If Herman Cain Wants To Be The Nominee…

Conservatives like Herman Cain. I like Herman Cain. His poll numbers are great. His 9-9-9 plan has drawn a lot of attention. He’s now raising money at a great clip. He doesn’t have quite as many staffers as he needs yet, but given the enthusiasm he’s generating and the money he has coming in, he can get there. His inexperience? He’s followed that old business maxim: What you can’t fix, you feature. Since he’s never been elected to office, he talks up his status as a non-politician. It’s working for him.

However, Herman Cain has a problem that’s threatening to sink his candidacy. That problem is that he comes across as not having a deep knowledge of the issues. To a certain extent, that’s understandable. Since Herman Cain hasn’t been in Congress, he’s not going to know as much about certain national issues as people who have been there. Also, he doesn’t have a lot of foreign policy experience.

Here’s the thing: If you want to be President of the United States, you’ve got to have that knowledge. You’ve got to be able to properly explain where you stand on social issues like abortion. You have to be able to discuss your tax plan in depth. You’ve got to be able to tell people what you think about Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, North Korea, Iran. Libya, the Arab Spring, Russia, China, free trade agreements, etc., etc., etc.

At this point, Cain doesn’t appear to be where he needs to be on any of these issues. He’s getting by with it because he’s extremely likable and primary voters are desperate to have a viable alternative to Romney, but make no mistake about it: He should already know all of this stuff by this point in the race.

Cain has got to start doing his due diligence. He needs to be working with his staffers every day on his weak spots because the reality is, if he keeps flubbing underhanded softballs on abortion and hostage trading, at some point, the base is going to decide he’s not up to the job and his numbers are going to plunge.

The good news is he doesn’t seem to be there yet. The bad news is that people have noticed how many mistakes he’s making and he may not be far from hitting a tipping point that could send his campaign into a tailspin. Herman Cain is capable of winning this race, but he’s going to have to up his game if he’s going to pull it off.

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