I can’t tell if he’s joking or not, which is a recurring theme lately in some of his pronouncements about foreign policy. He was joking, I think, when he said he’d offered to make Kissinger secretary of state again. He wasn’t joking, I thought, when he answered a question about whether his grasp of foreign policy is too slight with “9-9-9,” although the Standard’s John McCormack theorized last night on Twitter that maybe he was actually saying, “Nein, nein, nein,” in which case he was joking. The fact that we’ve reached the point where no answer is too goofy to be instantly ruled out as non-serious seems … problematic.
Cain brought up the GOP debate on foreign policy two days earlier.
“That’s a tough subject. You don’t want to get your facts mixed up,” he said.
He defended his view that presidents and presidential candidates don’t need to be immersed in the fine print of world affairs – they simply need to be leaders who can surround themselves with the right people and sift through their advice.
“I’m not supposed to know anything about foreign policy. Just thought I’d throw that out,” he said, a dig at his critics.
“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! That’s not good decision-making,” said Cain.
Is he being sarcastic in his use of the word “supposed,” as if to say, “If you listen to my critics, they’ll have you believe that I don’t know anything about foreign policy, but of course they’re wrong”? Or is he honestly saying it’s okay for a would-be C-in-C not to know much because, after all, he’ll have plenty of advisors and generals to steer him once he’s elected? Gingrich, for one, appears to think it’s the latter, telling Laura Ingraham this morning in response to what Cain said that “I think it’s fairly important in a dangerous world to have a president who knows something about foreign policy.” (Important, but not disqualifying: As of yesterday, Newt was still open to a Cain/Gingrich or Gingrich/Cain ticket.) Evidently there’s no video to help us judge, so in lieu of that, via the Right Scoop, here he is elsewhere today reiterating that he might not know everything but he does know how to surround himself with smart, capable people. And below that, via RCP, a harmless yet irresistible clip of Cain wondering how to say “delicious” in “Cuban.” I’m pretty sure it’s the same as in “Mexican.”