Herman Cain: “I’m Not Supposed To Know Anything About Foreign Policy”

Herman Cain is not only proud of his foreign policy ignorance, he thinks it actually would make him a better President:

“I’m not supposed to know anything about foreign policy. Just thought I’d throw that out,” he said, a dig at his critics.

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.

So in Herman Cain’s world, being a total ignoramus and doing whatever your advisers tell you is what makes for a great President.  That may well be the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard a Presidential candidate say.

H/T: Bryan Preston

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, National Security, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. BleevK says:

    If that was the case, why didn’t he say that during the interview?

  2. Vast Variety says:

    His campaign appears to be going down faster than my Ex-wife at a sailors convention.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Vast Variety: Or my ex-wife in a crack house.

  4. John Peabody says:

    I think we’ve found the point where a successful businessman does not comprehend the leadership necessary for the position of US Chief Executive.

  5. lou91940 says:

    During the Cuban Missile crisis it is said that most if not nearly all of JFK’s military and political advisors were of the opinion that we should invade Cuba. They didn’t know that the Soviet Russian general in Cuba was on his own volition to use them. JFK and Khrushchev talked it out, we gave some they gave a some and carefully defused a close call.

    The important point here is the JFK did not blindly follow the advice of his Joint Chiefs of Staff.

    Discharged in March that year after an indefinite (6 mo.’s) extension for the pervious Berlin Wall crisis, I was recalled to immediate active duty around the 1st or 2nd of Oct. As a sailor my orders were not to report to the Naval Yard in Philly ( the closest naval base) but rather to some/any national guard or military base as far from any city I could reach in 72 hours…..I don’t think our military held much hope for the City of Brotherly Love.

    Cain’s ignorance is just plain scary and intolerable.

  6. mantis says:

    I’m not supposed to know anything about foreign policy.

    Well then your not supposed to be elected president, either, Hermie. Foreign policy is a big part of the job.

    I wonder if when being considered for the top spot at Godfathers, he told the board, “I’m not supposed to know anything about marketing strategy or manageable growth.” Somehow I doubt it.

  7. legion says:

    @John Peabody: Cain wants – and clearly thinks he deserves – all of the responsibility and perks of being President, but intends to do none of the actual work involved. Indeed, he shows no capability at all of doing anything productive besides put his name on a book (his tenure as Godfathers’ CEO is hardly inspiring). And if that weren’t pathetic enough, it’s a mindset shared by practically the entire GOP field – Cain and Gingrich could be brothers from different mothers.

    For all their railing about the “Entitlement Society”, these people truly exemplify it.

  8. Brian says:

    “I’m not supposed to know anything about foreign policy. ”

    Mission accomplished!

    I’m starting to fall in with the people who feel this is all one long, long, long, joke on all of us, and he’s going to rip off his mask and be Adam Sandler or something. It would make more sense than a.)this guy really believing he is qualified to be President and b.)this guy leading for any amount of time in the polls.

  9. G.A.Phillips says:

    Who has the answer Doug? These libcom commenters? You? Whats the question again? Blah…

    You don’t like Cain, we know…Cause you think he is dumb and because he understands that Islam is a violent, Intolerant, vile political movement of a religion much like Atheism.

    He don’t understand economics, lol….

    Some crazy chicks accused him of God knows what..

    And he is not Oramacare…

    And I think because he did not go to school to understand politics from a book or two and some atheist half or full commie profs.


  10. G.A.Phillips says:

    Oh crap! Did I leave out the love of water boarding and that he is sold Pizza… forgive me….

  11. Rick Almeida says:


    Is your felony conviction for attempted murder of the English language?

  12. Console says:


    don’t forget that he was also for TARP!

    Oh wait, you were being sarcastic.

  13. @G.A.Phillips:

    Why conservatives like you try to make a hero out of an ignorant fool I cannot understand.

  14. David M says:

    A president has much more impact on foreign policy than domestic policy, so this is probably more disqualifying than his 999 plan. At least Congress still has a voice on most domestic issues, and 999 would be DOA. Unfortunately Congress hasn’t had much interest in foreign policy recently, so Cain’s ignorance could be much more damaging.

  15. Kylopod says:

    Where would Cain be now if he had said something like “I’m not supposed to know anything about what other pizza companies are doing”?

  16. @lou91940:

    Your Cuban Missile Crisis anecdote is Exhibit A for my argument that the most important thing a President needs is the judgment and intelligence to question his advisers, overrule them, and tell them when they’re wrong.

  17. Eric says:

    I wonder who told Cain that “You do not need to know anything about foreign policy?” It just seems like an advisor of his just said that to him, and he had his moment where he believes, “you know what, you’re right.”

    I think someone that’s a part of Cain’s campaign team and in their right mind and place should fire his advisors. Cain obviously cannot do it himself.

  18. Tlaloc says:

    Why conservatives like you try to make a hero out of an ignorant fool I cannot understand.

    Conservativism has devolved into a philosophy of celebrating ignorance. In large part this is because the power elite that has always bankrolled american style conservativism wanted their sheep to be idiots and thus easily led (to slaughter if need be). The really interesting thing is the idiocy has taken on a life of it’s own and ramapaged out of control while the original instigators look on in horror like every mad scientist playing with forces they can’t ultimately control.