The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

‘Controversy’ Over: National Right to Life Vouches for Cain’s Pro-Life Bona Fides

Posted on | October 24, 2011 | 27 Comments

We should consider the abortion kerfuffle kicked off by the Piers Morgan interview Wednesday as being decisively ended now:

The National Right to Life Committee is today [Friday] vouching for Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain’s bona fides, saying the businessman who is considered by many to be the current GOP frontrunner is pro-life. …
“Herman Cain’s pro-life,” David O’Steen, executive director of the National Right to Life Committee, told National Review. “He addressed our convention last June. We are quite confident in his pro-life position. When he ran in the primary for senate some years back … he ran as a pro-life candidate then in Georgia. We’ve known of him for a number of years, and he’s always taken a pro-life position.”

Katrina Trinko at National Review notes that Marjorie Dannenfelser of the Susan B. Anthony List remained skeptical as of Friday, but I think most pro-lifers would say if you’re OK with David O’Steen, you’re OK.

Jazz Shaw was kind of obnoxious about this yesterday, suggesting that Cain has a “truth problem.” The actual problem, as I see it, is that Cain wants to seem thoughtful and engaged during interviews like this, and so he responds to questions with something more than talking points, without stopping to think: “Hey, this guy’s trying to push me into a corner and get me in trouble.”

Back in the day when I spent two weeks at war with Charles Johnson, I was giving a sort of a seminar about how to deal with the “gotcha.”

One of the most effective responses to such a situation is to describe your antagonist’s rhetorical technique: “Here’s what you’re trying to do to me, and here is why your argument is both unfair and invalid.” At that point, the subject under discussion ceases to be whatever your accuser wants to talk about, and instead the focus shifts to your accuser’s motive for using unfair and invalid arguments.

In both the Wolf Blitzer interview (the hostage-release question) and the Piers Morgan interview (the what-if-your-granddaughter-got-raped question), Cain got himself tripped up by responding to hyp0theticals. In such a situation, the proper response begins with pointing out that the interviewer has posited a hypothetical.

Is this a “what if” scenario that the candidate is actually likely to confront? Or is the interviewer trying to create a “gotcha” trap?

Ask the interviewer to explain why he’s asking this question — it’s likely to be quite awkward on his part — and watch his response to see if, in answering your question, he provides an opportunity for you to steer the conversation toward a subject where you are confident of scoring points. The hostile interviewer will accuse you of being evasive, of course, but then you point out that he’s trying to use “wedge” issues, to entangle you in a controversy, as if he were enlisted as a campaign volunteer for your opponent.

What’s his angle? If he’s peppering you with a series of “gotcha” questions, make him explain himself. Hold him accountable for his hostility, which should be as evident to any viewer as it is to you.

Remember that political arguments are never really about persuading those who are already actively opposed to you. Rather, you are attempting to accomplish two related purposes:

  1. To persuade the neutral spectator that your antagonist is in the wrong; and
  2. To rally your supporters by conducting yourself as an effective and honorable champion of your common cause.

In such a situation, the point to be proven is not the rightness of your position on some specific issue. Rather, you are trying to demonstrate the truth of the proposition, “Resolved: My antagonist is a fool.”

Who can doubt that I proved that point in regard to Charles Johnson?

* * * * *

What You Can Do
If you agree with the logic of the foregoing argument, why don’t you copy it in an e-mail and send it to your Republican representative, senator, governor or state GOP chairman? You can also e-mail it to your favorite local or national talk radio host. Also, by using the “share” button at the bottom of the post, you can share it via Twitter or post it to Facebook. Thanks in advance for your help in spreading the word.


27 Responses to “‘Controversy’ Over: National Right to Life Vouches for Cain’s Pro-Life Bona Fides”

  1. Bob Belvedere
    October 24th, 2011 @ 8:18 am

    For many conservatives, like myself, the issue was Mr. Cain messing-up once again.  I never doubted his pro-life bona fides.  There’s a naivete in him that is disturbing.

    -After all we’ve come to know since 11 September 2001, HC get’s hookwinked by an organization with direct ties to The Muslim Brotherhood.

    -After having been a radio talk show host, HC let’s two of the most obvious toadies of the Winston Smith Media [thanks Adobe] that he has dealt with and railed against get him to make dumb gaffes.

    -After having been a radio talk show host and an executive responsible for telling the truth to shareholders, he tries to talk his way out of questions when he doesn’t know the answer.  When you’re facing shareholders and they ask you about something you do not know the answer to, you have a legal responsibility to tell them you don’t know the answer because, if you try and bluff your way out of it, that’s grounds for firing.

    I want Mr. Cain to win the Nomination now that Mrs. Palin is out of it and Mr. Santorum has turned into a whiner, but his naivete bothers the heck out of me.

