Herman Cain Not a Fan of Irving Kristol

Herman Cain admitted on “Meet the Press” Sunday morning that he doesn’t know what neoconservativism is. Here’s the exchange:

CAIN: I’m not sure what you mean by neoconservative. I am a conservative, yes. Neoconservative β€” labels sometimes will put you in a box. I’m very conservative.

GREGORY: But you’re familiar with the neoconservative movement?

CAIN: I’m not familiar with the neoconservative movement. I’m familiar with the conservative movement.

I like Herman Cain the man, but this is a real problem. How does a guy run for President and not know anything about one of the major ideological movements influencing American Foreign policy for the last decade? I think I could have done better than Cain on this question. I’m no expert, but then again I’m not running for President!

Cain’s answer suggests to me that he has been generally unengaged over the last ten years. A knowledge of neoconservativism doesn’t require a degree in political science. Simply reading one news magazine with some amount of regularity over the last ten years would have done the trick. Heck, even watching cable news would have gotten the point across. Bill Kristol and The Weekly Standard guys are regulars on Fox News. How can a person running for the Republican nomination not know what neoconservatism is? Yet Cain acted like he had never heard the term before.

Again, I like Herman Cain, but that bit did not show very well at all.


  • Barbara

    He strikes me as possibly resisting the label. I could be wrong, and he could genuinely mean that he has never heard of it but I’d be willing to bet he’s smarter than that. I have seen a tactic in which folks will who use that kind of statement to reject a label that is unpalatable to them. In my experience, it does seem to be predominant among my African-American friends in particular.

    • Derek

      Why??? Irving Kristol and his son Bill were a couple of the Washington DC think-tank geniuses who convinced W that deposing Saddam Hussein would be a cakewalk and would lead to a revolution of Democracy in the Middle East? Not only that, but they also fostered a “pay to play” relationship between big business and the Republicans. In a nutshell, “neoconservatism” is Big Government Republicanism and crony capitalism (capitalism where government tilts the table for businesses who give them the most cash). These are the two worst things that have happened to the Republican party and have had an enormously corrupting influence.

    • Derek

      I have read them for years – have you? Do you believe in Big Government Conservatism? If you do, I guess you’ll feel at home with neoconservatism. But the neocons have fallen into great disfavor with most conservatives for good reason.

  • Nate

    “I’ll take Kristol over Cain any day of the week.”

    So, are you his new campaign manager? I didn’t realize Kristol was running for president.


    Just because Romney has money doesn’t mean he deserves the nomination. Romney is Bob Dole (1996) and John McCain (2008) all over again.

    Herman Cain is not a politician and can’t or (probably) won’t define neoconservativism, big deal! Romney can’t define his position on anything because it has changed 50 times in order to keep from having to take a stand.

    Herman Cain is the best choice for the Republicans and if other conservatives think Romney is their answer, they are all drinking the Kool-Aid.

  • Thomas More

    Herman Cain, while a good and decent man, has never held a single executive office at any level of government. That alone disqualifies him.

  • Derek

    Many people – particularly independents – deeply distrust career politicians and would love to see someone who understands the abuses and excesses of Washington DC because of how they have impacted him, his employees and shareholders. Herman Cain was a CEO, but don’t mistake him for one of the Wall Street CEOs that have been buying and paying for politicians to secure market advantages and ridiculous tax loopholes – that, he is not. So I’d love to give him a chance and I think a lot of independents would like to as well. I think the country is ready for a Ross Perot type and I think Cain has a lot of those characteristics.
    Plus, he is even better speaker (than Perot) and charismatic person.

    Thomas, you may want an inside-the-Beltway politician (like Romney), but I bet for every person such as yourself, there are 4 others who will line up to vote for the OUT-of-the-Beltway guys.

    • Christiane

      Derek, you may be right but Cain apparently has caused a ripple through the national media to do with a ‘joke’ he told about and electrified twenty-foot tall, barbed-wire topped fence between Mexico and our country.

      He got great laughs from the crowd.

      But he may have lost a lot of support among Hispanic voters with that remark . . . what you may not be aware of is that there has been some (how to say this) ‘distrust’ between the Hispanics and the Blacks in this country.
      We will have to wait and see if Cain’s ‘joke’ fuels that ‘distrust’ . . .

      I wonder what bombshells (or jokes) he will come out with tomorrow.
      At least he knows how to get press coverage. πŸ™‚

      • Derek

        I think it needs to be pointed out that illegal immigrants – and more specifically, the dangerous gangs that engage in human trafficking – are not stupid. If a fence is electrified, they will not use the fence. So I think electrification is a deterrant. You should watch “Border Wars” on National Geographic. The human traffickers think that WE are stupid. We do stupid things, like catch and release. There are no real consequences for most traffickers and so we invite people to cascade over the borders in droves. WE are dumb, because we don’t believe in prosecuting human and drug trafficking, or if we do, we haven’t gotten serious. Electrifying fences is one of many ways that we need to show human traffickers that we are serious. Then maybe they won’t laugh at our pathetic policies. Maybe they will find some other way of making money or engaging in organized criminal behavior on someone else’s turf.

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