choice or as they tried to turn his verbal slip about China’s nuclear capability into evidence of ignorance.

I have also heard claims Cain must be stupid because he took time to consider his answer before responding. That is simply ridiculous. To expect someone to provide rapid-fire soundbites throughout an informal, 20+ minute conversation style interview on a variety of topics, rather than gather their thoughts, is disingenuous at best.
Issue Two: Dissecting Candidate Brains
Finally, I want to explain why I don’t care if Cain makes gaffes or Perry freezes up occasionally or Romney sounds prissy. Those things don’t matter. They are style over substance. What matters is understanding how the candidates think because what is truly critical is understanding how each candidate will approach whatever problems they face on the job. In other words, whether or not they know the capital of Mexico doesn’t matter, but knowing how they would analyze an invasion of Mexico by Venezuela does. Here is what I’ve seen so far (you may see things differently):
Cain: Cain thinks like an executive. He’s hands off when it comes to details and he expects “his people” to carry out his orders. This is similar in style to Ronald Reagan. However, Cain lacks Reagan’s strong knowledge base and fundamental theoretical understanding of conservatism, and he has yet to show solid political instincts. His biggest flaw appears to be an assumption that those around him will work toward the goals he sets.

Gingrich: Gingrich is the smartest man on stage. He is also politically savvy. BUT his history tells me he will often base his decisions on the wrong motives, such as ego or a desire to be loved. This overrides his intelligence and makes him unpredictable.

Paul: Paul is a smart man with deep knowledge and a generally solid decision making process. However, he is prone to erroneous conspiracy theories and is fundamentally wrong on certain issues.

Romney: Romney is afraid of decisions. He avoids them at all cost and immediately backtracks at the first sign of disagreement.

Perry: Perry wants to let others make decisions for him. This means we don’t know who will actually be making decisions.

Bachmann: Bachmann has failed to demonstrate any independent thinking. She follows bandwagons and believes knowledge of trivia is a substitute for analysis.

Santorum: Santorum is a disaster. He only wants to hear people who agree with him and he simply does not understand the issues or people.
Some of these problems I can overlook, others I can’t. But one thing is clear: most of the things the MSM focuses on are irrelevant to understanding these people.

90 comments:

Joel Farnham said...

Andrew,

I don't agree that Gingrich is the smartest man on stage. I think that belongs to Cain. Gingrich does have the most knowledge and the he is very sharp. When he was Speaker of the House, he flubbed time and again. He still doesn't know when to shut up and when to talk.

I think it will come down to Cain and Gingrich with Cain edging out Gingrich by a hair. It is just my opinion.

tryanmax said...

Uh oh, the video is down! (Journal Sentinel's problem) I don't think our little ol' forum could be responsible for that. I wonder who else is catching on?

Patti said...

i saw a msm "news" report this morning that stated the republican base would now ditch cain over this stumble, that it was the final blow to his sinking poll numbers. i actually laughed. nice try, idiots.

Joel Farnham said...

No worries t. It has been downloaded and will get wide play. You can bet on that. Taking it down now only serves the Cain Campaign. I think it is really how many people are actually accessing Journal Sentinel's servers.

Also, I am wondering about the so-called conservatives like Laura Ingraham. Why is she only backing RINO's? Doesn't she know that RINO's are only good for being the defeated candidate?

tryanmax said...

Andrew, Joel, I'm going to agree with you both on Gingrich.

Here is my take: Newt clearly has a solid knowledge base and is able to speak articulately from it. I think that knowledge base is broader than any other candidates, but not necessarily any deeper. (Nor shallower for that matter.) What Newt has going for him is an ability to make a jack-of-all-trades familiarity with many topics seem like Renaissance-man understanding of all things.

On Cain, Andrew said, "His biggest flaw appears to be an assumption that those around him will work toward the goals he sets." And I do agree with that. Surely Cain has some idea that, if elected, he will be undermined at every turn by someone. What he may not realize is how close and friendly those enemies might be.

However, the same thing may have been Reagan's greatest flaw, too. I was but a child during the Reagan years, but I have seen how things unfolded. Reagan was a solid conservative, but many, many establishment types glommed onto him and used his gravity to slingshot themselves into esteem with the conservative base. Esteem they never deserved, let alone earned.

How detrimental will Cain's naïvety prove to be? Hard to say. I think he definitely stands to be used much more than Reagan was in that way. Still, I think a Cain presidency would be a net positive because, unlike the Reagan age, we live in the internet age where there will be far less tolerance for such glomming now than there was then.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, it seems to me like this more or less boils down to candidates who show an interest in learning and being or becoming an active, responsible executive, and those who don't. Romney, Perry, Bachmann, and Santorum fall into the latter category; Cain and (I suppose) Ron Paul into the former. I'm not sure where Gingrich fits in--I guess with Cain and Paul, but it does need to be qualified in light of his past dalliances.

T-Rav said...

Oh, and excellent post tryanmax! You make some very good points.

tryanmax said...

Joel, I am listening to Laura right now, and now she's talking with Marco Rubio and professing her love for Cain after throwing him under the bus yesterday and going all-in for Romney.

Now she's rushing back to her mantra of "Competence, Clarity, and Conservatism" while failing to explain how Romney meets even two out of three of those. Perhaps a more apt mantra for Ms. Establishment would be "Competence, Clarity, and Conformity." Just sayin'.

StanH said...

