Reporting news about a candidate who is running for his party's presidential nomination is not a "high-tech lynching," as certain bloggers and pundits on the right have characterized the mess Herman Cain is in.
Cain is responsible for these revelations, and he alone is responsible for the clumsy handling of it. Each day a new piece of the story comes out showing the public that Mr. Cain was well aware of the sexual harassment charges, the women who made them, and the payouts given to those women to be quiet. It would have been better had Mr. Cain come clean about the charges instead of allowing the story to become the focus of his campaign. Bad move on Cain and his advisers part and a disturbing example of Cain's ineptitude.
Here are some assessments of Cain and his handling of this story:
The New York Times
"Mr. Cain knew the harassment charges would become public 10 days ahead of time, but still he stumbled for three days. First he said he knew of no settlement between his accusers and the National Restaurant Association — rather implausible, considering he was its chief executive. Then he said he was aware of it but didn’t know the details. Then he put out the details. [...]
None of this should be surprising. From the start, Mr. Cain has made outrageous statements, then taken them back, then modified them. He said he would not appoint a Muslim to his cabinet, then apologized, then railed about Shariah law creeping into the courts. He said he wanted a border fence that would electrocute illegal crossers, then said it was a joke, then he still wanted one.
Mr. Cain’s core supporters don’t seem to care about such minor details any more than he does. But, eventually, a campaign run solely on charm and hokum tends to wind up in a ditch. The question now is how much of the Republican Party will follow him there."
This is truly disturbing:
Dana Milbank gives us a revealing anecdote about Cain under pressure:
"At his next stop, a Hilton hotel in Alexandria, the amiable candidate finally blew his stack – and the scene quickly escalated into violence. It began when a reporter asked Cain if he would release his accusers from their confidentiality agreements.
“I’m not going to talk about it,” Cain snapped, “so don’t even bother asking me all of these other questions that y’all are curious about. Okay? Don’t even bother.”
“It’s a good question,” the reporter pointed out. “Are you concerned?” asked another. Evidently, Cain was. “What did I say?” he hissed at the reporters, then attempted to break through the pack, shouting: “Excuse me. Excuse me! EXCUSE ME!” At that, his bodyguards began throwing elbows and shoving the reporters and photographers. “Stand back! . . . Do not push me! . . . Pushing is against the law!. . . Watch out!. . . Get a grip on yourself!” In the melee, a young boy and his father were shoved up against a wall.
His campaign’s fisticuffs with Washington journalists probably won’t do Cain any harm among his supporters in Iowa; in fact, it will probably help. But Cain’s loss of control is a reminder of why he’s never going to be president, no matter how high he rises in GOP primary polls."
"On my first day at an all-white school in North Plainfield, N.J., and then again in Hazlet, N.J. and then again before I took off for college in Northfield, Minn., my mother delivered a lecture not unfamiliar to other kids of color (and women, for that matter). You have to work twice as hard and be twice as good to not be seen as inferior, deficient and not as up to the task (whatever the task might be) as your white classmates. It ain’t right. It ain’t fair. But that’s the way it is.
On a near-daily basis, Herman Cain, the front runner for the Republican nomination for president of the United States, denigrates the high level of expectation and preparation demanded by my mother and mothers everywhere. [...] Sarah Palin was rightly eviscerated for her lack of knowledge on just about everything when she was the GOP’s 2008 vice presidential nominee. She didn’t know what the Bush Doctrine was. Even though she’s pro-life, she told Katie Couric that she believed there was a right to privacy in the Constitution, which is a cornerstone of Roe. v. Wade. And she tried to claim foreign policy experience because “as Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where do they go? It’s Alaska. It’s right over the border.”
That Cain can’t even rise above this decidedly low bar set by Palin is an insult to my mother, who demands excellence of “us,” and to every American who believes his or her nation deserves better from those who would lead it."
"Nothing good, according to Dreher:
Expertise does not guarantee wisdom. But that doesn’t mean the amateurism puts us on the side of the angels, either. You wouldn’t trust an amateur to spay your cat or to give you sound investment advice for your 401(K) — yet there are millions of Republians who think an avuncular amateur like Herman Cain would do a great job as president of the United States, or at least a better job than Jon Huntsman, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, or anybody else on offer who has actually worked in politics. I’m not thrilled with these choices either, but come on, what is wrong with us?"
"When Herman Cain sang at the National Press Club the other day, I thought it was absurd. There he goes again, the clown. Looking at the performance in greater context, I found it easier to smile at, and not in a hostile way. Still, if you think about it, it says something bad about America that here we are, facing the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression, and looking at a future of crippling indebtedness unless our leaders take drastic action … and the top candidate for the Republican nomination a year from election day is a charming businessman with no political experience, who knows nothing about the world (and makes jokes about his own ignorance), and who is given over to camping it up on the campaign trail. If times were great, there would be serious reason to doubt whether America could afford a man like Herman Cain in the Oval Office. But times are terrible, and could easily get far worse. It’s really quite an indictment on the unseriousness of our country, or at least the conservative electorate, that Cain is at the top of the polls now. The media play their own role in perpetuating this circus."
Herman Cain will never be POTUS. He is unable to control himself and his message. Plus he's ignorant about the most basic foreign policy issues. Let him go back to hawking his books and singing to his adoring crowds.
This is the caliber of candidate that gets the base of the GOP excited: A preening, loud-mouthed bully who's ignorant [Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan?] on many important issues and proud of it.