Two weeks ago, I wrote an article that asked whether we really knew who Herman Cain was. The focus of that article was Cain’s confusing answers on the abortion issue. It also pointed out that it’s not just the question of abortion that Cain has given ambiguous answers to in various media interviews. In many ways, Cain has been a walking, talking contradiction for months now, far from the concise conservative that some in the media have made him out to be.
Due to recent developments, the question is no longer do we know who Herman Cain is, it’s do we trust him.
The revelation that Cain has had sexual harassment complaints filed against him while heading the National Restaurant Association is damaging. Like on any other time Cain has been criticized, his natural reaction was to try and discredit the source instead of addressing the claim.
Cain is handling the sexual harassment story just like he handled his gaffes on matters of foreign policy, TARP, and abortion. His answers are always changing, which only makes one wonder if we can really trust Herman Cain. However, unlike Cain’s issue weaknesses, the reaction to sexual harassment complaints regarding Cain is even more troubling. To make sense of it all, I’ve tried to break down Herman Cain’s horrible week on the campaign trail.
Is Herman Cain a Liar? Yes.
There have been countless news articles about the Cain sexual harassment story, yet none of them have stated the obvious – Herman Cain is a liar. As is the case with most people who try to lie their way out of a problem, it’s difficult to keep one’s story straight. Politico has produced a video showing how Cain’s story changed throughout Monday morning. What the video doesn’t show is that his campaign completely denied the story at first. Cain or his campaign said that he never sexually harassed anyone and uses phrases like “totally baseless,” “totally false,” and “witch-hunt,” implying that the story was completely made up by political opponents. Of course, we now know that the story wasn’t made up and that Can did face allegation from multiple women.
However, the more Herman Cain talks, the more trouble he makes for himself. In an effort to place blame on Rick Perry’s campaign for giving Politico the lead for the story, Cain openly admits that his campaign was aware of a potential sexual harassment story long before Saturday night.
Curt Anderson, a consultant who worked for Cain’s 2004 U.S. Senate campaign, was recently was hired by the Perry campaign. Cain told Forbes magazine that Anderson leaked the details to Politico. The problem is that in doing so, Cain admits that he has known that the sexual harassment complaints existed and were a political liability, and he’s known it for years.
The article states:
In the summer of 2003, Cain now says he recalls briefing Anderson—his general campaign consultant at the time—about sexual harassment the claims that were brought against him while he was chairman of the National Restaurant Association from 1996 to 1999.
So, if Cain briefed one of his consultants about this matter in 2003 because he knew it may become an issue, then there is no other conclusion that can be made for Cain’s initial response to the story other than that he knowingly lied when he led the public to believe that Politico had used faulty sources to print a completely made up story.
Cain also first said that he didn’t know anything about a monetary settlement. Then all of the sudden later on Monday, he miraculously started remembering specific details of the settlement. When confronted with this abrupt change of story, Cain engaged in a Clintonian dissection of the English language, saying that there was an “agreement,” which in his mind, is different than a “settlement.”
Later, he tried to blame his changing story on the fact that he was just trying to remember more details of this situation as Monday progressed. But Cain had been confronted by Politico 10 days before the story broke. Does Herman Cain really expect us to believe that he hadn’t bothered to “think about it” or “try to remember” the details before the story broke on Monday?
When first asked if he’d ever invited a woman (other than his wife) to his hotel room, he said he “didn’t recall.” I don’t know about you, but if I were asked that question, the answer would be a resounding “no,” first, because that would be the truth, and second, because that’s not the kind of question where you want to leave any ambiguity. The fact that Cain couldn’t answer this one simple question with the right answer is highly troubling.
Is the Cain Sexual Harassment Story a Liberal Media Witch Hunt? No.
Any notion that the article in Politico describing Cain’s inappropriate behavior as head of the National Restaurant Association is part of some sort of concerted left-wing liberal media conspiracy against Cain is non-sense. Knowing what we know as fact today, the article in the Politico has been proven to be correct – by Herman Cain. Were there complaints about Cain’s behavior? Yes. Were there agreements that caused these women to be no longer associated with the National Restaurant Association? Yes. Were these women paid thousands of dollars for their silence? Yes. It’s not a witch-hunt if the claim against you is true. Its part of the vetting process.
If uncovering some unsavory details in Herman Cain’s past is a liberal witch-hunt like some local and national media figures have suggested, then doesn’t that mean that Bill Clinton and John Edwards’ sexual forays that were proven to be entirely true, could have been the result of a right-wing witch hunt, or as Hillary Clinton called it, “a vast right-wing conspiracy?”
As was the case with John Edwards, even if the allegation comes from the National Enquire, if the accusation is true, then it’s true. Cain and his supporters may want to believe that the Politico article was totally false, but we have learned that it was not. In fact, Cain has actually now confirmed the main points of the article. In regard to whether these allegations should be made public, this is no different than what Bill Clinton dealt with in regards to Jennifer Flowers, Paula Jones, and Monica Lewinsky. It is no different than what was reported on in the John Edwards/Rielle Hunter love child story. The public has a right to know about these allegations and judge them for themselves.
Is the Cain Sexual Harassment Story Just Like The Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill Accusation? No.
In defending Herman Cain, some conservatives have compared what Cain is going through to what Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas had to endure during his confirmation process. The Cain supporters once again claim that the liberals, or even his Republican opponents, are so scared of Herman Cain, a black conservative, that they have to attack his character.
That argument insults the intelligence of anyone who has a brain. The big difference between the two incidents is that in Cain’s case, the two women who actually filed complaints, signed agreements and were paid money to quietly go away. In the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill allegation one must remember that Hill never filed a complaint, never signed an agreement, and never was awarded a monetary settlement in return for her silence.
A third National Restaurant Association employee has told the Associated Press that Cain harassed her as well. That allegation has far more in common with the Anita Hill situation, but even still, she may have not came forward because she didn’t want to lose her job like the two women who did file complaints. The only real similarity between Cain and Clarence Thomas is the color of their skin. Comparing the two is like comparing apples and oranges, which is something Cain says he knows a lot about.
Who Is Ultimately to Blame for the Cain Sexual Harassment Story? Herman Cain.
After another horrible news cycle for Cain yesterday, he is now blaming Rick Perry’s campaign for giving the story to Politico. Cain doesn’t have any concrete proof that Perry aides gave the story to Politico, but in doing so it helps him perpetuate the victim status that his campaign has placed its hopes on. However, just like Cain obviously doesn’t understand foreign policy or the abortion issue, he also doesn’t seem to understand that it’s his own behavior that has created this mess, not the news media and not a fellow campaign.
Cain’s response to the Politico story has made things worse for him, not better. It is apparent that Cain has lied to the media as well as the American people. Cain was aware of this story ten days before Politico published it. He knew that his past at the National Restaurant Association was a political liability for him the last time that he ran for office. Still, Cain tried to tried to lie himself out of this mess.
The last politician who tried to lie his way out of something similar was now former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner. The reason why Weiner had to resign was not because he engaged in inappropriate conduct with young women on Twitter, it’s because he lied about it when confronted by the media.
Herman Cain is responsible for the mess that he finds himself in, not anybody else.
Herman Cain needed to man up and tell the truth when asked about his past. He didn’t. He blamed the media. He blamed Democrats. He blamed the color of his skin and his political affiliation. And now he’s blaming Rick Perry.
Mr. Cain, with all due respect, take a look in the mirror, or look at the side of your bus. You only have yourself to blame.
Photo by Dave Davidson, Prezography.com
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