Watching Herman Cain mount a defense against allegations that he sexually harassed former colleagues was a lot like watching Jon Lovitz’s pathological liar character on Saturday Night Live. No matter how much Cain worked to convince us of his innocence, he only dug a deeper hole for himself and ended his bizarre press conference the same way it started – with mounting evidence that he is toast. While his loyal supporters continue to insist that Cain is the victim of a public lynching, the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO is busy hanging himself.
The whole Cain episode has been bizarre, just as bizarre as the candidate. While everyone should be presumed innocent until proven guilty, the parade of accusers alleging Cain was abusive is leaving little room for the benefit of the doubt. Cain has not helped himself in this regard either. His early denials marked by rambling explanations, followed by his seeming amnesia at yesterday’s press conference does little to convince me of his innocence. What’s more, his bravado and defiance suggests he is oblivious to the very serious nature of the allegations and in some respects pathetically disrespectful in his disregard for the feelings of the women involved and women in general.
Just as unbelievable as Cain’s attitude has been the rush by conservatives to charge critics of the presidential candidate with racist intent in questioning him over the allegations. It seems race suddenly matters to conservatives when all other times the right tries to convince us that racism and discrimination is a figment of our imagination. Suddenly, the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter have taken up the civil rights crusade in defense of their persecuted “brother” but are quick to point out that he is a special Black man, or as Coulter would subscribe, one of “our Blacks.” The right has been pulling cards from the race deck since the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, and now they are attempting to once again deal a full hand.
What this episode really reveals is the depths to which the Republican Party has sunk. Not because Herman Cain is facing these allegations, since they have nothing to do with the GOP, but by the party’s treating him as a serious candidate. If this lineup of presidential candidates is the best the Republican Party has to offer, there is no doubt in my mind that the Grand Old Party is on self-destruct. And while the right wing celebrates its Nubian king, even Allan Keyes, the perpetual Black Republican conservative candidate, was more substantive than the pizza man.
Cain’s future now rests solely with Republican voters. Since these allegations first broke Cain has weathered the storm, continued to play the role of frontrunner, and raised cash from loyal supporters. It remains to be seen what the breaking point is – 6 women, 9 women – before Republican voters come to their senses. For Democrats, it is a dream come true and the makings of a perfect storm. A terribly flawed conservative candidate, a weak field of candidates with the probable nominee an outcast within his own party, and a Republican led House of Representatives doing everything possible to screw the American public for the sake of gaining the keys to the Oval Office.
It looks like we will have Herman Cain to kick around for a few more days, and kick we should. The decent thing to do would be to suspend his campaign temporarily. For the sake of his family and those who have committed time and energy to his presidential bid, Cain should act responsibly and sort out his life. Unfortunately, we already know that he won’t take that route. So the public should shame him until he comes to his senses or until that settlement agreement is unsealed.
Walter Fields is the Executive Editor of NorthStarNews.com.