Rush touched on this yesterday. He played the entire segment where Herman stopped to clarify if they were on the same page, and pointed out that this was another misdirection from the MSM. I like Herman Cain a lot, but he has to got to understand he has stirred up all of statist Washington, right and left, and his best approach is to go Reagan, and speak directly to the American people as much as possible. While I’m making suggestions, he also needs to hit the books, and employ a cadre of foreign policy specialist, as to absorb the statist talking points, so that he can regurgitate with a Hermanized twist.

As a CEO he uses the Henry Ford approach to problems, too paraphrase Ford, “No I don’t know the answer to that question, but give me thirty minutes and I’ll get you an expert who will.”

tryanmax said...

Stan, but the legacy media will have you believe that thirty minutes is too long to wait for an expert. We need a president who can act NOW!

Tehachapi Tom said...

Andrew
Cain-Pres.
Gingrich-VP
We get the best of both worlds.
Your analysis of Cain and his supposed stumbles is spot on.
Smartest man is a tossup.
Captain of the ship goes to the one who can make clear prompt decisions.
First mate has to know the facts so he can provide them to the Captain.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, I can't argue with that. Let me divide them this way -- if you were standing before both and you needed some to solve a technical problem, Gingrich is your man. He's got a strong knowledge base and excellent judgment.

It's only when he has to start making decisions himself that things go awry and that's because he lets himself make decisions based on things like ego and wanting to be loved. But when those are removed and he's simply looking at how to solve a problem, I think he's the best on stage.

In other words, he's a great advisor, but a questionable leader.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I guess they realized they made a mistake in letting people see more than just the editing soundbites. I'll go look around for another link.

AndrewPrice said...

Patti, I think that's the new push by the MSM. They've been trying to make conservatives dump candidate after candidate so they can pretend conservatives don't know what they want and are only having "crushes."

That way they can say "gee look at those stupid conservatives."

The next theme, which started Monday, was "this is getting hopeless, conservatives should just give up and get behind Romney."

StanH said...

Indeed you are correct tryanmax. Being able to regurgitate pre-prepared foreign policy papers on queue, does not make one a foreign policy expert.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, This is the internet and nothing every disappears forever on the internet. If you run across a link let us know.

I think you're right that taking it down will only help Cain because....

1. If they were actual journalists, they would actually be doing a story on how the video has been misinterpreted;

2. Taking down the video only looks like they are trying to hide the truth.

3. All of this only confirms that this was an MSM smear.

On Ingraham and others, keep in mind that most of these people are entertainers only and are not deep thinkers. They do gut reactions and for all their whining about the MSM, they still listen to the MSM and parrot it except with a right-slant rather than doing a real analysis.

And Ingraham has been in the tank for Romney from way back. I remember her complaining about the Christie flirtation because she said Romney was the guy and he was already there.

LawHawkRFD said...

As for Cain, even if what the attack interviewers are trying to say about the Libya moment were true, so what? Which of these geniuses, including the other candidates, can really say that they have or had a quick, easy, and/or apparent solution to what to do with Qaddafi? The "Arab Spring" is a Gordian Knot that I have about six answers for, and each of those answers conflicts with all the others. Somewhere between do nothing and bomb them forward into the Stone Age is the real answer. Anyone know which of those answers is correct? And will it still be correct after the shooting stops?

As for Newt, I guess I'm the contrarian here. He is definitely the smartest candidate of the entire bunch. But "smart" doesn't mean "wise." I think he would be an invaluable asset at policy meetings because he can formulate plans that nobody else can think of. But (and this is the big one), that is not what is needed in a chief executive. The president must look at all the alternatives, then make a firm decision, temporarily at least suspending his own ego. That is Newt's weakest point, and probably also the disqualifier. As somebody once said of him, "he never had an idea he didn't express." Excellent trait in a thought-provoker. Dangerous trait in a leader.

CrispyRice said...

Wow. Thanks for the link and summary and comments, Andrew and tryanmax! I'd like to say I'm shocked at the MSM, but well, how can I be?

I will add one of the reasons I'm firmly behind Cain is that I trust him and his instincts. He thinks like a conservative. And if he does make a gaffe or doesn't know something, I trust that (1) he will educate himself and (2) his instincts and beliefs will align with conservative principles.

I'd really like to say that about Romney and Perry, but I just can't.

CrispyRice said...

PS - is there anywhere to view the whole video right now?

And Joel - I feel the same way about a multitude of our "conservative" commentators. RedState, Malkin and Savage have all been quick to throw Cain under the bus, too. Well, whom do you want then?? Romney? Really? 'Cause he's the slickest guy who is guaranteed not to make any gaffes if that's all you care about. Argh.

tryanmax said...

Video is still down, eh? Then MJS must have actually killed it. Hmmm.

I'm on the hunt for a spare because I hate my blog having holes in it.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I do think Newt has deeper knowledge than the others -- and by "the others" I'm not even bothering with the real idiots on stage... of which there are several.

But as I said in response to Joel, I think Newt's problem isn't a lack of raw of thinking power or lack of knowledge of the facts he would use to make decisions. I think his flaws fall into the "judgment" category. He often makes decisions on the wrong basis.

In other words, think of it this way. If you took each of them to a nice quiet room and asked them to help you come up with a plan to do something, Newt could give you the best plan and the most detailed plan on by far the widest variety of topics. But... if you put them in front of a crowd and ask them to make the same decision, then I think Newt's flaws start to appear because he will want to hear the applause.

I don't think Cain or Paul have that problem.

