Big campaign developments

Texas Governor Rick Perry has dropped out of the GOP presidential race.  He endorsed Newt Gingrich.  So did Sarah Palin. Ex-candidate Herman Cain, however, endorsed “the people.

Gingrich’s former wife is saying that he wanted “an open marriage” even as he was making speeches about family values.

Meanwhile, Rick Santorum won the Iowa caucuses.  A miscount had given the victory to Mitt Romney, but it turns out that Santorum actually had 34 more votes.

So where does all of this leave us?  If enough candidates drop out, might voters coalesce around someone other than Romney?  If so, who?  Ron Paul is, of course, a major alternative.

Who do you think would be better–or worse–Gingrich or Santorum?

Cain drops out

Herman Cain has dropped out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination:

In a long awaited announcement Herman Cain stood with his wife Gloria before a crowd of supporters at his campaign office in north DeKalb County, Georgia to say that he will suspend his campaign due to the continued hurt suffered by his family from “false allegations.”

“So as of today, with a lot of prayer and soul searching, I am suspending my presidential campaign,” he said.

Following revelations that he allegedly sexually harassed several women while head of the National Restaurant Association, and most recently, businesswoman Ginger White’s charge that she had an affair with the candidate for 13 years, Cain’s poll numbers have dramatically declined.

via Herman Cain | Suspends | Campaign | The Daily Caller.

Cain fans, who will you support now?

Cain’s non-denial denial

Here is Herman Cain’s initial statement about an Atlanta woman’s contention that she has had an ongoing affair with him:

“Mr. Cain has been informed today that your television station plans to broadcast a story this evening in which a female will make an accusation that she engaged in a 13-year long physical relationship with Mr. Cain. This is not an accusation of harassment in the workplace – this is not an accusation of an assault – which are subject matters of legitimate inquiry to a political candidate.

Rather, this appears to be an accusation of private, alleged consensual conduct between adults – a subject matter which is not a proper subject of inquiry by the media or the public. No individual, whether a private citizen, a candidate for public office or a public official, should be questioned about his or her private sexual life. The public’s right to know and the media’s right to report has boundaries and most certainly those boundaries end outside of one’s bedroom door.

Mr. Cain has alerted his wife to this new accusation and discussed it with her. He has no obligation to discuss these types of accusations publicly with the media and he will not do so even if his principled position is viewed unfavorably by members of the media.”

via The PJ Tatler » Atlanta Woman Alleges 13-Year Affair with Herman Cain (Update: Cain Issues Second Statement).

What is missing in this statement?  (Hint:  Does he say it isn’t true?)

In subsequent statements, Cain has come closer to a denial, referring to “events that never happened” and “I did nothing wrong.”  But I’m not sure those are out-and-out denials either.

One might argue that consensual relationships should be private and have nothing to do with a person’s fitness to hold public office.  But Cain is a married man.

Some of you Cainites  (Cainanites?) rejected the earlier accusations of sexual harassment against him.  Is this any different?  Are you still supporting him?

And now Cain’s brain freeze

This sounds even worse than Rick Perry’s memory lapse, a function not so much of forgetting something but not knowing in the first place:

In an interview today with the editorial board of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain visibly struggled to explain his position on President Obama’s Libya policy.

The video is particularly damaging for Cain, who has struggled on matters of foreign policy in the past.

Asked if he agreed with the president, Cain said, “Okay, Libya,” and then was silent for about ten — yes, ten — seconds, before asking, “President Obama supported the uprising, correct?”

Cain then said he did not agree with Obama’s handling of the uprising, before adding: “No, that’s a different one. I’ve got to go back, got all this stuff twirling around in my head. Specifically, what are you asking me did I agree or not agree with Obama.”

Finally, Cain concluded that he “would have done a better job of assessing the situation relative to the opposition first, before I made decisions about what we would do” but did not spell out any differentiation on policy.

via Herman Cain stumbles badly on Libya question – The Washington Post.

