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Thursday, November 3, 2011

WEASEL (SINGULAR) ON PARADE

I am getting SO very sick and tired of all the tragic-comic dramedy surrounding Herman Cain. It’s reminding me of all the garbage that surrounded Gary Hart when he sneered at the media and taunted them with “CATCH ME IF YOU CAN!” regarding his affair with Donna Rice. It’s also reminiscent of Bill Clinton’s assertions that he “never had sex with that woman, Miss Lewinski.” John Edwards also comes to mind. What do all of these sleazes have in common? They all lied, to one degree or another, about sexual misconduct.

So, therefore, today there’s only one weasel on parade. Herman “PIZZAMAN” Cain.

Herman Cain. Y’know, I really wanted to like this man. When his name was first mentioned as a possible candidate, I made the comment on Twitter that he’d probably wind up the Republican/Tea Party candidate for President. I got laughed, and several of my politically active friends suggested that I needed to get my meds adjusted (NO, I haven’t told any of them “I TOLD YOU SO!”, although I was tempted).

He’s a self-made man, with a terrific business sense and background. He took Godfather’s Pizza from bankruptcy to financial health, when everybody told him that the chain wasn’t savable. He went on to have a pretty stellar career in the food industry, rising to the chairmanship of the National Restaurant Association. He’s been married to the same woman for 40+ years. He’s a stellar example of what a person can do when she/he puts her/his mind to the task at hand. True, some of his policy positions are pretty out there, but then theory is usually demolished and tempered by reality. The 9-9-9 plan, for example, isn’t something that would work in the real world, although a flat tax across the board is a pretty good idea.

So, this tempest that has blown up around Mr. Cain since he prevaricated about whether or not he sexually harassed 2 women with whom the NRA settled out of court. First, it didn’t happen, then he recused himself from the “agreement”, then it was an agreement, not a settlement, then it was a settlement, but he couldn’t remember the women or the details, and now it’s all the fault of the Perry campaign that his shenanigans were made public in the first place.

I get it, folks – really, I do. No man in public life these days ever wants something as nasty as sexual harassment to become public knowledge, after all. Sexual harassment is pretty egregious behaviour, after all, and taints everybody’s reaction to the person that just accused of doing it, let alone somebody whose behaviour resulted in not one but TWO settlements. In the case of the first woman, lawyer Joel Bennett told The New York Times that his client wants to release a statement asserting that her version of events is different from Cain’s, while not violating her confidentiality agreement with the restaurant group.

Even if one of the accusers does step forward publicly, Mr. Cain may well believe he can withstand the firestorm. After all, former Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton withstood multiple, named allegations of sexual misconduct and became president. He also survived impeachment and finished his second term, despite the Lewinsky sex scandal. His campaign says that since Sunday, when the harassment story broke on Politico.com, fundraising has soared – a sign, the campaign says, that his supporters are sticking by him.

Maybe they are; also, maybe they aren’t going to stick around for the long haul, either.

“Politicians are always the last to know that they have been irretrievably damaged,” says Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. He argues that Cain was never going to be the nominee in any case, but the harassment allegations have made that possibility even more remoter. Jillson also doesn’t think that Cain will be able to maintain his support over the long haul. “The first reaction of Republican social conservatives in general is that ‘this is unproven, they’re after our guy, so we’ll suspend judgment,’ ” Jillson says. “But I think that erodes. The facts will out at some point. These things never go away.” If Mr. Cain is looking to former President Clinton as a model for how to survive sexual allegations, the more relevant model would be Clinton the candidate. But even there, Mr. Cain is no Clinton. The former president had a career in elective office before running for president. Mr. Cain has none. President Clinton also had a fully organized campaign in place by the time Gennifer Flowers stepped forward with allegations of a long-running affair with then-Governor Clinton. Mr. Cain barely has a campaign apparatus, and has campaigned infrequently in the early primary and caucus states. His response to the sexual harassment story has been disorganized and ever-changing, even though he had 10 days’ advance warning it was in the works. Mr. Cain’s appeal to some Republican voters is precisely the fact that he is a nonpolitician and an outsider.

The problem for Mr. Cain, alas, is that the stories keep coming. On Wednesday, his campaign manager, Mark Block, blamed the rival campaign of Texas Gov. Rick Perry for leaking the story to Politico. The Cain campaign blames Perry adviser Curt Anderson, who advised Cain’s unsuccessful run for the Senate in 2004. Cain says he told Mr. Anderson about the sexual-harassment charges from his days at the restaurant association, but Mr. Anderson says he had no prior knowledge of the situation. "I didn’t know anything about this, and so it’s hard to leak something that you didn’t know anything about,” Mr. Anderson said on CNN Thursday morning. Governor Perry has denied that anyone in his campaign was involved in leaking the accusations. Earlier, Mr. Cain had blamed the liberal media for going after him, in addition to the GOP establishment.


And THAT, dear readers, is what makes him a weasel. When you know you’re in the wrong, and you’ve already been caught lying about it, start the “BLAME GAME”. After all, it’s not *YOUR* fault if some ugly women took remarks that you made regarding her physical attractiveness as harassment. It’s not *YOUR* fault if inviting said woman to your corporate apartment could be construed by said women as a serious pass. It’s not *YOUR* fault if they take issue with your repeated passes and your apparent inability to take NO for an answer and report you. Gosh, what on EARTH did you do wrong? Aside, of course, from trying to bully lower-level staff into your bed.

Mr. Cain might yet weather this storm. I hope not. I sincerely do. If he’s willing to blame poor people for being poor because they are lazy, and tell the world that the only reason people are jobless and homeless is because they aren’t trying hard enough, then we truly don’t need him in the Oval Office. If he’s willing to lie about things that he’s done in the past, then this country doesn’t need him anywhere close to the White House.

We get the leadership that we deserve, most of the time. I just have a hard time seeing Herman Cain – or, for that matter, Mitt the Weathervane – in the White House.

Watch out for flying chairs, gangers. This one has gotten very ugly, and will be uglier still before it’s all over.

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