On Cain, I agree 100%. I think you're right about Reagan too. He was constantly being betrayed by "close" associates. I think Cain has a sense that people in Washington are dishonest, but I suspect he really has no sense yet just how rotten these people can be. As a boss, he always had the power to fire and destroy careers, plus people generally had the same incentives -- if the business grew, then they made money like he did and their careers grew. That kept a lot of potential problem in check. But in Washington, that's reversed. In Washington, may people (even close seeming friends) actually have an incentive to do things to hurt you or the country because it helps them. I suspect he's not prepared for that. Reagan was to a degree because he had come from politics. I don't think Cain is and his shock at how he's being treated is the first sign of that.

Do I think he can overcome that? Most likely. He seems to be a very fast learner. But it is something that I think few people are prepared to understand -- that most of the people around you "in government" actually have incentives to bring about chaos rather than order.

AndrewPrice said...

p.s. Sorry I'm slow responding today, but the day job keeps intruding!

Tennessee Jed said...

Re-fi complete . . . captalism grinds on!!!

A fine post, Andrew and nice job by Tryanmax, as well. Regarding part one, I agree that the establishment (both left and right) fears a guy like Cain. Let's face it, the last real political outsider to win the oval office represented the absolute worst in terms of amateur hour, plus guys like that are unpredictable and threaten the status quo.

That said, I don't really agree that the question that prompted the bruhaha was really all that strange or out of bounds. Cain did make a general statement about his philosophy of democratic nation building in the middle east as policy even if it was in conjunction with the Bush administration. However, I thoroughly agree that media interpretation of Cain's response was excessive, incorrect, and smacks of the obvious. Republican beltway establishment and liberals both are trying their hardest to marginalize him.

Still, Cain does have a tendency to always try and appear forceful and in control. He did blow the abortion interview, and while we would agree policy substance SHOULD trump style, we cannot change reality. Debating style, image, and ability to come off as the smartest guy in the room does matter. If it were just a matter of policy logic, they could call off the elections tomorrow, have B.O. and Biden resign and give Boehner a year to get things started for the future Republican President. But Barry has the incumbancy, and the media so this is not a slam dunk afterall.

Romney the candidate MAY be a bit different than Romney the executive. I haven't seen clips of him as governor. But let's face it, the playbook has always been for the frontrunner to AVOID hard stances at all costs to AVOID the big mistake. "Alienate no one!"(You can see I am working hard here to keep my "Romney is o.k." hat in place because I still suspect he will be the nominee, and I don't want to get to a point where I lose all enthusuasm.)

Newt may be the "Clinton" of the Republicans in that they both have similar motivations. We WILL need someone who can SELL the American voting public that some very unpopular choices MUST be paid in cutting back entitlements.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, That's an interesting way to look at it. I would expect the difference is that the first tier (Cain, Gingrich, Paul) have an understanding of how to be responsible executives. Whether they would always be right is a different question, but they understand what it takes to lead a country.

The others think they are ready, but IMO don't show the skills it will take to pull that off. For example, being afraid of decisions is a disaster for a leader, so is not recognizing the need to hear opposing views or knowing how to make decisions.

But even beyond that, my thinking is that it's important to understand how these people will make decisions so we can judge whether or not we will trust them. When they are faced with a tricky piece of legislation or labor unrest of a foreign invasion... how will they respond. And I think the only way to know that is to figure what basis they will use to make that decision. And that's where I'm coming from with the second part of this article.

LawHawkRFD said...

And while they're jumping on Cain for the Libya answer, I'm waiting for the MSM to jump on The One about his most current gaffe, made while grinning for the cameras in his home state (?) of Hawaii. Says Obama: "One other thing that I want to say about this: When I meet with world leaders, what’s striking — whether it’s in Europe or here in Asia . . ." Asia!?!? Guess they don't teach geography at Columbia and Harvard.

Pittsburgh Enigma said...

Wow. Thanks for this new info. Cain should've bailed out of this interview 10 minutes in. They kept asking him about the sexual harassment, and he kept saying he was through commenting on it. It was obviously hostile from the start. And what purpose was this filmed interview supposed to serve? Is the average voter really going to watch 30 minutes of a, quite frankly, boring interview? (Boring because of the interviewers.) I kept thinking to myself, why is Herman wasting his time here? Who are these nobodies?

Joel Farnham said...

Pittsburgh Enigma,

You make a good point, just who are these guys? The only thought that comes to mind is that Cain refuses to cancel any appointment that was made. He hasn't.

I just hope that in the future, his appointment secretary is politically savvy or has someone supervising that is politically savvy.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I agree about Romney. His policies are Democratic-lite and his history is one of constant flip flops. It's like the love they all have for Christie -- he's never been conservative except in one youtube video and yet they all want to fall all over themselves proclaiming him THE GREAT CONSERVATIVE!

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, Well said! I think it would serve Cain incredibly well to get versed on the establishment nomenclature and talking points so that they run out of things to poke him with.

Although... I think we both know they won't stop. Just as they pretended Reagan was a "stupid, tired old man," despite ALL the evidence to the contrary, they have a meme on Cain and they will use it no matter how hard they need to distort to make that happen.

I am, however, extremely disappointed at people like National Review, who actually saw the video and yet pushed this story hard. They are proving they cannot be trusted.

On your description of Ford, that's the executive way -- if I don't know it, I will find someone who does and use my judgment on their knowledge base. That's the sign of a solid executive. What bothered me about Cain's "gaffe" was that his knowledge base seemed to be so lacking... but that was all a distortion.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, That's the world they've created -- a world of instant gratification and 30 second soundbites. If you can't tell us how to rebuild the world in a minute, then you must be a horrible leader.....

...when the truth is that anyone who claims they CAN tell you how to do that in a minute is a fool.

