Can Herman Cain Beat Sexual Harassment Rap?

Twitter exploded last night when news about payoffs to former employees of the National Restaurant Association who had accused Herman Cain of sexual harassment during his tenure hit POLITICO’s front page. Since the Sunday night game between the Eagles and the Cowboys was a bust, I started rooting around the nether parts of the internet to see what people were saying about these revelations.

After wading through comments at the conservative websites Redstate, FreeRepublic, and Townhall for awhile, the conspiracy theories started to run together, although there seemed to be three main threads. About a third of the comments went right for the jugular and blamed all of this on President Obama and the “liberal” media. Another third of the comments seemed to take the position that one of the other candidates for the GOP presidential nomination had been in possession of this information for awhile, waiting for the right time to leak it to the press. And the remaining third of the comments were all over the place, with a few people going so far as to suggest that Mr. Cain’s camp had planted this story themselves to in order to draw support as the victim of a smear campaign.

The sparse amount of facts that are available and the length of time it has been since these alleged incidents took place may not be as much of an obstacle for Herman Cain to overcome as conventional wisdom might suggest. Although I don’t think Herman Cain is as good a snake charmer as Mike Huckabee was back in 2008, his years in talk radio land may have given him the skills to serve to keep his feet out of the fire. As a matter of fact, I can imagine that sometime between now and Monday afternoon, talk radio shock jocks like Neil Boortz here in Atlanta and Rush Limbaugh down in Florida will have devised some of their bombastic but logically inconsistent “Obama did it” narratives he can use to vociferously refute these stories.

What I can’t understand is the lack of preparation the Cain campaign had for what should have been seen as an eventuality. I have always thought that President Obama’s idea of confessing all of his youthful sins and personal moral failings in his memoir was brilliant, since it got out into the open the less savory facts about his life in a way that allowed one to accept the fact that these things had happened and move on to more current issues. And I’m sure Obama’s campaign people were well aware of Reverend Wright’s pulpit antics long before the general public. These are the kinds of things that someone who is seriously running for president makes plans to address when or if they come up during their campaign.

Given the inability of journalists, especially political journalists, to do much more than regurgitate campaign talking points and recite conventional political wisdom, it seems likely to me that someone with a vested interest in the outcome of the race for one of Cain’s rivals would be the most likely culprit in this caper.

Suppose for a minute, when all the smoke clears, that the story turns out to be true. Then what? If you are a Herman Cain supporter, do you immediately throw your candidate under the bus? A relatively small amount of money changed hands to make two unspecified allegations of sexual harassment go away 20 years ago. For a political party that prides itself on its embrace of the tenets of Christianity, you would expect the GOP’s rank and file to be more accepting of the fallibility of man and be more forgiving than the Democrats, who were able to accept the fact of Barack Obama’s past cocaine use and select him as their presidential nominee anyway.  

As much as I am opposed to most of the Republican Party’s agenda, and as many times as I have written in this very space that Herman Cain has absolutely no chance of being the Republican presidential nominee, I have to admit that I have thoroughly enjoyed watching Herman Cain confound the political pundits and the money men in his own party. Mr. Cain, if your candidacy succumbs because of this, all I can say is, at this blog, you will be missed.

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