  2. ThePaganTemple
    October 24th, 2011 @ 8:40 am

    I’m more worried about his health than I am this shit. I can’t see him conducting a full scale presidential campaign with all that entails. And I damn sure can’t see him going for a second term. Look at presidents of the past, the way they look after just one term. Now imagine Herman Cain after four years.

    Bachmann-Gingrich ’12.

  3. Paul Zummo
    October 24th, 2011 @ 9:01 am

    Exactly.  The issue isn’t his pro-life credentials, but rather his inability to just answer a question without later having to clarify.  The “he’s not a politician” defense doesn’t fly when we’re talking about issues that any serious candidate should have mulled over by now.

  4. Anonymous
    October 24th, 2011 @ 9:11 am

    On the basis of your continuing devotion to Cain, I’m going long on lipstick futures.

    And on the basis of the efficacy of that continuing devotion, I’m taking a short position in silk purses.

  5. ThePaganTemple
    October 24th, 2011 @ 9:16 am

    The last person I know of who ran a presidential campaign from the front porch of his home, and won, was William McKinley. It’s not a viable strategy for today’s market. Cain will learn that lesson the hard way when the Iowa caucuses are over with, its just a question not if he is capable of learning from the experience, but does he have the stamina to alter his campaign approach.

    THAT’S what people should be worried about, not whether he would be the kind of guy that stands outside abortion clinics flashing pictures of butchered fetuses.

  6. Charles Johnson
    October 24th, 2011 @ 9:42 am

    Don’t push it. Don’t push it or I’ll give you a war you won’t believe.

  7. Joe
    October 24th, 2011 @ 9:59 am

    He needs to get serious and get his shit together.  This will not cut it.  And yes Cain needs to take Stacy’s advice to heart. 

  8. McGehee
    October 24th, 2011 @ 10:07 am

    Not sure I like to see people who share Herman’s beliefs talking his stock down like this. I would state my concerns in the form of “he should” rather than “he won’t.”

    And I’d state them in some way that might actually come to his attention.

  9. Anonymous
    October 24th, 2011 @ 10:13 am

    I’m pretty sure Steve Chapman just wrote what will eventually (before the end of primary season) be Cain’s political epitaph:

    The danger of anyone becoming president without any political experience is not just that he doesn’t know many things, but that he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know. Cain has an additional problem: He doesn’t know what he thinks.

    Not that he is bashful or tentative in expressing his opinions. On the contrary, he is all blunt candor and glib certitude. The problem comes only afterward, when he has to take responsibility for what he said.

  10. Zilla of the Resistance
    October 24th, 2011 @ 11:50 am

    I don’t care if he is a hardcore social issues guy, I don’t care if any of them are – BIG TENT, jackasses!  I want a candidate who will take the threat of islamization seriously and get America off her knees and back on her feet and kicking ass! If all of these distractions continue, I’m just going to go ahead and lobby for Donald Trump to get back in, because his war motto is: kick their asses & take the oil/money, make THEM pay & also, eff China. 

  11. Zilla of the Resistance
    October 24th, 2011 @ 12:05 pm

    That muslim brotherhood thing is the thing that disturbs me most about Herman Cain, otherwise I like him, but he needs to not be so damned gullible and walking into stupid shit that could easily be avoided with a healthy dose of skepticism.  I am also liking Rick Santorum less & less as he increasingly comes across as kind of a dick, especially when he attacks Herman Cain – we already have a petty mean guy in the WH! And I had really liked Rick Santorum!
    Now Donald Trump is looking better because I am anti-jihad more than anything else. Newt looks better because he is not acting like a dick or stepping in the doodoo lately, I can forgive his past sins simply because he’s not screwing up NOW like everybody else is (and he’s not Perry).

  12. steve benton
    October 24th, 2011 @ 12:06 pm

    I think the abortion issue is not an issue. What is an issue are the litmus tests he will set up for Moos-lems in order to serve in his cabinet. I understand where you’re coming from, Herman, but I don’t think the media mob will. The foreign policy answers have me saying pass on this guy.

  13. steve benton
    October 24th, 2011 @ 12:20 pm

    Hey Charles,
    Hows that Obama pipe smoking going for ya? I noticed Obama bent over the other day, and all I could see were your ears hanging out of his a**.

  14. Anonymous
    October 24th, 2011 @ 12:35 pm

    Supporting Trump is an interesting alternative to Conservatives for Cthulhu.

  15. Anonymous
    October 24th, 2011 @ 12:37 pm

    Asking the “what if it was your daughter or wife question” while a hypothetical is also a question of law, or perhaps a future law HC purports to support.

  16. Christy Waters
    October 24th, 2011 @ 1:10 pm

    While the social issues aren’t unimportant to me, I resent that the social conservatives have such tunnel vision that they can’t see the forest for the trees. Our country is on economic life support, and unless we do something to turn it around, America as we know it will no longer exist. The last time I checked, the term “pro-life” wasn’t a part of the Chinese vernacular.