Joel Farnham said...

LawHawk,

From what I remember of my brother's stay at Hawaii, the conceit is that Hawaiians are descended from the Japanese. There is some proof of that. And Obama is talking to people from home. That gaffe is only a gaffe to howlie. The ones who aren't native to Hawaii. People who don't matter except for the vacation dollars spent there at Hawaii.

AndrewPrice said...

Tom, I agree with that and I'm hearing a lot of people say Cain/Gingrich... we would get the leadership on top and the guy with the great technical skills in the number 2 spot.

Plus, we would get the chance to evaluate Gingrich for the presidency in a future election and would see if he's fixed his judgment issues from the past.

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, that's correct. It takes both knowledge and judgment to be an expert, just repeating what you've been told basically makes you a reader.... like TOTUS.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, That seems to be the consensus on Newt -- he'd be a great analyst, but a poor leader.

On Cain, what troubled me at first wasn't that he didn't have a solid answer, but that (from what was said originally) he didn't even seem to know what Obama did in Libya. That bothered me because it made me wonder how he couldn't even be paying attention to current issues that are splashed all over the news. BUT that turned out to be a false impression generated by the MSM and some conservative useful idiots.

AndrewPrice said...

You're welcome Crispy. When I heard about this last night, I figured this had to be passed on.

I would like to say I'm shocked too, but I'm not. It has become very obvious that the MSM will spin whatever they want to slander conservatives. It just annoys me to no end that some conservatives are knowingly going along with this.

It's one thing to hear the spliced soundbite and think "yeah, he sounds unsure," but to see the whole video and still pretend that this was a gaffe is slander.

As for your take on Cain, I agree with that. I think he has shown he has solid conservative judgment and instincts and I do have a lot of trust that he will get it right even if he isn't up to speed when first asked.

tryanmax said...

UPDATE: Found a copy of the video on YouTube: LINK

It was put up by the MJS, so no idea on how long it will stay good. As a precaution, I've downloaded it, but it's a hefty file and I won't upload until I need to.

AndrewPrice said...

Crispy, The video appears to be back up.

I agree too, this goes way beyond Ingraham to a LOT of conservatives who have been ready to seize on anything to destroy the candidates they don't like so as to make way for their favorite. That's wrong.

A candidate should win the primary, by the only survivor of the primary. And to try to destroy other conservatives to promote your own guy is despicable -- especially since these are the same people who complain regularly about the exact conduct they are engaging in right now.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I just checked the link in the article above and the video appears to be back up. :)

LawHawkRFD said...

Joel: I think that most anthropologists are in agreement that some group, originating long ago in Asia, populated the islands. But even if all the islanders were imported yesterday from Japan, it still doesn't change the geographical location of Hawaii.

BTW: My most recent [real] job was with a company named "Maui Divers Jewelers." Wonderful company and great people, and only one of them ever called me a haole (in jest, I think). Great story: One of my mainland employees was named Leilani (I kid you not). The Hawaiians are very neat and don't like their islands messed up with trash, so they have lots of neat trash cans. One of her mainland friends visited her in Hawaii and decided that the Hawaiian word "mahalo" means "trash can" because all the trash cans she saw had the word "mahalo" on them. Actually, it means "thank you." My proudest day with the company was when I could say "humuhumunukunukapua'a" without stuttering. And without them, I never would have been able to visit Asia. LOL

tryanmax said...

The thing that really struck me about the interview is that there were at least four questioners from what I could tell. That's just weird.

Jed, I don't think the question itself was out-of-bounds either (aside from the vagueness of it). But the way it was piggybacked onto an all-but unrelated question about Bush foreign policy just strikes me as an attempt to get Cain to say something on record he didn't mean.

Cain dodged that trick, but at the expense of a pregnant pause, which most of the media made a bigger deal of than his attempt at clarification. Just goes to show that the media doesn't even know what the story is when they are the ones making it up.

What is out-of-bounds is taking that point of clarification and framing it as though Cain struggling to understand a simple question. The reality is that the question wasn't at all simple or clear.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, Hurray for capitalism! :)

On the question, let me clarify -- I'm NOT saying the question was evil or a gotcha question. I am saying it was (1) a poorly phrased question that (2) changed topics suddenly. As such, Cain correctly took a moment to evaluate the question and then correctly confirmed that this was the subject the reporter had asked about.

Cain could have said this more clearly by saying, "Are you talking about Obama ...." but that doesn't change the fact that all he was doing was making sure they are on the same topic. He was not expressing confusion about Obama's goals.

The controvery on this isn't the reporter saying "ha ha I proved Cain's an idiot," it was the MSM and National Review, who created a gaffe where there wasn't one.

And what bothers me is that if we allow this, then they will simply destroy whoever they don't like until we're only left with the guy they want.

On style versus substance, you are correct -- the election will generally be won or lost on style, not substance. And that explains why our politics are so messed up. No other industry judges people in that regard, except modern actors. But sadly, we can't change the world.

And when it comes to style, Cain has pros (he's very positive) and cons (he's not good at hiding behind style like the rest). I guess we'll see how it all shakes out. But right now, you are probably right that Romney will win the nomination.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, Apparently, Hawaii is in Asia... just like the other 7 "missing states." And they probably speak Austrian too... or Asian.

Obama is perhaps the dumbest man who has ever been president (and his Vice President is unfathomably stupid), yet the MSM not only gives them a pass, it actively touts their intelligence!

WTF?!

tryanmax said...

