In a Wednesday night interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan, Herman Cain was pressed to answer many questions and while he held up to the questioning, he did fumble a bit on the issue of abortion when he seemed to try to have it both ways
Cain confirmed that he believes that life begins at conception and when asked, he also confirmed to Morgan that unlike many of his Republican opponents in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, he opposes abortion under all circumstances, including in cases of rape or incest. But asked if he actually believed that if a female member of his family conceived a child through rape, should be forced to give birth to that child under those same circumstances, Cain figuratively flinched and offered an answer that contradicted the very convictions he professed to just moments earlier.
In his own words;
No, it comes down to is, it’s not the government’s role — or anybody else’s role — to make that decision. Secondly, if you look at the statistical incidents, you’re not talking about that big a number. So what I’m saying is, it ultimately gets down to a choice that that family or that mother has to make. Not me as president. Not some politician. Not a bureaucrat. It gets down to that family. And whatever they decide, they decide. I shouldn’t try to tell them what decision to make for such a sensitive decision.
While the answer sounded commendably libertarian, and admirably evoked conservative, limited government principles, it clearly defied his previous statements about there being no acceptable exception for an abortion to take place.
While I do not for one moment deny the unfathomable difficulty in the conflict that would exist for a victim of rape having to be victimized a second time by the need to confront the abortion issue, we also can’t deny the fact that Herman Cain can’t have it both ways on this issues. Either he opposes abortion on the grounds that life begins at conception and therefore it is the government’s responsible to protect life and overturn Roe v. Wade, or he is a pro-choice advocate who believes that government has no say in the matter and that it is ultimately a woman’s personal decision.
It would seem that what Cain is saying is that his anti-abortion, under all circumstances, right-to-life, position is a personal one that he would not seek to project on to others through government policies. If that is the case, Cain will have a bit a problem with the evangelical community, and religious right which up to now he has been quite popular with, and as always, constitutes an influential voting bloc within the Republican base.
While many continue to badger Mitt Romney over the evolution of his owns views which allowed him to convert to a pro-life position, the ambiguity of Cain’s position on the issue becomes more prescient. And although Cain’s lack of a record because of his never having held office, provides him with significant opportunities for getting a pass on some positions, when it comes to the issues of life and choice, Herman Cain will not, and should not, be given a pass. He will have to clarify his position on this issue sooner or later.
Aside from that one really notable bump in Cain’s performance during the Morgan interview, the G.O.P.’s latest leading contender for the presidential nomination did provide for many very logical, conservative, and truly limited government, constitutional answers.
One of the most refreshing was on the issue of homosexuality.
While Piers Morgan feigned astonishment at Herman Cain’s belief that homosexuality is a choice and not a characteristic someone is born with, Herman Cain defended his belief based upon what he sees as a lack of evidence to convince him otherwise. However, at the same time he made it clear that while his religious beliefs lead him to view homosexuality as a sin, he also believes that the gay lifestyle is a choice which people have the right to make for themselves.
As a gay man, I found myself appreciative of Herman Cain’s willingness to allow for mutual respect of others regardless of their orientation. As a conservative I was proud and happy to see another conservative adopt a truly conservative, non-hypocritical position on the issue which seemingly keeps government out of our bedrooms and adheres to the conservative conviction to the limits of government in both its scope and size. I can easily accept and respect Herman Cain’s religious belief that homosexuality is a sin, so long as he accepts me as a person and does not wish to impose his personal beliefs on me.
During the course of the CNN interview, another response that Cain gave to a Morgan initiated question also appealed to me.
When asked which of his Republican presidential opponents he respects the most, Cain quickly replied Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney. He admitted that while he sees himself as the best choice, he is confident that both Gingrich and Romney would make fine presidents and do a great job. I agree with that assessment. [see that clip through the image link below]
When it came time for Herman to tell Piers which one of his opponents he respected least, Cain laughingly stated that he would rather stay away from that after some persistence by Morgan, Cain admitted that he believe that contrary to Gingricg and Romney, Ron Paul would be a bad President.
Cain stated that Ron Paul’s approach to all our problems is to throw the baby out with the bath water and that he just does not believe that to be the right way to solving our problems. Again, I agree with that assessment too.
All in all, I believe that Herman Cain scored well among Republicans and independents who saw the interview. While he undoubtedly created more questions than answers regarding his position on abortion, when it comes to character, competence, and the desire for a new type of anti-establishment, limited government leader, Cain racked up many points.
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