Cain Too Honest—Or Not Honest Enough?
November 7, 2011
By Phil Perkins
It’s easy to say that the recent furor over the alleged sexual harassment claims against Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain is nothing more than a contrived smear campaign designed to destroy Cain’s presidential bid when it’s just starting to gain traction. Maybe so—but his handling of it hasn’t helped matters.
The mainstream media, no matter how much we conservatives want to minimize or marginalize their role, are unfortunately still a major force in determining who looks good politically and who does not. How else can you explain popularity ratings that continue in the 40’s for the utterly failed Obama presidency? This is a president who, under different circumstances (i.e., if he were a Republican) could very well have had several different counts of impeachment against him by now (Fast & Furious and Solyndra are just the latest examples).
Don’t get me wrong—I desperately want to believe that Cain is only guilty of listening to poor public relations advice in not getting out in front of this situation instead of letting the media place him on the defensive. But to an average citizen who’s been listening to the inconsistent message coming from the candidate—from absolute denial, to partial admission of a charge however spurious, from not knowing anything to filling us in on some details—it sounds, no matter how sincere, somewhat disingenuous.
From what I’ve heard, the Cain team had 10 days’ notice that something regarding past sexual harassment charges was coming out. Knowing how the media operate and that at least 95 percent of them hate conservatives, this forewarning should have sprung them into action to find out whatever in the candidate’s past—no matter how seemingly innocuous—could be used against him and how to defuse the bomb before it had a chance to explode. That they failed to recognize the importance of being proactive is now obvious.
If this homework had been done, the initial exchange after the Politico story hit could have gone something like this:
Media hack: Mr. Cain, how do you respond to the reported sexual harassment allegations brought against you by at least two former employees?
Cain: I was not initially even aware of these charges. I have never been directly accused of sexual harassment by anyone. The allegations were made to officials of the National Restaurant Association and were handled by those officials. There was no need to even get me involved, which should tell you something about the nature and gravity of the charges. In short, I believe that you people are wasting your time on this subject, when we have far more important issues to concern ourselves with, such as the president’s disastrous handling of the economy.
I’m hoping that the imaginary response attributed to Herman Cain above reflects the truth of the matter. If it does, then he needs to make that clear and cut through the murkiness that continues to give this story “legs” it probably doesn’t deserve. If it doesn’t, well, folks, we’ve got a whole other ball game, one that may not have a pretty result.