Crispy, what is really lily-livered of the so-called conservative talkers that just love to trash outsiders is that none of them will actually name the candidate they like best. It's only by process of elimination that one can determine they are generally in for Romney.

But rather than say it, they just keep repeating again and again that "they aren't endorsing anyone." Phooey. At best, they just don't want to be called wrong when somebody other than their pick gets the nod. At worst, they support the candidate that least fulfills the values they claim to espouse. Shameful.

The only one I'd give a pass is Limbaugh because, while his endorsement could make conservative kings in the primaries, the anti-Limbaugh backlash could negate that in the general election. As for the lesser players, they are simply spineless.

AndrewPrice said...

Pitts, You're welcome!

Good questions. I don't know why he did the interview or why he took 30 minutes to do it, unless he just wanted the practice? As for filming it, it seems odd. It makes it seem more like a deposition than an interview. But maybe this was an interview for several organizations and they were filming so they would have something for television? I'm honestly not sure.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, I'm not sure why he did this interview either, but it was probably just one of many standard public relations things candidates do. The Milwaukee Journal probably is influential in the northern mid-west (e.g. Iowa) and so it probably made sense to sit down with them. It was clearly a free ranging interview as it covered lots of topics. And in truth, I don't think this was a bad idea.

I think the problem became that people who were not there put a very dishonest spin on one of his answers -- a spin the reporter didn't even recognize sitting there or he would have dug into Cain's suddenly confession of a lack of knowledge.

In truth, I think this same kind of tactic could be used with almost any interview given by a candidate. That's why I think this was just a smear.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, I can actually see where it isn't a gaffe, especially if he was meeting Asian leaders in the Pacific at the time -- though Hawaii clearly is not "Asian" and thus he is wrong.

Nevertheless, this is the same guy who thinks there are 57 states and thinks the Austrians speak Austrian and a dozen more truly bizarre gaffes.... and the media ignores them all.

So while I would normally cut something like the Hawaii comment slack, I'm not inclined to because I'm constantly being force-fed the lie that Obama is an infallible genius and every other Republican is merely a functional retard.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, My issue with the Hawaii thing is that while I can why he would say that, he is technically wrong -- Hawaii is not in Asia. And I'm a little sick of saying "well, yeah, that's not a bad gaffe" for Democrats while the left cuts Republicans no slack whatsoever. They even invent gaffes when they don't exist ("I can see Alaska from my house.").

They try to sell us Obama as this certified genius and yet the guy is a moron. So from now on, I'm not giving him the benefit of the doubt in anything.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I agree. I actually don't think the reporter was doing anything unusual. I think his question was poorly phrased and maybe he was intentionally trying to get Cain in a "do you still beat your wife" type question or maybe he just wasn't good at framing questions... but either way, the real crime here is the way the MSM took this interview and tried to turn it into something it was not to smear Cain.

On the number of questioners, that's what makes me think this was probably a half hour set aside for a group interview for various newspapers or local television stations.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I give Rush a pass as well because I think there is a genuine purpose to his non-endorsement policy. I think he wants to avoid slamming other conservatives or making people feel that they aren't welcome to listen to his show unless they support his candidate. And he is big on never saying anything bad about fellow conservatives -- a very valuable lesson.

The rest I think do it for the reason you mention -- they don't want to be on the wrong side because their popularity depends on rushing to the front of bandwagon to seem like they are at the forefront of each wave. Rush's doesn't. His popularity comes from giving consistent conservative opinions.

Personally, I am honestly keeping my mind open on all of the candidates, except a couple have already shown me enough that I can't support them. Others are not my preference, but I will not rule them out by any stretch. I think it doesn't serve our readers well if we go into the tank for any particular candidate or candidates. Our goal here is to honestly evaluate each of them -- which means not hiding the bad about ones we like or accentuating the bad about ones we don't. We try to tell it like it is and let people make up their own minds.

AndrewPrice said...

According to the AP...

OH MY GOD! Newt Gingrich received Fannie Mae money!!! This is incredible!


Uh... yeah, we knew that. They talked about that at the last debate idiots. And he already explained it was providing advice, not lobbying. Yawn.

So the slamming of Newt begins.

T-Rav said...

Personally, I don't think Obama actually thought Hawaii was in Asia (our president can't be that stupid--I hope); I think it was just another example of him trying to pander to the rest of the world, showing how international we are and blah-blah-blah. It's no different, to me, than when he blathered about America being a Muslim nation.

Not that I'm defending him, of course. That approach is just as stupid in its own way, and it lets America down. I can't wait for Cain, Gingrich, or if need be someone else to kick this "Option D" out of office.

Koshcat said...

Thank you for the update. I don't really have anything to add that hasn't already been stated better by someone else.

This is starting to get ridiculous. Should we start making bets on what will come out next week? Maybe we can help out.

1. He hired an illegal alien.
2. He once got a DUI.
3. He said a dirty word on camera.
4. He has a typo on his CV.
5. He didn't really have cancer.
6. He wasn't born in this country.
7. He didn't really get an A in Math (it was an A-!)
8. He and Ron Paul are friends.
9. He and Ron Paul hate each other.
10. He was a member of the Nazi's of America.
11. He has a bunion on his left foot.

Whether they are true or not is irrelevant to the MSM, only if they are sensational.

Koshcat said...

By the way, love the Jaws reference.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I also doubt he thought Hawaii was in Asia. My guess is he was referring to "Asian culture" or some such thing as Hawaii is very Japanese.

But that's the difference. All this is is a slip of the tongue or a momentary mental error. These are the kinds of things that should be overlooked unless they begin to show a disturbing pattern that the guy's knowledge base really is messed up.

