I like Herman Cain. I’ve seen him and heard him speak. He is entertaining and a good Republican.
However, I did not get on the Cain train. Before you get on, it’s best to check your baggage. No one has until yesterday and what they found might very well derail him.
The charges of sexual harassment have not been adequately disputed. They probably won’t be. Could it have come from the Romney camp? The Perry camp? Even the Obama camp?
The Obama campaign has already carved out a place in Chicago where they are operating 24/7 opposition research. It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if the info came from there. They have telegraphed that they want to run against Mitt Romney. His wealth status, his flip flops, his ties to Obamacare make him an easy target against the president.
But no matter who did it, it’s a good thing they did. Some of the Republicans who castigate Democrats and the media for not vetting Obama have not vetted Cain either. They fell in love with the myth of him: his successful business, his overcoming obstacles, his blackness. He has no legislative record nor does he have any history of dealing with politicians. You could say Obama had more experience in the Illinois Senate, even though he mostly voted “present” when difficult issues came to the floor.
Better, too, that this comes up now. We don’t want to get to the final weeks of a campaign to see our candidate fatally wounded. How Cain handles it, too, will give us a look into how he operates when faced with a problem. If he can’t get back on track, he’s finished.
When the Washington Post tried to tar Perry with the slur painted on a rock, he promptly reacted with the truth. He didn’t like it, saw to it that the word was painted over and even turned the rock over. Since it was not his property, he couldn’t have done any more. The issue has not detracted from his message.
Those of us old enough to remember a campaign or two remember Gary Hart and his Monkey Business. After that, he was sunk. It doesn’t take much to drive a candidate under.
Cain’s whole campaign has struck me as odd. You have to wonder if he really wants the nomination. His quirky strategy makes it doubtful. Why would he be so undisciplined, saying one thing on one show, then backtracking, saying he was “joking” when it didn’t please the base? His recent agreement to debate with Newt Gingrich on foreign policy is like laying down in the hay field when the thresher is coming. He’s way out of his field.
Perhaps he has always known that these allegations were coming and just wanted to have a good time while it lasted. Commentators at blogs have some interesting things to say. One said, “over six months ago I heard some of this from an attorney friend in Atlanta who is friends with several members of Cain’s church. It was put to me as ‘they are not impressed with is morals.’ I expect much more to be revealed in the near future.” Another writes, “I live near Savannah and a member of our Tea Party said something along the lines of Cain’s baggage makes Newt look saintly.” So it’s been out there.
I don’t think he can rely on the friendly conservative media to save him this time. They’ve covered his gaffes before, but facts are a different animal. If he paid women as alleged, it’s a large hurdle.
It’s an interesting turn of events and a reminder that nothing’s over til it’s over.