Herman Cain should stick to making pizzas.

In an interview on Monday with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Herman Cain responded to a question about whether he agreed with President Obama's handing of the Libya situation in a way that can only be described as amateurish.  To fully appreciate what I mean, you need to watch this YouTube video: Herman Cain on Libya.

As I watched Mr. Cain searching his mind for a response, I couldn't help but think about all the times I asked my strategy and leadership students questions about material they were supposed to have studied and saw that same blank stare.  When it happened, I knew that the student didn't have a clue. 

On the first day of class each semester, I would lay down the law for my students.  Rule #1 was that they must come to class prepared to discuss the assigned material.  My modus operandi was to initiate discussion by calling on students randomly and asking them to tell the class about something specific that they had been told to read and/or watch.  If they couldn't respond or if they responded as Cain did, I told them about Rule #2: you are given one free pass.  "If it happens again," I said, "you're in serious trouble."  They got the message, and my classes were exciting and enlightening for me and my students. 

Cain's response to the Libya question was as bad as anything I witnessed during my 25 years of college teaching.  The most troubling thing about his response, or his lack of response, is that he's been running for president for a very long time, and the Libya situation is still on the front burner.  How can a serious candidate for the highest office in the land not have an answer for a simple question like that?  If the interviewer had asked him an off-the-wall question, I would have understood Cain's searching gaze, but Libya and the entire North Africa and Middle East regions are in turmoil.  They have been front and center news since before the Arab Spring began, and the Libya situation is still far from settled. 

Judging by Cain's inability to answer a question that any serious contender for the presidency should be able to answer, I think the sexual harrassment charges being lodged against him may be the least of his worries.  Herman Cain must be intellectually lazy and/or he is a dilettante.  In either case, he shouldn't be President of the United States. 

Herman Cain should stick to making pizzas.

Neil Snyder is a chaired professor emeritus at the University of Virginia.  His blog, SnyderTalk.com, is posted daily.  His latest book is titled If You Voted for Obama in 2008 to Prove You're Not a Racist, You Need to Vote for Someone Else in 2012 to Prove You're Not an Idiot.

Neil Snyder