Yet, the media will write these off or ignore them when Democrats make them (and will ignore real implications like evidence of racist thinking) but will slam any conservative for even the slightest mistake and will try to turn them into character flaws.

I'm sick of letting them get away with that.

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, You're welcome! And well said, "whether they are true is not relevant to the MSM, only that they are sensational." Very, very true. The allegation is enough because people will believe it and his supporters will become demoralized.

Your list is perfect, by the way, because they have tried to dredge up many of those things up conservatives in the past. Plus, I had to laugh about Cain being a member of the Nazis of America -- it's so absurd and yet I could see the MSM running with the story without even verifying it because they it fits their preconceptions.

In terms of betting what will actually come next, I'm betting it will be allegations of academic fraud -- like he plagiarized a term paper or a sworn affidavit from a professor that Cain was an idiot. And there will definitely be allegations of recent drug use.

I'm glad you liked the Jaws reference. That moment in Jaws captured how I felt when I realized the BS that had been passed off on this story.

tryanmax said...

RE: Newt

I think it's funny when the MSM narrative gets ahead of itself. In this case, the narrative is the conservative crushes. But now they've moved to trashing Newt before finishing up on Cain. I'm sure they think no one will notice. But every time they get ahead, they get more out of synch with reality.

At this rate, they'll be talking about Romney's nomination while somebody else is getting the nod.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, That struck me too, that they're getting ahead of themselves by rediscovering this horrific information (which they've already reported four or five times) now. They should wait to be shocked until they've finished Cain first. Otherwise they risk people sticking with Cain and not shifting to Newt.

And then they need to crush Newt before they turn on Romney or people will stick with Newt.

It's like herding sheep, and sadly many conservatives seem to be falling for it.

tryanmax said...

Soon, Texas will be in S. America, Maine will be a part of Europe, Georgia will be African, and what the heck, part of California will be Australian. It's an interesting take on imperialism.

AndrewPrice said...

I'm pretty sure California will break off into the ocean and sink. ;)

T-Rav said...

I really hope Romney gets absolutely creamed in Iowa and South Carolina come January, just to stick it to the "inevitability" talking heads. I'm so sick of this meme, I want to see them all with stunned looks on their faces. (If Romney should somehow lose New Hampshire, I will probably have to put down the computer and whoop for a few seconds. Unless it's Perry he loses to.)

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I find it amazing that everyone seems to be in on that joke... a man with 20% support who is not the runaway favorite in any poll is considered "inevitable." And people say this with a straight face?

This definitely reeks of wishful thinking or trying to make people believe something that isn't true.

Romney has some solid traits and I'm not as down on him as many conservatives are... but inevitability is not one of them.

tryanmax said...

I've been toying with the notion that the ideal GOP candidate is a magic robot.

A robot because it would be gaffe-proof and magic because it would be able to make smears vanish.

***Magic Robot 2012***

tryanmax said...

The part of the joke I don't get is how Romney is supposed to be the best candidate to pit against Obama. ObamaCare is already a huge campaign issue, and Romney has the weakest counter to that.

Also, I heard an interesting factoid today (I have yet to check if it's true) that the conservative base in the GOP is twice as big as the liberal base in the DP. So Democrats are twice as reliant on the "moderate" vote as Republicans. Thus, while a Democrat cannot win without moderate support, a Republican cannot win without support from the base. So if that checks against the numbers, then Romney is a terrible pick.

If true, it also explains the liberal media's fetish for moderates. From their perspective, they really are essential to winning elections. But the same is not true for conservatives, so we should not be as concerned about that segment.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, That's the power of the MSM. They push the Democrats and the Republicans further left than they would be if people got an honest assessment of what is going on.

tryanmax said...

Speaking of the MSM distorting things, there is a story developing online about an occupy protester firing an AK-47 near the White House. Some reports are saying that at least one bullet hit ballistic glass in a window to the Obama's living quarters. This apparently happened on Friday. To the best of my knowledge, this has not been reported on television.

Now, how long do you suppose it would have taken the story to break if it were a Tea Party protest? Minutes? Seconds? Possibly sooner a la Minority Report?

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I haven't heard anything about that, but as you note, that's because this is leftist violence so the public shouldn't be told about it. You're right though, if this had happened even near a Tea Party rally, the FBI would be rounding Tea Party people up and putting them in camps.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Excellent post Andrew!

I'm at the point now where I no longer trust much of anything the "conservative" media puts out.
I haven't trusted the MSM for decades but it's sad that so many on the right are also prooving themselvers untrustworthy.

I've always been a big believer in what Reagan said: "Trust but verify."
Which certainly isn't partisan wisdom.

It just irks me because now I have to do even more verifying.
Not only that but it's a bit disheartening that more than a few conservatives aren't principled (or are ignoramuses)(or both).

At any rate it's good to know Cain didn't make a gaffe here.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Tryanmax: Good point about Reagan!

There was paleocons and neocons in his administration but President Reagan was neither. He was a good old fashioned classical liberal; just plain conservative.

He also did plenty of things they didn't like such as having a pro-life book published before his second election, and "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall." to name but a few.

He wasn't afraid to lead and I don't think Cain would either, although Cain doesn't have the political experience Reagan had so it will be harder to keep the political dogs of war at bay, so to speak and that would be plenty he probably now considers friends or allies.

Hopefully, the Herm also will be good at ferreting out faux experts too. Because, as we have seen numerous times there a brazillion media and self-described experts out there but very few that are interested in truth or that are tempered with wisdom or useful knowledge.

