by Roxeanne De Luca | November 2nd, 2011
Originally posted at Haemet
Left-winger Eric Boehlert of Media Matters tweets thus:
Update: I just watched Cain’s interview by Greta Van Susteren, and he was clear and persuasive that there was no harrassment. As to the inept response to the Politico story, Cain said that while his campaign was notified in advance, Politico never specified what the allegations were and he didn’t know what their angle would be until he saw the story. He said that he remembered one of the women, and denied that anything inappropriate took place. He said that Politico gave his staff the name of the second woman, and he was not aware that she ever even complained and he could think of nothing that would give rise to a complaint.
Obviously, this description leaves open a myriad of possibilities, from the boorish to the legally actionable. Certainly, it prompts readers to scratch their heads as they try to remember what in the late 1990s constituted a physical gesture that was not overtly sexual but discomfiting. (I checked. The Macarena came out in the mid-1990s.) Suggestions from a boss to “meet in my suite” are equally ambiguous. Did Cain have a sheaf of strategy papers on the desk or a CD player with a Michael Bolton track cued up? (….)
If the story reached the board of the restaurant association, as Politico alleges, why do the chairman, vice chairman and immediate past chairman of the board all say they’ve never heard of it[?]
No excuse for not seeing that piece, either, Boehlert, because Insty linked to it. In the same post, Glenn Reynolds links to Stacy McCain’s American Spectator article, in which McCain decimates the Politico hit job. A sample:
Buried far down in the 2,100-word Politico article, below all the allegations from unnamed sources, were the names of five former officials of the National Restaurant Association who worked with Cain during his tenure there, and who said the harassment allegations — which they had previously never heard — were entirely uncharacteristic of the man they knew and admired. Denise Marie Fugo praised Cain as “very gracious,” and Mary Ann Cricchio said, “Herman treated everyone great.” So the accusers in the scandal remain anonymous, as do Politico‘s secondary sources, while everyone actually named in the story had only kind words for Cain.
McCain then directs us to @KarolNYC, who worked on Cain’s 2004 Senate race. Karol said that Herman Cain never bordered on inappropriate in the slightest; yet, Politico expects us to take the word of third-hand anonymous sources.
Then we have Da TechGuy likening this to Anita Hill’s lies, the Scooter Libby character assassination, and the desire of the MSM and liberal establishment to distract us from Solyndra, Fast and Furious, subpoenas, and the government’s avoidance of FOIA requests. Belvedere calls this “the soft totalitarianism that is sexual harassment” in reference to how easy it is to destroy a reputation with these allegations and how unsubstantiated they can be. He also links us to Cain’s response with Greta van Susteren, which makes the Politico piece look like the hit job it is.
She also called the allegations of sexual harassment weak at best.
“It’s not groping, it’s not touching, it’s not demanding sex, it’s that he had remarks they found inappropriate,” she said. “This isn’t dropping your pants and saying, ‘kiss it’. This is an outrageous attack on a black conservative who is doing extremely well and I think will be our vice president.”
So, Eric baby, three lawyers, two law professors, and a host of other bloggers are all saying the the claims, even if true, do not amount to sexual harassment; this is designed to be a hit piece, not actual journalism; Herman Cain’s close colleagues all find his behaviour to be above reproach; and sexual harassment can be a weapon used by women to extort money from companies. When have we eviscerated this story to your satisfaction?
Updates: Ed Morrissey of HotAir details the credibility issues with the unsubstantiated claims. There are questions about the fact that at least one of the women brought up the claims as she was being dismissed from the National Restaurant Association. Here, one of the complainant’s lawyers inadvertently implies that this is a pro-forma settlement, not any type of actual scandal. Karl of Patterico’s notes the difference between “inappropriate conduct” and “sexual harassment,” but I will note that ‘inappropriate conduct” is not legally actionable in of itself; therefore, saying that this is “inappropriate conduct” but not harassment actually strengthens the view that this is nothing more than a shakedown by money-hungry women.
What I want to know his how many high-profile, powerful men end up with these types of lawsuits. One percent? Ten percent? Or is it a situation where something like half of male CEOs will be accused of sexual harassment by women looking for a golden parachute?