Bafflegab watch: What does Herman Cain want?

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2011

O’Donnell brings the thunder: Lawrence O’Donnell loves the thunder.

Often, of course, the thunder is wrong. Remember the way he swore, for months, that Pawlenty would be the GOP candidate? It was an ironclad promise!

Last night, O’Donnell brought the thunder about a key question: What does Herman Cain want?

For our money, Cain’s now-famous “9-9-9” plan must be the silliest budget plan ever proposed by a major candidate. But we were struck by the way O’Donnell thundered last night ahead of established facts.

MSNBC is going through one those stretches where it can’t seem to get its transcripts posted. (It has always been a weirdly unprofessional outfit.) We aren’t going to transcribe everything O’Donnell said about Cain’s plan—though if you want to watch the segment in question, you can just click here.

The thunder starts quickly. That said:

Making a long clap of thunder short, O’Donnell announced that Cain’s now-famous budget plan includes the stated intention to abolish Social Security and Medicare. No one has said so till now, O’Donnell said, because Cain’s opponents haven’t bothered to read his plan.

How does O’Donnell know what Cain wants? From one page of Cain’s web site, he read these words on the air:
CAIN WEB SITE: For the generations or workers who have paid into Social Security and Medicare, the federal government’s inevitable failure to pay them as they retire is undeniably stealing. These are generations who have worked and sacrificed to leave this country a better place for their children and grand children as they retire. The current behavior of an out of control federal government does little to ease their minds.

The federal government has imposed expensive and often counter-productive social and welfare programs on the states and the people. It is time to admit the mistakes, and get the federal government out of the way. This will allow states, cities, churches, charities and businesses to offer a helping hand instead of a handout where they live. People closest to the problems are the best ones to solve the problems effectively.
To read Cain’s full presentation, click here, then click on “Entitlements.”

Does that passage mean that Cain has proposed ending Social Security and Medicare? In fairness, that’s a good question. It certainly sounds like Cain is proposing something like that. But Cain is a very amateurish candidate. Thundering loudly, O’Donnell went well beyond what he knows, based on two paragraphs of boilerplate bafflegab.

Has Cain proposed ending those programs? More specifically, what will he say when he’s asked? Here at THE HOWLER, we have no idea. But Cain is a master at saying X, then insisting that he has never said any such thing on this earth.

Does Cain propose ending Social Security? We look forward to hearing his answer, which may be very murky. As for O’Donnell, he did two segments with Cain last week—and he didn’t ask.

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