It's why some otherwise sober Republicans actually urged former National Security Advisor and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell to run for the GOP presidential nomination in 1996. Never mind that Powell once bashed the GOP's Newt Gingrich-inspired Contract With America as "a little too harsh, a little too unkind." Or that Powell supports gun control and race-based preferences, and is pro-choice on abortion. Powell, of course, later supported Obama for president.
Cain, simply put, was unprepared for the big time.
He gave a mind-numbingly contradictory "answer" on abortion -- wanting it outlawed, but wait, it's really up to the woman. Huh? Cain fretted over whether China might someday get a nuclear bomb -- something the country has had for almost 50 years.
When asked how he would have handled Libya, Cain almost slipped into a coma: "OK, Libya (long pause). President Obama supported the uprising, correct? President Obama called for the removal of Gadhafi? Just want to make sure we're talking about the same thing before I say, 'Yes, I agreed,' or, 'No, I didn't agree.' I do not agree with the way he handled it for the following reason: (pause) Nope, that's a different one. Um ... (long pause) I gotta go back (pause). See, uh (pause), got all this stuff twirling around in my head. Specifically, what are you asking me, did I agree or not disagree with Obama?"
Businesspeople, whether Cain or Donald Trump or H. Ross Perot, tend to look at the Washington, D.C., "dysfunction" and view it as a "problem to be fixed." Trouble is, the debate over whether to raise taxes, how to deal with the debt and deficit, how best to create jobs, whether the government should 'invest" in "green technologies" reflect deep ideological divisions in the country.
It all started out so well, didn't it? The Herminator tells blacks who vote monolithically for the Democrat Party: I am a proud black American -- and a conservative. I believe in limited government, low taxes and do not believe that the country owes anybody anything, no matter one's race or ethnicity. So stand up and leave that Democratic plantation. But when the attacks come, cut and run.
The genial, well-liked Mr. Cain learned that the fight for power can turn hard, dirty and quite nasty. As Yogi Berra might have put it, "If you can't stand the heat, don't blame the kitchen."