    My sole focus in this election is the economy, and in spite of his recent slip-ups, I still think Herman Cain is the one who’s most suited to navigate us out of this morass. Being that the other candidates are professional politicians, I don’t trust their loyalties regarding special interests or their ability to actually get anything accomplished in the DC political environment that they would so easily meld themselves to.

    We need to get this economy repaired immediately, or we’re done.

  17. Zilla of the Resistance
    October 24th, 2011 @ 2:01 pm

    I’ve been a Republican all of my life, even as a child, and I am disgusted with the entire GOP. Bunch of backbiting hand wringing ninnies, all!  Jackasses in elephant costumes.

  18. Zilla of the Resistance
    October 24th, 2011 @ 2:05 pm

    Excellent point; of course that POV would also work for Trump should he jump back in, AND as a bonus, he isn’t fooled by the Muslim Brotherhood/CAIR taqiyya and says quite plainly the truth about China screwing us over.  Just sayin’. If we fall to the mohamadeen conquest, the economy won’t matter none either,  dhimmie slaves don’t have such concerns.

  19. Tennwriter
    October 24th, 2011 @ 2:20 pm

    I resent the efforts of fiscons to get real conservatives to shut up about the whole field of problems we face, and focus with tunnel vision on only one issue.

    It does little good to slow the debt without also closing the border, and it won’t help much if we have a good financial posture and a tight border, but are under Sharia law, and if we make the Nazi’s look like pikers when it comes to murdering the innocent, what profit to us?

    Finally, the financial problem are more moral than mathematical.  The math is relatively simple; the gumption (a moral factor) is what is missing.

    The finances are a symptom, not the cause.

    And given your last sentence, don’t you think its time you adressed fiscons to tell them to stop sowing division.

  20. Adjoran
    October 24th, 2011 @ 2:39 pm

    The problem isn’t Cain’s core beliefs – on life issues he has a long record without blemish before butchering this interview – it is rather, as Bob Belvedere points out above, his troubling tendency towards unforced errors in unscripted interviews, which often seem to come from his either trying to BS his way through a subject he isn’t familiar with, or going beyond a straight answer to elaboration which is unnecessary and undisciplined.

    Intelligence may be having the answers, but wisdom is knowing when to stop giving them.

    You cannot beat Obama like that.  Media will turn the campaign into “Cain’s Gaffe o’ the Day” and you won’t hear much about unemployment or recession.

    Does Obama screw up more?  Sure, virtually every time he gets away from a script or a teleprompter.  But despite Hot Air’s chronicling his Obamateurisms, they don’t get the kind of play in the media the slightest GOP mistake does.  It’s not fair, but it IS a fact.

  21. Christy Waters
    October 24th, 2011 @ 4:59 pm

    I agree that we face a whole field of problems that need to be addressed, but when people are faced with losing their homes and not being able to put food on the table because there are no jobs to be had, they’re less likely to care about the social issues. Ultimately, people vote their finances. When folks are working again and can pay their bills, they’ll be more likely to give an ear to the other things that need to be addressed.

    I also agree with your position on the border. I would like to see it sealed up tight, and I resent that the value of my American citizenship has been reduced to merely a pocket to be picked, and given to any warm carcass that can drag their ass across. Additionally, Hezbollah has already set up shop on the Mexican side of the border, but what good does that knowledge do us if we’re too broke to defend ourselves. Our sorry economic condition IS a nat’l security issue.

    Like I said, the social issues are not unimportant to me, but I’m not willing to risk the survival of my country just because someone isn’t as pro-life as I’d prefer them to be. Especially since I know that Herman Cain is solidly pro-life. Besides, it’s all moot if President SCOAMF is re-elected. If that happens, bend over because we’re ALL about to be screwed even deeper than we already have been.

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    October 24th, 2011 @ 5:52 pm

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  23. Tennwriter
    October 24th, 2011 @ 11:57 pm

    Again, financial problems are primarily moral problems.  Also, no, people don’t ultimately vote their pocketbooks only.  That is the Rational Economic Man, and he explains only a bit of humanity.  Lefties are always saying the Right fools normal folk into voting against their economic interests (generally a lie, btw) by appealing to social issues.  Well, lets start appealing.

    And the border is a key to the sorry economic situation.  See, all these things are intertwined.  If you’re going to actually solve them, you can’t simply attack the money.

    If you’re not willing to risk the survival of the country, then A. You already lost. There is no safe route to the future, especially not from where we are at.  B. Abortion is a risk to the nation.  Money is simply money.  Being the kind of people that would do THAT is like putting on the One Ring for good reasons, except no, even worse.  And offending Almighty is a bad idea if you’re interested in national security.  And there is at least one more reason, that we need those brains not juiced, but working for us.

    If it is so very important, then Cain can reassure those who need reassurance.

    And no, its not all over if Obama gets re-elected.  Fact is, it might be needful for the Ruling Class to get the message.

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