What I mean is, Herm may not always get the best advice from the experts.
While some experts may be superb choices (John Bolton for foreign policy advice) there are many many others that only appear to be or that don't have America's best interests at heart...or Cain's.

So, if Cain does get the nomination I hope that whoever he chooses to be his advisors are, in truth the very best, but I also hope Cain has the wherewithal to know when he isn't getting the best advice.

One question I would like to see asked of all the candidates is: "If your only choices to handling a problem all involve various degrees of bad could you still make one of those choices?

For example, the problem of Pakistan. No matter what a President does concerning Pakistan it will be a major trouble spot.

Some choices are better than others but none of them will fix the problem: Pakistan is too radicalized with fundamental Islam so no amount of money or negotiating is gonna make them friends of liberty.

I could get a lot more in depth with just that one example but the point is, a real leader would do what's best for American interests and our allies.

As opposed to an idiot like Obama who has no clear objectives and even if he did he would still punt on a complicated problem like Pakistan or Iran or Afghanistan, etc., etc.. or do something beyond stupid which isn't mutually exclusive from doing nothing.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, I've reached the same point and it troubles me. There was a point where the conservative media consisted of smart and intelligent people who explained their own beliefs carefully and reported what they knew honestly and with thoughtful analysis.

These days, most of them are self-promoters who give knee-jerk reactions designed to stir people up rather then educate them. Basically, they are trying to upset people so the people listen to them and then buy their books.

That's dishonest.

And I've noticed that many of them have no analytical skills at all, and little knowledge of the things they report about.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, Good question. That would actually "out" several of them as they would claim "I can find you a good solution."

I think Cain's lack of experience is a significant weakness, and it has reared its head already. We should not discount that. But I think his skill set should allow him to overcome that. In that regard, Reagan coming through the political system was a much stronger candidate. But I think both men have displayed similar types of judgment and that gives me a high comfort factor with Cain -- a comfort level I don't have with the most of the other candidates.

tryanmax said...

I killed my cable because the only reason I had it was for Fox News. Now they really are Faux News and I get more than I can handle on the radio.

My biggest beef is that they just report the same AP stories in the same way as everybody else. If the all the other stations are saying Cain made a gaffe, then that is how Faux will report it. Gahhh!

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I soured on Fox a long time ago when I realized they are just repeating the exact same stories as everyone else (often with the same words) and then they just have their anchors toss their opinions on it to appear to be "right wing."

I want an unbiased news source. I really do.

tryanmax said...

I have no desire for a truly unbiased news source. I don't think it is even a possibility. The idea is a flash-in-the-pan of history--a notion forwarded in the age of Pulitzer and Hearst to attract ad dollars--but never truly realized.

What I dislike about Faux News (and others) is their posturing. I honestly don't know where they are coming from most of the time. They regurgitate left-slanted news before trying to slant it right. It would make more sense to just start with right-slanted news, but they don't do that. I can't make sense of it.

I can give credit to networks which admit their bias, even if it is toward the left. I don't have to decipher the slant and can get straight to compensating for it. I'm equally satisfied with an honest right bias because I need that to compare against the other.

I think the closest thing to an unbiased POV is a true conservative POV, because it is in the tank for the truth (to turn a phrase). It doesn't mean individual conservatives are bare of bias, but when a real conservative has a bias, he leads with it.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I don't think it's impossible at all. I think it's a matter of:

1. Recognizing your biases and hiring a mix of people.

2. Making sure you separate news and analysis clearly.

3. Making sure you are absolutely straight with your facts.

What I want is a news source I can trust and I can't trust one that willingly shades its reports to cater to an ideological audience.

tryanmax said...

To me, unbiased media seems possible the way utopia seems possible: only in a perfect world. Maybe I am too steeped in communication theory, but here are the problems I see when dealing with humans attempting to furnish unbiased information:

1. Hiring a mix of people cannot solve bias because one first must attempt to set aside those biases in hiring the mix. It's a chicken and egg conundrum. But there are also other problems which I will touch on later.

2. Separating news and analysis only effectively addresses overt analysis. The covert analysis, that which is applied in order just to capture the news, is impossible to separate.

The mere act of gathering the news requires some analysis be applied in the capture. Every method of capture is selective--even the human eyeball filters information before sending it on to the brain. So whether events are recorded with words, photos, audio or video, someone must decide what words to write, where to point the camera, or when to press play and pause.

The more mediated a message is--the more hands it passes through--the more biases are introduced as words are edited and images cropped. Aligned biases compound; we are familiar with that. But competing biases confuse and obliterate the message. In this way, an open bias is preferable.

3. Attempting to be straight with the facts runs into the many of same problems as separating news from analysis. Both of these issues were supposed to be solved by the 24-hour news cycle. It was supposed to provide ample time to explore all aspects of a story rather than paring it down to a 5-15 min segment. That turned out well.

When I say I am satisfied with overtly biased news sources, I don't mean that I trust their information. Quite the contrary. But what I can trust is that they will bias their news a certain way. If the bias is consistent, I can reliably treat it with an appropriate filter such as a counter-bias from another source.

But when an agency like Faux News claims one bias while displaying signs of another, that creates too many layers to peel back. I haven't the patience considering the work interpreting honestly biased news requires.

tryanmax said...

More simply put, the news is like soft clay passed from person to person. By the time it reaches the audience, it has many fingerprints on it.

