Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Herman Cain and wild accusations

I have no idea if Herman Cain is telling the truth or his accusers are the ones telling the truth. He certainly seemed credible in his blanket denials yesterday. But no one knows what happened with these women and it becomes a test of each person's credibility and we won't know. If the first two women who filed complaints with the National Restaurant Association didn't know of each other at the time and filed independent complaints with the same basic story and told friends or family about the events at the time, that would give us some reason to believe them. But we haven't heard them. And it's hard to judge the veracity of the woman who came forth on Monday. One obvious question is why, if she had experienced such a disturbing experience with Herman Cain, had she just a month ago, according to a friend, gone to a tea party event and gone up and hugged him in a friendly manner. Her record plays against her and her complaints are so tawdry and the approach seems so soon after Cain encountered her that it would suggest a regular habit of quickie solicitations of sex. I'd expect to hear many more anecdotes and complaints than we have heard. And I would expect to hear them over a longer period of time. If we are to believe these women then we have to believe that Cain acted like a boor for a couple of years at the NRA and then didn't act that way with other women at any other time in his life.

But we will probably never know who is telling the truth. Such uncertainty would seem to be the end of hope for any GOP candidate for the nomination.

Cain's sounded believable yesterday, but he lost me when he made his own wild accusations of who he thought was behind this. Without any evidence at all, he blamed the "Democrat machine" for bringing forth these complaints.
Cain said there was a "machine" trying to keep a businessman out of the White House, and said Sharon Bialek was a "troubled woman" put forward by "the Democrat machine."
Huh? A man who is fighting against what he says are baseless accusations hurls out his own baseless accusation? He just should have blamed a "vast left-wing conspiracy." And just last week his campaign was telling us that the Perry campaign was behind all of this. And his campaign manager, the same guy who was blaming the Perry campaign last week, went on TV yesterday to say that the second woman who filed a complaint at the NRA and whose name came out yesterday, Karen Kraushaar, is the mother of a journalist, Josh Kraushaar.
"Her son works at POLITICO," Block said of Karen Kraushaar, whose name POLITICO printed earlier today after other media outlets made her identity public.
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"I've been hearing that all day - you've confirmed that now?" Hannity asked.

"We've confirmed that he does indeed work at POLITICO and that's his mother, yes," said Block.
Well, no.
Block appeared to be referring to former POLITICO reporter Josh Kraushaar, who left for another outlet, National Journal, in 2010.

Josh Kraushaar tweeted earlier in the day, apparently after getting questions, that he's in fact not related to Karen Kraushaar, and simply has the same last name.
So the Cain campaign is happy enough to make public accusations without doing the most elementary research to substantiate those accusations. They are irresponsible and incompetent. It doesn't give us hope for Cain's vaunted business experience lending itself to political leadership. Without that, what does he have besides his charm?

He certainly doesn't seem to have much policy questions. Watch this video of his fumbling a question on Medicare during the Cain-Gingrich debate this weekend. And that isn't an isolated moment for Herman Cain. As Peter Wehner writes,
These are the type of policy questions that presumably should be in Cain’s wheelhouse. His main selling point, after all, is that he’s a successful businessman who knows how to right our economic ship; and no program has more bearing on our fiscal future than Medicare. Yet on what is a fairly basic question about Medicare, Cain is utterly lost. That ought to matter to conservatives as they determine who is the individual best equipped to prosecute the case against President Obama less than a year from now.

I understand early on there was a certain freshness to Cain’s style. But we’ve now had several months in which we’ve been able to watch Cain in debates, during interviews, and at center stage, raising this question: Has any recent major presidential candidate shown as little mastery of the basics, when it comes to policy matters, as Cain? He’s shown his limitations time and time again, from debates in which he can’t articulate his policy preference on Afghanistan, to his cluelessness on the so-called Palestinian “right of return,” to his contradictory stands when it comes to abortion and a willingness to trade GITMO prisoners for hostages, to his (unconstitutional) declaration that he would not appoint a Muslim to his cabinet or a federal judgeship, to his inability to defend his 9-9-9 tax plan. Yet some defenders of Cain actually celebrate his lack of knowledge, portraying it as a virtue, a sign that he’s an outsider, a non-establishment figure, authentic, the appealing anti-politician.
Somehow, I don't think that ignorance is a quality that we should be embracing in our leaders. If he truly wanted to be president, he would have spent the past decade studying up on policy and thinking about the best way to lead the country in all areas not just with his ideas on taxes, an idea that he had to revamp in the middle of the campaign.

Whether it is the accusations of sexual harassment or his own unpreparedness for the top office, Cain's star is bound to fade. And so Republican voters will be searching yet again for the candidate who can not only give us the best chance of winning the election against Obama, but also be prepared to lead the country upon inauguration.