See for yourself. It isn’t just what he says–and asks–about Libya. It’s his rambling, incoherent discourse that follows. This video is really painful to watch:

Yes, we like him. Some of you think the sexual harrassment charges against him are bogus. But shouldn’t our president have at least some experience that relates to his office? Shouldn’t he show at least some knowledge of foreign affairs and other matters that he’ll need to deal with?

The fall of Citizen Cain?

A woman, Sharon Bialek, has come forward with details about how  Herman Cain, currently running for president, groped her.  She is not even one of the three women who filed sexual harassment claims against him and won settlements from the National Restaurant Association that he headed at the time. Here are the sordid details.

Some conservatives are skeptical about the charges, while others think they ring true.  Here is what the conservative blogger the Ace of Spades had to say:

Sorry, I’m now kind of convinced of his guilt. He’s trying to change the subject.

Not reassuring.

While he attempts to hoodwink you into thinking this is some principled stance, what I see is a guy who does not want to deny specific details (did he meet with Bialek? Did he upgrade her hotel room? Did the meeting end on a positive note or a negative one and if negative, why? ), because I see a guy who is worried that his specific denials will be proven false in turn.

So he keeps to the general. The vague. Even while he says he will not refer to his accusers’ “vague” or “nonspecific” allegations, he ignores the specific and very un-vague ones, and will only offer “vague” and “nonspecific” demurrals in turn.

And what he’s counting on is that the conservative movement is so dumb that it will elect him as a nominee without every figuring out what the damage and downside here will be, and you know what? There’s a good chance he’s right.

We have become pretty dumb. We’re so damned eager to believe we seem to have forgotten that skepticism is pretty useful.

And yes, skepticism on both sides, not skepticism only towards his four accusers, while taking a completely unskeptical, believer-ish posture to whatever Cain says.

Guy can’t even bother to tell me what Bialek said was false. He won’t even say that. He writes a general slam of the media and expects the reader to conveniently read a denial in between the lines, despite it never actually being offered up.

We have a live, on-the-record accuser, who says Cain groped her vagina.

On the other hand, we have Cain, who… refuses to say whether he touched her inappropriately or not. . . .

So, it’s not a he said/she said anymore; it’s a she said/he refuses to say and changes the topic.

via Ace of Spades HQ.

Is Cain finished?

Isn’t it at least encouraging that for all of our culture’s sexual permissiveness that charges like this one are still damaging?

Cain’s sexual harrassment charges

A third woman accuses Herman Cain of sexual harrassment:

A third former employee considered filing a workplace complaint against Herman Cain over what she considered aggressive and unwanted behavior when she and Cain, now a Republican presidential candidate, worked together during the late 1990s, the woman told The Associated Press on Wednesday. She said the behavior including a private invitation to his corporate apartment.

The woman said he made sexually suggestive remarks or gestures about the same time that two co-workers had settled separate harassment complaints against Cain, who was then the head of the National Restaurant Association.

She did not file a formal complaint because she began having fewer interactions with Cain, she said. Afterward, she learned that a co-worker — one of the two women whose accusations have rocked Cain’s campaign this week — had already done so. She said she would have had to file if they hadn’t.

The woman spoke only on condition of anonymity, saying she feared retaliation. She was located and approached by the AP as part of its investigation into harassment complaints against Cain that were disclosed in recent days and have thrown his presidential campaign into turmoil. She said she was reluctant to describe the encounters she had with Cain when they worked together at the Washington-based restaurant trade group.

via Third Former Cain Employee Claims She Was Harassed by GOP Candidate « CBS Washington.

Keeping in mind that we don’t really know what happened, do you think these charges will–and should–sink Cain’s campaign for president?  Does the fact that this information was not made public until Cain attained front-runner status constitute “high tech lynching” or “the politics of personal destruction”?  Or do you believe that voters need to know this kind of information before casting their vote?

At any rate, here is a lesson for would-be candidates, including ambitious young people with a FaceBook page used to chronicling their every transgression and posting pictures about it:   With today’s “opposition research” as part of virtually every modern political campaign, candidates need to realize that any skeleton in their closet–anything they did wrong in public or anything they did that would be embarrassing–is going to come out.


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