I'd rather those who touched it admit to it rather than claim those fingerprints aren't there. Moreso do I rather the prints be owned than claimed to belong to someone else.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I agree with the theory, but I think it's overstated. It reminds me of the idea that we can't prove our own existence. Ok, that's true, but so what? We exist, let's be practical.

In this case, I agree that theoretically it is simply impossible to be unbiased. But I also think humans are capable of coming close enough. And in this case, I think that a combination of (1) a strong professional standard to be as unbiased as possible along with (2) an ethos where being correct is prized above all other goals, and (3) having a variety of different leaning people having a say in the process should eliminate most bias to the point that the news is for all practical purposes "bias free." It's about establishing checks and balances to prevent any single interpretation from being promoted at the expense of objective interpretations.

Would be it 100% perfect? No. But it would be close enough and it would be much better than what we have now where the AP writes a leftist story and then the networks read it with a leftist or rightist slant.

I also think there would be a huge market for the first media outlet that genuinely tries to abandon bias. The problem with existing attempts -- like CNN's, is that CNN had a long history of spouting leftist propaganda, they exclusively use leftist AP stories, they've hired only leftists, and suddenly they claim they're going to be unbiased but without replacing the leftists and without any visible effort to change their intent.

tryanmax said...

Oh, no doubt there will be a huge market for the first bias-free outlet, with room for a second or more. There was the first time for Pulitzer and Hearst.

I'm just going by history. The idea is noble, but the execution quickly breaks down.

AndrewPrice said...

I agree, especially as organizations tend to drift in one direction or another over time. Still, I'd like to see it happen.

... but I know it won't ever.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I agree it's impossible to be 100% objective but it is possible to be biased towards the good and the truth.

For example, the great Ernie Pyle.
He was definitely biased towards the good and the true.

That's a bias I can accept wholeheartedly.

But we can't get there by abandoning key principles and values, but only by us humans individually and collectively growing up, accepting wisdom, being humble, and transcending towards our full potential.

Those without a solid foundation of time-tested values and principles grounded in truth will fail...perpetually.

The evidence for this can be clearly seen throughout history and it's been written about extensely by saints and mystics as well as the great philosophers.

It looks like an insurmountable challenge but it is possible.
It's up to each of us to make that choice.
We will need a lot of faith, strength of character and hope to get there though among other things.

One can't go wrong (or stay wrong) if one never stops striving to know the truth and never gives up.

Once we accept the challenge to know the truth it's very easy to spot the phony journalists and it gets easier to tear apart and expose their bias towards lies and yes, evil.

Because the supression of liberty is evil. Period.

tryanmax said...

Ben,

I think you said a great deal more than you know.

I agree it's impossible to be 100% objective but it is possible to be biased towards the good and the truth.

That's a bias I can accept wholeheartedly.


In the eyes of the World, the truth is a bias, because the World holds opinion, consensus, feelings, etc. on par with the truth. For them, the facts represent just one of several ways to look at things. For Worldly news sources, the closest to non-bias they can imagine is giving the facts equal time with all the various opinions.

But to one who wants only the truth, the rest is a waste of time at best. At worst, mingling the truth with lies dilutes and confuses it and creates more lies.

The truth cannot share equal time with any falsehood. Besides, there is nothing "new" about the truth. It is old, solid, more constant than time itself. The truth is fundamentally out of place among the "news."

tryanmax said...

More Ingraham Angling: this morning she played a short clip of Bachmann misspeaking about something (doesn't matter what) and subsequently forgiving her because of "long days on the campaign trail." Funny, just a few days ago, that was no excuse for Cain.

Remember that line from Fight Club where Tyler Durden asks, "If you could fight anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?" While nothing tops the answer, "Gandhi" I would have to say Laura Ingraham at this moment.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax and Ben, That's one of the problems with modern liberalism, it accepts idea that truth is malleable and that truth can be whatever enough people want it to be.

In fact, they need to accept that because that's the only way their "truth" makes sense -- because what they believe flies in the face of things we all know to be true.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, Two thoughts on Ingraham.

1. She needs to keep her conservative "cred" and what better way to do it than to speak up for a conservative that you know has no chance of being relevant. It's like defending someone after both they and their accuser are dead.

2. Bachmann is the establishment. For all her talk about how the establishment is out to get her, the truth is that she proposes the exact same safe solutions that all the other establishment RINOs and DINOs and the such constantly propose.

3. It would be great cover for Ingraham's Romney crush to push for a Romney/Bachmann ticket.

tryanmax said...

New story on Bloomberg seems to indicate that the Cain Train is not derailed after all.

Maybe the internet is starting to kick in.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, Yeah, I saw that. I think I linked it above somewhere or in the other article.

I think the smear definitely hurt Cain. Has it finished him off? I doubt it. It definitely has helped Gingrich though. But we'll see what happens after Gingrich spends the week being blasted. We might even see Paul become the number 2 choice.

tryanmax said...

Eek! Scary.

AndrewPrice said...

Unlikely though. I think Paul simply doesn't fit with the people who are moving these polls.

Azytoj said...

I loved it when Cain just shook his head and said "999" when that a##hole followed him down the street. I hate those people. When the event is over its time for them do get to the next one. If I did that to some celebrity all the time it would be stalking, but if you got a press name tag you can run after anybody

AndrewPrice said...

Azytoj, I agree. The media has gone from reporters to stalkers and spends their time trying make news rather than report it. It's like the number of reporters who claim they've been roughed up by security people when all it ever turns out to be is they tried to shove their way past a security guy and got pushed back. Or how they hunt down candidate's children and spouses. It's ridiculous, it's shameful, and it leaves me with nothing but contempt for the MSM.

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