The Cain Campaign Falls Inanely on a Claim

by Brendan Monaghan

The hunters appear to have found their witch. After nearly a week of scandal more fit for TMZ than CNN, the skeletal outline of a decades-old sexual harassment suit against Republican frontrunner Herman Cain have become fairly well known. The staccato of information has kept the gossip going at a fever pitch. The trouble is, as more details become available and information changes, so too does Cain’s story. From denying everything on Sunday to blaming everyone but himself on Wednesday, the suit and settlement threaten to derail the Cain Train. That is, not because of the truth or falsehood of the allegations themselves, but because his mishandling of them from the start has turned an easily-explainable situation into a full-blown catastrophe. Faced with incredible accusations, Herman Cain appears to have lost credibility.

From what we know so far, the Cain campaign was given ten days’ notice by Politico that the story was going to break. Although hindsight is 20/20, this still would seem to have given the campaign ample time to prepare for Sunday’s story which nonetheless seemed to catch them completely off guard. Those with even a basic knowledge of public relations would have also leapt at the chance to beat Politico to the punch and release all the information they knew (and could state in the confines of a confidentiality agreement) on their own terms. Instead, Cain’s first instinct was to deny everything- which now looks an awful lot like what Winston Churchill called a “terminological inexactitude”- and his second was to play the race card- which even former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called “not good for the country.”

While it might be fun to dust off the old Clarence Thomas playbook and call Politico’s story a “high-tech lynching,” all the while playing back the blatantly racist slurs and invective spat at Mr. Cain by leftists in the media, it doesn’t make his predicament any better. Pointing out all the instances of affairs and harassment by our favorite liberal Democrat politicians and candidates that were hidden by left-friendly news outlets won’t make these go away either. The Cain crisis is entirely of his own making. The story should have been over and done within a day- two if Sunday is spent on “I don’t know,” while digging up research. Instead, the campaigner made rookie mistakes while not actually being a rookie campaigner (Cain ran unsuccessfully for the US Senate in Georgia).

The scandal took a turn for the completely ridiculous on Wednesday and a full-scale whodunit played out in Cain’s metaphorical Accusing Parlor. Whispers from talk radio and blogs pointed a not-so-subtle finger at their favorite punching bag in this campaign, the Evil Reptilian Kitten-Eater from Another Planet (R-MA). To answer the question, “who planted the leak with Politico?” Cain’s apparent answer was “everybody!” At different points in the day, Cain blamed Governors Romney and Perry, then former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel, then returned to a former staffer from his aforementioned 2004 Senate Primary bid who conveniently happened to work for Romney in 2008 and joined Perry’s employ seven days before the story broke. Clearly, it must have been this staffer who planted the story at Perry’s behest . . . until you recall that Politico had the story for ten days, the defendant joined Team Perry seven days prior, and time does not travel backwards.

Herman Cain’s most pressing question since he unexpectedly became the conservatives’ most credible Anti-Romney candidate was never so much “can he win?” but “can he govern?” Could a man who had never before held elected office somehow figure out the buttons, dials, and pedals of the presidency and the federal government as a whole- particularly when we see the results of Cain’s same shortcomings playing out in front of us with the White House’s current occupant? That he completely failed his first major campaign test should erase all doubts as to what the answer to that pressing question should be. If candidate Cain can’t handle some stupid scandal, how could he be expected to manage a real-world crisis? His many differing and sometimes incoherent attempts at explanation display dangerous inexperience and demonstrate that Herman Cain is manifestly unqualified to be President of the United States.

Brendan is a graduate student at Portland State University, where he hosts the KPSU “Right Jab” radio program, and a regular contributor at Oregon Catalyst. Brendan is studying political science, and graduated from The Ohio State University in 2007, with a degree in political science.

  • Tom Joad

    Pretending to give analysis while carrying Romney’s jock. Typical.

    When did become the mouthpiece of the moderate establishment Republican Party?

  • Anonymous

    So Brendan, how are things going down at the Romney campaign?

    Interesting isn’t it that only when Herman Cain climbed atop the GOP standings did this claptrap come out. It was of little use when Cain was hanging out in the lower reaches of the Republican field but when he started to threaten Romney and Parry, suddenly he’s a sexual predator. 

