"David, wake up." That same methodical baritone crashed against my ears. "We have to take on the most important mission to date." One of my eyes crept open. "What now Herman. I'm trying to sleep!" Herman Cain glared at me, his patience clearly leaving him. "A real man would say that a sissy likes to sleep in. A real man would wake up." I rolled my eyes, "Fine. I'm up. What is it?" Herman Cain took a deep breath and stared up into the heavens before looking back at me. "I understand you know something of foreign policy. You must teach me all you know."
"But Herman, I'm no expert."
"Nevertheless David. I am requesting your help. Let us get started immediately."
A few minutes later, we plopped down on opposite sides of a round wooden table. I had created an impromptu syllabus of potential foreign policy issues that Herman Cain must learn if he didn't want to look foolish during the presidential campaign. I started with Uzbekistan.
"Herman, who is the president of Uzbekistan?"
"Who is the president of You-beki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan? You know, I don't know. Do you know?"
"Yes, Herman. It's Islam Karimov. I've told you that ten times. Please pay attention."
"How is that going to create one job?"
"What? You asked me to help you learn about foreign policy issues."
Cain looked at me indignantly, "Knowing who is the head of some of these small insignificant states around the world, I don't think that is something that is critical to focusing on national security and getting this economy going. When I get ready to go visit that country, I'll know who it is. But until then, I want to focus on the big issues that we need to solve."
I became aggravated, but resigned to adhere to Cain's wishes. "Fine. That's such a stupid plan, but whatever. Let's just move on to China."
"Herman, do you view China as a potential military threat to the United States?"
"I do view China as a potential military threat to the United States." We sat in silence for nearly 45 seconds.
"Um, Herman. You have to give more than just repeating the question. Why do you view them as a threat?"
"My China strategy is simply outgrow China. It gets back to economics."
"No, Herman, let's stay on China and the military." Herman Cain nodded knowingly and restarted his train of thought.
"We already have superiority in terms of our military capability. And I plan to get away from making cutting our defense a priority. And make investing in our military capability a priority."
"Herman, please stay focused. That doesn't explain why China is a military threat."
"Yes, they're a military threat. They've indicated that they're trying to develop nuclear capabilities. And they're going to develop more aircraft carriers like we have."
"What the hell are you talking about? China's had a nuclear bomb for fifty fucking years, Herman! You need to focus or you're going down in flames. Let's take five."
I rushed out of the room to call my new love interest, the Argentine Jewish boxer, Carolina Raquel Duer. After spending five minutes yelling about what a moron I was working with, Carolina calmly said, "Well, you're only working with such a moron because you never listen to me, you putz! If you listened to me, you'd be working with one of the smarter candidates." I said she was right and we hung up. I reluctantly returned to the study room and that circular wooden table.
"Now Herman. We've talked a lot about the intricacies of our relationship with Pakistan. What course should U.S. policy take with regards to Pakistan?" Herman Cain looked down and took a large gulp as if suppressing an urge to frantically mutter, 'Oh, shit!' He slowly gained his composure. This was par for the course every time I asked Herman Cain a question.
"We don't know. Because Pakistan- it's not clear- because Pakistan was where Osama bin Laden was found and eliminated. Secondly, Pakistan has had a conversation with President Karzai from Afghanistan. And President Karzai has said if the United States gets into a dispute with Pakistan, then Afghanistan's gonna side with Pakistan."
I threw my pen down on the table. "What does that have to do with a clear plan on Pakistan? It's like you're just pulling out random facts that you remember from my lecture and spewing them at me in an illogical cacophony of soundbites."
Cain raised both hands, "There is a lot of clarity missing. Like you say, in this whole region, and they're all interrelated. So there isn't a clear answer as to whether or not Pakistan is a friend or foe."
I slammed my clenched fist on the table, "There's no clarity missing! There is a clear answer, Herman! You're just not paying attention when I talk."
We moved on to torture. I figured this would be easy. Just say you're against torture and we could move on. I asked Herman Cain if he is against torture. He gave his 'Oh shit!' routine before beginning, "I do not agree with torture period! However..." At that point I slapped the presidential candidate across the face. "No! Don't say, 'However.' Just, 'I'm against torture.' That's it. End of discussion."
I decided it best to move onto Libya. It would be a challenge. It was hard to argue with President Obama's actions in Libya from a Republican's perspective. "Herman, what is your opinion on Libya?" Herman Cain appeared to have been hit in the stomach by Carolina Raquel Duer as the question reached his ears. In a pained state, he asked the heavens for an answer. "Ok. Libya." His mind searched for any thing relevant to say.
"President. Obama. Supported. The uprising. Correct?"
"Herman, don't ask me! If a reporter asks you this question, are you going to ask him if you're correct? You'd look like a fucking idiot! Focus, Herman, focus. Do you agree with Obama's policy of removing Gaddafi?"
"I do not agree with the way he handled it for the following reasons. Um. No, that's a different one." Gravity slammed my jaw against the table. Cain adjusted in his chair and then continued, "I gotta go back. See. Uh." He was blinking profusely. "I've got all this stuff twirling around in my head."
"I know it's a lot for one day. Let's just focus on Libya, Herman. You can do this."
"Specifically, what are you asking me?"
"About Libya. Do you agree with Obama's action there? I can't dumb it down any more than that."
"Here's what I would have, I would have done a better job of determining who the opposition is. And I'm sure our intelligence people had that information."
I remained speechless for several seconds. I decided to walk around the room in an effort to gather my thoughts. Then the light bulb popped out of my head. "Listen, Herman. Do you want to be president?" He shook his head yes.
"Then you have an awful lot to learn. You can't pull this bullshit and have any chance in hell of being president. If you make even one of these mistakes in public, your campaign is done and people will remember you as a complete fucking dumb-ass for decades to come. The stakes are too high for your candidacy and your reputation." I took a sip of Diet Caffeine-Free Coke and continued.
"Why didn't you learn about this shit before you decided to run? You don't even have an elementary idea of what you're talking about. The ten year old boys Jerry Sandusky was raping in the shower had more foreign policy knowledge than you have. You need to suspend your campaign and spend an indefinite amount of time cramming. You have years and years of catching up to do."
Herman Cain grabbed his cell phone and ordered three Godfather's pizzas. Ten minutes later, the pizzas arrived. They were piled high with veggie toppings. Herman Cain shoveled them all into his face without concern for chewing. The slices of pizza were moistened by a constant stream of tears running down his cheeks and plunging into the pie.