One of Cain’s problems also is a benefit: He lacks experience running for public office. That has populist appeal, but the deficit is that he lacks message control that like that of a veteran candidate.
During the most recent debate, for example, Cain held up fairly well under intense criticism from the other candidates of his 9-9-9 plan. But often times, his refrain was more global than specific: You’re wrong. Go read the plan. He seems to have adopted a similar strategy on the abortion question, tweeting earlier today: “I’m 100% pro-life. End of story.”
Well, not really. It wouldn’t be difficult for Cain to articulate the predominant Republican position on abortion: It should be illegal when used as birth control. In cases of rape, incest, or life of the mother (which, as Cain rightly pointed out to the insufferable Piers Morgan, account for a small fraction of all cases), the decision should be left up to families.
That certainly isn’t an unpopular view for a candidate to take. To the contrary, it’s increasingly becoming more popular than many Democrats’ abortion-for-any-and-every-reason ethic. That’s why it’s confounding that Cain would misfire — at least verbally — on this issue, which is a core one for Republican primary voters in Iowa and South Carolina.
Even more, my sense is that Cain is genuinely pro-life, which makes his answer more perplexing. I hope Cain clarifies his position in future interviews. It should be relatively simple to do so.
In praise of Cain, his articulation of homosexual-rights issues on The View a few weeks back was masterful, particularly on the race question.