    And, whether you like it or not, there is a racial component to all of this.  When you jump on this particular bandwagon you’re riding with all of those liberals who don’t like Clarence Thomas, don’t like Alan West, don’t like JC Watts and don’t like Herman Cain because they all know there’s no such thing as a true, black conservative.

  • Anonymous

    BTW, note to OC…this clown Brendan should be banned from writing on this blog. OC is a forum for ideas not a forum to stump for one candidate while assailing another.

    • valley person

      Anyone who disagrees with Joel should be banned.

      But seriously….Cain atop the GOP standings only shows how weak the field is. He is not ready for prime time, and clearly not ready for a spotlight with a stronger than 60 watt bulb in it.  Romney is your imperfect guy. Learn to tolerate him.

  • Wherever

    You know these oversexed black men who can’t hold back when they smell sex – you know, men like Clarence Thomas and Herman Cain.  Interesting that is only those who aren’t part of the media/government establishment.  As Clarence Thomas said, “…a high-tech lynching”.

  • My opinion? This article would be more suited to a high school newspaper. It does not meet the usual high standards of content we find on Oregon Catalyst. Instead of original, fresh and insightful analysis and commentary based on facts, we get hyperbole, a thin veneer of facts, and unoriginal content that’s closer to an ad hominem attack than a well reasoned argument against or in favor of Mr. Cain’s qualities as a presidential candidate.

    If I wanted to read this comic book stuff, I would have stopped by at Blue Oregon. 

    • 3H

      Evidently you don’t read the articles by Lars.

      • Point me to an article here written by Lars that is as poorly written is this piece.

        • 3H

          You didn’t say that this piece was the dividing line — you said “Instead of original, fresh and insightful analysis and commentary based on facts…”   Lars does not meet that criteria.  His facts are frequently long, his pieces are too brief to contain any insight, he frequently just regurgitates ideas already articulated by much better writers, and thinkers, than himself.   This is, of course, all just my opinion.  However, by the standards you listed, Lars does not belong on this blog.  In fact, I’ll go you one better — I disagree with Mr. Monaghan, a lot, but at least he tries.  He makes an attempt at giving some insight and trying to provide enough material to back it up.   Lars does not.   I suspect that Mr. Monaghan’s biggest crime was to disagree with you.

          • Tom Joad

            So Brendan Monaghan belongs on this blog but Lars Larson does not. Uh huh.

            Actually I’m going to agree with you, believe it or not. The editorial standards of Oregon Catalyst have deteriorated so badly that Lars has outgrown this forum.

          • 3H

            Actually.. it’s not my blog.  I don’t have an opinion of who belongs or who does not belong.  Robert Canfield is the person who is making that argument.  I’m simply pointing out there is a least one other commentator who is more deserving of scorn based upon his criteria.

  • Bob Clark

    A lot of theatre but Cain has time to correct the outcome.  He might, for instance, shrug and offer to be more sensitive in the future so as to steer clear of creating perceptions of sexual harrassment. Cain can get it rolling again with his and Gingrich’s staged Lincoln Douglas debate.   

  • conservatively speaking

    Not excitedly a fan of Cain’s ‘9-9-9’ enchilada recipe; yet than #44’s ‘6-6-6′ carney asada, really chills my rellenos.     

    DON’T SHOOT THE MESSENGER !  Info only……………….. 

           Certainly an impressive resume’

    What you may not know about Herman Cain who is running for president….

    not a career politician (in fact he has never held political office).
    He’s known as a pizza guy, but there’s a lot more to him. He’s also a
    computer guy, a banker guy, and a rocket scientist guy.

    Here’s his bio:

    ·          Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics.

    ·          Master’s degree in Computer Science.

    ·          Mathematician for the Navy, where he worked on missile ballistics (making
    him a rocket scientist).

    ·          Computer systems analyst for Coca-Cola.

             VP of Corporate Data Systems and Services for Pillsbury (this
    is the top of the ladder in the computer world, being in charge of
    information systems for a major corporation).

    All achieved before reaching the age of 35. Since he reached the top of the information systems world, he changed careers!

