I have been going back and forth between Herman Cain and Rick Santorum in my mind for the last few weeks. If there is anything that is likely to push me over the edge in Favor of Herman Cain it’s this.
The sources — which include the recollections of close associates and other documentation — describe episodes that left the women upset and offended. These incidents include conversations allegedly filled with innuendo or personal questions of a sexually suggestive nature, taking place at hotels during conferences, at other officially sanctioned restaurant association events and at the association’s offices. There were also descriptions of physical gestures that were not overtly sexual but that made women who experienced or witnessed them uncomfortable and that they regarded as improper in a professional relationship.
Because there is nothing more worthy of a five-figure payout than “physical gestures that are not overtly sexual but that made women uncomfortable.”
Mind you this is from the same MSM that still embraces Bill Clinton, longs for his presidency and literally drools whenever he enters the room.
Stacy McCain (A Cain Backer) doesn’t buy it, My friend Barbara Espinosa ( A Perry person) runs with it. Instapundit has some excellent snark:
Well, the press didn’t spend much time looking into the past of the last black guy who looked like he might be President, so they’re putting a lot more effort into it this time. . . .
but it’s Dave Weigel who points out an ugly truth:
If this is the Cain strategy, it’s lacking for two reasons. One: It’s one thing for a movement hero or SCOTUS nominee to get in trouble, because everyone stands to lose if he’s taken down. Quite the opposite is true if a presidential candidate is in trouble — countless people stand to gain from the coming dogpile. Two: This isn’t a one-day story. Politico protected the names of the sources while leaving a Hansel and Gretel trail for others to follow.
Here is what I think:
1. Herman Cain is no fool, if there was some “there” there he would know the MSM would give him the full Clarence Thomas. That would have to be part of his decision-making process when deciding to run.
2. I’m reminded of a friend who ran a French restaurant with a large staircase. People where constantly suing until he finally decided to drop his insurance and let everyone know that if you sue and win, you own a French restaurant. The suits stopped. Apparently the National Restaurant Association has decided against that strategy.
3. If it turns out another campaign was pushing this story I don’t think the tea party right will forget or forgive this. There is an obvious suspect but because there is such an obvious suspect it’s not impossible that a different campaign pushed it to take out both Cain and the obvious suspect.
4. The first instinct of the establishment GOP to either be silent or defend Cain with faint praise. If there was ever something that the GOP can do to lose the tea party and guarantee a 3rd party movement that would be it. I will be watching this VERY closely. Watch Sarah Palin here, if she defends Cain then heads will explode everywhere.
5. It will be very interesting to see how black liberals play this, particularly on TV. There is no indication of the race of the accusers. I predict the race of the women involved will make a lot of difference on how this is played both in the black media and with the black population.
6. Since the media has been spending the last few weeks scoffing and laughing at Herman Cain I suspect they will spend the next few weeks pushing this big time. Considering what the grass roots right thinks of the media and their memory of Clarence Thomas I suspect this will solidify rather than harm his polling.
It is 4:31 A.M EST as I type this (I crashed really early last night) I predict Morning Joe to go long with this, I expect condemnation from Mika and the round table. I further predict they will totally missing the irony of their previous adulation of Bill Clinton and their reaction to this story.
If nothing else the press club appearance will not be dull.
The reactions around the sphere generally seem to depend on where you are on the tea party or on Cain.
I suspect Rush will say: “Liberals will always tell you who they fear.”
My advice on the matter, I’m with Grover Cleveland: “Tell the Truth.”
Update: I’m already seeing “Is Cain a pervert” spam on my YouTube videos.
Update 2: Irony overload on Morning Joe: Herman Cain not answering Politio’s question: Damning. Meanwhile Willie Geist asks Politico exactly what Herman Cain is accused of doing Politico answer: “We’re not going to get into the details of what happened.” Say WHAT?
Update3: My friend Lisa Graas completely misreads me
The suggestion seems to be that Rick Santorum is somehow responsible for these charges coming to light. Why else would he indicate a move away from Rick Santorum? He’s very strongly implying here that Rick Santorum is responsible.
First of all the temptation to go to Cain over this is not a reflection on Santorum who I like very much as a Candidate, (I must if he keeps flipping between my 1st or 2nd choice) but to spite a media that is going all in on this.
Second of all Rick Santorum would not in fact be the “obvious suspect” on this, both in terms of the tactic and in the ability to spread it. He doesn’t have the reach, the opposition research or the money to do this even if he had the inclination, which I don’t think he has.
I wonder who would?
Update 4: Roger Simon notes the media double standard and has the line of the day:
But never fear, when it comes to a black conservative, Politico is on the case. Never mind that what really happened is of course just as unknown to them as it is to us. That’s not the point. A man like Cain cannot be allowed in the White House. Why… why…. he might just…. harass an intern!
Hey you can trust us at Politico, we answer questions directly.
If you want to know what the story is here, this video is the story. Politico thinks they are Errol Flynn’s lawyer. UPDATE As Ed Morrissey put it: Frankly, that’s not going to cut it.
Red State also raises a great point:
Now Cain has this story drop at 8 PM on a Sunday night—whole cloth, with no evidence of investigation beyond calling the people named in the documents—a mere 12 hours before he’s supposed to have a full day of media availability in Washington, DC at the American Enterprise Institute and the National Press Club. I feel like I’ve seen this movie.
I think he is right, the press and Cain’s foes are now taking him seriously.
Update 6: Stacy is at the press club but Glenn Reynolds asks the single most relevant question of the day.
Would Jonathan Martin, Maggie Haberman, Anna Palmer and Kenneth Vogel have put their names on a similar piece, with no named sources, aimed at Barack Obama? Would Politico have run it?
Maybe John Edwards can answer that question.