That is the question being asked in the newest White House 2012 poll.
Ever since Politico broke a story about two women who accused Herman Cain of sexual harassment back in the 90’s when Cain was President of the National Restaurant Association, both he and his campaign have responded to the story sloppily. Spokesmen for the campaign initially refused to answer whether or not Cain was ever accused of such misconduct. The next day, after his spokesmen shut their mouths and allowed Cain to address questions about the issue, he responded that he was once in fact falsely accused, but an internal investigation proved the accusation to be baseless. As for a second accusation of the same misconduct, Cain initially did not acknowledge a second charge. And when Cain was asked about any settlement made with an accuser, he stated that he did not know of any settlement and that if any members of his board at the National Restaurant Association did reach any settlement, he hopes they did not pay much because there was nothing to the charges.
Then during a second day of questioning on the issue, Cain indicated that he could not remember anything about the settlements. That answer is a far cry from claiming that he did not know of any deal that was made with the women who accused him.
Between what seems to be a case of Cain slowly changing his story and a media which continues to look into the matter and find more women who claim they once accused Cain of sexual harassment, this story, is not yet fading. And for that, Herman Cain is to blame.
Cain knew that the Politico story was eventually going to break. He knew about it for ten days prior to the posting of the story on Politico.com. Yet he and his campaign were still caught off guard and they began to formulate a response to the news of the charges, only after they were made public and started spreading like wildfire. It is bad enough that the campaign began to deal with the story too late, but by all reasonable judgements, they handled it inefficiently as well. Prior to the publication of the Politico piece, Herman Cain should have come forward with a very public use of the victim card.
What Cain should have done, was create a storyline that presented him as the man they are all afraid of and whom they are preparing to take down anyway they can. He should have made it clear that the liberal media was trying to dig up false accusations that were made against him a decade and a half ago, and then go in to details which presented the truth, the facts which are that the accusations were investigated and found to be untrue. Cain needed to also state that there were settlements made, and explain the reality of such arrangements as common resolutions in such matters. First impressions are lasting impressions and if Cain created the first impression about harassment-gate, he may have limited the damage from the fallout.
Cain would have taken the wind out of Politico’s sails, and the issue would have been a three day story that died on its own and allowed Cain to stay on his message, instead of defending himself against anonymous sources that discussed anonymous accusers. Unfortunately, he is trying to play the victim card too late, though. Now as a third accuser of sexual harassment surfaces, Cain’s latest attempt to claim that Rick Perry is behind this story, now looks like an obvious defensive reaction. In order for the victim card to have worked, Cain needed to play before the story broke, not after.
Herman Cain would have fared far better by handling the issue that way, than he is faring now as the story drips out in dribs and drabs and creates the impression that where there is smoke, there truly is fire.
Some may say that it doesn’t matter how Cain handled the situation because the liberal media and establishment Republicans are out to get him. They try to equate it to political lynching of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas back in the 90’s. While I am a good conservative who gladly jumps on the vast leftwing conspiracy bandwagon, I personally do not see that as the case here.
While Part of Herman Cain’s appeal is his lack of a political background, Herman Cain and his supporters should not believe that they are immune from politics. They should also not try to think for one minute that they do not have to get their hands dirty by playing politics. When you jump in to the pool, you better be prepared to swim. The same goes for politics. You gotta be in it to win it. This is politics and if there was a sign that Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul or even any Democrat candidate was accused of sexual harassment, they would have received the same treatment. I will admit that Cain being a conservative does make the scrutiny he faces from a liberal media or little worse for him than if the story revolved around a Democrat. However, that is still no excuse for Cain. Is the liberal double standard a surprise to Cain? Is it a surprise to any Republican candidate? I think not. Cain should know by now that a as a black conservative, his defense strategies must be twice as good as a liberal’s defensive political strategy.
As it is at the moment, the walls are crumbling around Herman Cain. His campaign has been inept at damage control, Cain himself is showing obvious signs of frustration with questions about the story and that begins to signal an inability to deal with the pressures of politics and the story continues to produce new pages. And those new pages are not the media’s fault. It is Cain’s fault. Had he handled this right and revealed the full story initially, there would be no more news to report about the ugly episode.
Right now, all I am seeing from Cain is proof that as President, he would not be able to survive the rigors and realities of the politics that he would be forced to deal with. And I would hazard to guess that others are beginning to realize this too.
What do you think?
Answer the the White House 2012 here.
- Yes. Herman Cain responded effectively and handled the situation successfully.
- No. He and his campaign mishandled the situation and his answers have only led to more questions.
- It doesn’t matter how he handled it. The liberal media is out to hang Cain and no matter what he says, they will continue to pursue the issue.
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