             Business Manager. Took charge of Pillsbury’s 400 Burger King
    restaurants in the Philadelphia area, which were the company’s poorest
    performers in the country. Spent the first nine months learning the
    business from the ground up, cooking hamburger and yes, cleaning
    toilets. After three years he had turned them into the company’s best

             Godfather’s Pizza CEO. Was asked by Pillsbury to take charge
    of their Godfather’s Pizza chain (which was on the verge of bankruptcy).
    He made it profitable in 14 months.

    ·          In 1988 he led a
    buyout of the Godfather’s Pizza chain from Pillsbury. He was now the
    owner of a restaurant chain. Again he reached the top of the ladder of
    another industry.

    ·          He was also chairman of the
    National Restaurant Association during this time. This is a group that
    interacts with government on behalf of the restaurant industry, and it
    gave him political experience from the non-politician side.

    Having reached the top of a second industry, he changed careers again!

    ·          Adviser to the Federal Reserve System. Herman Cain went to
    work for the Federal Reserve Banking System advising them on how monetary policy changes would affect American businesses.

             Chairman of the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank. He worked
    his way up to the chairmanship of a regional Federal Reserve bank. This
    is only one step below the chairmanship of the entire Federal Reserve
    System (the top banking position in the country). This position allowed
    him to see how monetary policy is made from the inside, and understand
    the political forces that impact the monetary system.

    After reaching the top of the banking industry, he changed careers for a fourth time!

             Writer and public speaker. He then started to write and speak
    on leadership. His books include Speak as a Leader , CEO of Self ,
    Leadership is Common Sense , and They Think You’re Stupid .

             Radio Host. Around 2007—after a remarkable 40 year career—he
    started hosting a radio show on WSB in Atlanta (the largest talk radio
    station in the country).

    He did all this
    starting from rock bottom (his father was a chauffeur and his mother was
    a maid). When you add up his accomplishments in his life—including
    reaching the top of three unrelated industries: information systems,
    business management, and banking—


    Herman Cain may have the most impressive resume of anyone that has run for the presidency in the last half century.


  • Rupert in Springfield

    I wouldn’t say Cain has handled this incompetently. Incompetence in handling a scandal is only something that can be reasonably determined by future events – does the candidate survive or not.

    Clinton at first seemed to handle two scandals with all the grace of a turtle in a blender. First there was the draft dodging scandal where a terse Cinton finally just got fed up with it and angrily said “look if you don’t want to vote for me because you think I dodged the draft then fine, Im not speaking to this issue anymore”. Then there was the sexual harassment scandal where Carville was sent out with his infamous “drag a $100 bill through a trailer park” remark.  To be sure, Clinton had a press that covered for him every step of the way, but lets face it, even with that advantage those two scandals appeared to be far more devastating at the time than they wound up being.

    The future will tell if the same attends to Cain. Frankly I think it will. He has gone up in the polls since the Politicos allegations and if ever there was a non story, this is it. Most people are deeply suspicious of sexual harassment allegations, especially those decades old that don’t amount to a hill of beans even if true. In my opinion Cain will survive this unscathed.

    The last thing anyone wants these days is some slick politician response. People have had it with slick political moves and want someone a little more real. To that extent, Cains ad hoc play dumb strategy has been a good one.

    • Anonymous

      So Rupert, by slick politician are you referring to someone who has TelePrompTer-itis…someone who can raise a small fortune in other people’s money and spend it even more so…someone who promises hope and change even though he hasn’t a clue what those words mean?

    • valley person

      Clinton was a 12 term governor with a long record in public office, who had built substantial relationships with his party nationally. He was also a horn dog.

      Cain is virtually unknown, has no public record, and lacks strong relationships  within his party. He may also be a horn dog.

      As for his response, it seems pretty classic slick politician to me. He denied it, then shifted the blame to the victim, them to his adversary (Perry). He changed his story 5 or 6 times before he finally said he would not say anything else. And by tomorrow he will change his mind on that.

      Are you sure he is playing dumb? 

      • conservatively speaking

        “Clinton was a 12 term governor with a long record in pub….”

        Wholly phallusy, VP, what have you been smokin’, dorkenshyster?   

        • valley person

          Oh I dunno….a reality pipe? 

  • Penne

    You covered the whole affair (no pun intended) in one fell swoop.  It boggles my mind that it all happened in just one week.  I think Cain’s mis-steps and miscues make that concern that he may not be able to govern.   That to me may be why he cant win.