I have been arguing for some time that Herman Cain is no friend of gun owners.
At this Saturday’s Thanksgiving Family Forum, Cain made some comments on the nature of government authority and individual rights which, I believe, cement my arguments about his stance on gun rights.
Frank Luntz asks Cain to clarify his bizarre Tenth Amendment stance. Watch Cain stumble through his definition of the word “wrong” (these videos are pre-set to play at the correct time):
So, a federal mandate to overturn segregation was acceptable because segregation was “wrong” (and I agree, it absolutely was). But a federal mandate to remove barriers to gun ownership doesn’t meet Cain’s “wrongness” test?
Now watch Cain explain his definition of equal treatment:
Cain believes that an acceptable use of federal authority is to ensure “the common good” and to “level the playing field” and promote “fairness and respect” (these terms make me cringe, as they are collectivist buzzwords, but that’s beside the point). However, equal treatment of individual rights apparently doesn’t include equal treatment of a person’s right of self-defense, in Cain’s opinion.
Now watch Cain describe the justification for using force:
He believes that a person has a right to use force in self-defense, which is terrific, but since (in Cain’s opinion) a state may deny the individual the tools to engage in lawful self-defense, the right is rendered meaningless.
There are two possible ways to interpret Cain’s conflicting messages:
1) Cain doesn’t really understand the legal and political issues involved in gun ownership, and so he falls back on “states’ rights” rhetoric; or,
2) Cain is lukewarm (at best) on private gun ownership.
This certainly wouldn’t be the first time Cain has tried to use two diametrically-opposed sets of rhetoric (and failed miserably at it). He did so with his comments on abortion– trying to use both the “life begins at conception” and the “woman’s choice” talking points.
However, Cain’s stance on abortion was already well-known and crystal clear. He made the “woman’s choice” remark once, and it was clearly a case of him trying to use incompatible rhetoric.
On gun rights, however, it hasn’t been “just once”. He’s used the “states’ rights” rhetoric multiple times, and he continues to stick to it.
Now watch this video: Cain is directly asked about his “states’ rights” argument and gun rights:
Question: “Do you support states’ rights to regulate firearms?”
Cain: “That’s a loaded question.”
Excuse me? It’s a “loaded question” to ask for a definite yes-or-no?
So, let’s review:
Herman Cain doesn’t support National Right-To-Carry.
Herman Cain doesn’t support “federal mandates” to ensure gun rights, because state gun laws are not “wrong”.
Herman Cain supports allowing states to make whatever gun laws they choose.
Herman Cain uses tough rhetoric on gun ownership and self-defense, but resists answering detailed questions on gun ownership (reference the video above, the Wolf Blitzer interview, the New Hampshire question, etc.)
Herman Cain has been using the totally incorrect “states’ rights” rhetoric for at least eight months now, and has had numerous opportunities to clarify his position on gun rights- but has not availed himself of any of these opportunities.
Ladies and Gentlemen, given these facts, it’s time to put this one to bed: Herman Cain does not support your right to keep and bear arms in any meaningful way. He clearly enjoys his own right to do so (as he said in New Hampshire, “I have six (guns)… and that ain’t enough”), and for those who provide his protection. But not yours or mine. In this regard, he’s no better than Mitt Romney.