Herman Cain Is Finished

November 3rd, 2011

By Tom Carter

Herman Cain (AP)Herman Cain is finished as a serious contender for the Republican presidential nomination.  The decline of his chances to win the nomination may be faster or slower, but it’s over.  And it was inevitable.

Sexual harassment charges from his days as head of the National Restaurant Association are getting more serious every day, with three women now accusing him.  Granted, the media have jumped on him with glee early and often, unlike they way they dealt with Democrats under similar or worse circumstances, e.g., Clinton and Edwards.  However, these charges and his reactions to them — blundering, stumbling, and confused — are just the tip of the iceberg.

The submerged mass of the iceberg contains his personal inadequacies and utter lack of qualification to be president.  Among these are no experience in elective political office, no experience and little knowledge in foreign policy, and not a clue about how politics works in Washington.  Many were willing to overlook similar inadequacies in Barack Obama; others should be smart enough to avoid taking the same kind of chance on Cain.

Hidden below the surface is also the inadequacy of Cain’s campaign organization and staff.  Their inept response to the charges of sexual harassment are but an indication of the underlying problem.  That’s how we got that inane 9-9-9 economic proposal, which no one who knows anything about politics or economics can take seriously.  That’s also how we got such blunders as Cain’s idiotic statement on China’s nuclear weapons capability.  If his campaign staff is any indication of how he would staff his administration as president, he would fail miserably.

The sexual harassment charges by themselves may well doom his campaign.  If so, that’s a good thing.  It does bother me that the women making the charges have not been identified and that their charges are as yet very vague.  It also bothers me that the media has attacked Cain like a pack of rabid dogs.  On the other hand, one is tempted to say to him, “Welcome to the NFL, rookie.”  If he and his campaign staff can’t handle this any better than they have, their chances of surviving a campaign against Obama are nil.

My guess is the charges made by these three women against Cain are mostly true.  I had the same feeling about Anita Hill’s charges against Clarence Thomas — they had the ring of truth.  And I don’t blame these women for not wanting to be identified.  They would face the same kind of vicious attacks Hill suffered through.  The media would be camped on their front lawns 24 hours a day, their personal lives would be turned inside out, their families — including their children — would be harassed and embarrassed daily.  No would should have to endure that kind of public high colonic.

Bob Woodward was right when he said that Cain is a typical example of “CEO bluster.”  He’s the boss, no one had better dare to challenge him, and his inadequacies and lack of depth are to be covered up and glossed over if you want to keep your job.  That’s fine, I suppose, when you answer only to a board of directors that you probably dominate, with only a passing nod to shareholders who are largely powerless.  But it doesn’t work very well if you’re President of the United States.

Republicans need to make a sober assessment of what they’re trying to do.  Their objective, which I share, is to get Barack Obama out of the White House.  Of the possible candidates they now have in front of them to put up against a sitting president, only Mitt Romney seems to have a serious chance of winning.  Whoever they nominate will get all or most of the Republican base.  The key to winning is to get the votes of a large number of moderates and independents.  Romney can do that; I doubt that any of the others can.

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14 Responses to “Herman Cain Is Finished”

  1. Dan Miller |


    An article was posted today at PJ Media on the evolving Cain situation. It had to be corrected (down at the bottom of the article) to acknowledge significant errors that cut against Mr. Cain. The fact is that we neither know nor have any way of knowing what happened. At this point it’s all at best speculation based on what unnamed people may (or may not) have said, plus media spin and whatever spin the unnamed sources may have put on the situation. Those who like Mr. Cain and those who don’t spin the non-existent probative facts to suit their fancies.

    My only comment on the article was to quote Robert Frost’s poem, The Secret Sits,

    We dance round in a ring and suppose,
    But the Secret sits in the middle and knows.

    Can we get away from the ring? Or at least wait to dance until the music starts?

  2. d |

    Better to know now,than after he is president. We don’t need another disaster of Clintonian proportions. I don’t care one rats’ rear about presidents or candidates sexual habbits,but it sets them up for public damnation. Why go through all that,if we can avoid it,by bringing it out now, before it gets worse?
    He needs to do us and himself a favor, and drop out of the race,and go with a tiny schred of his dignity left.

  3. Dan Miller |

    Why go through all that,if we can avoid it,by bringing it out now, before it gets worse?

    What “it” should be brought out before “it” get’s worse? For now, at least, there are only vague and sometimes apparently contradictory allegations attributed to unidentified people. I will give them such credit as I think appropriate if the unidentified people say what happened and submit to questions about what they say.

    He needs to do us and himself a favor, and drop out of the race,and go with a tiny schred of his dignity left.

    Mr. Cain may decide to do that if some of the stuff being churned out by the rumor mills turns out to have substance. However, he would do neither “us” nor himself a favor by doing that now. I would consider it an insult to the intelligence and fairness of us all.

  4. Tom Carter |

    Dan, I read the PJM article. This isn’t exactly a liberal mainstream source, either. In any case, my point wasn’t that the charges of sexual harassment are true or untrue, but that the way he and his campaign are dealing with them indicates that he’s not ready for the big leagues.

    As far as these charges are concerned, I completely agree with d that “We don’t need another disaster of Clintonian proportions.” If these allegations explode after Cain is nominated, Barack Obama is going to be in office for another four years. Do any of us want that? If Cain manages to squeak through and win, do we want another president dogged by this kind of stuff? Nope.

    As I said, my instincts tell me there’s truth in all this. Think back to all the CEOs and senior executives you’ve known, how they behaved, and how they treated people. Doesn’t it sound plausible? Allegations aren’t proof, of course, and we may never know if Cain did what is being alleged (just as we don’t really know about Clarence Thomas). The stakes are just too high to take a chance, assuming the charges grow and become more specific and Cain and Co. don’t effectively deal with them.

  5. Dan Miller |


    Yes, I knew many business executives who behaved back in the 1970s and 1980’s in ways that would now be considered grossly improper. One in particular comes to mind. He would hug, in an office setting and quite publicly, attractive female employees and say, so that all would hear, “I feel that you really like me” or words to that effect. One of them countered, “Yeah, and I can feel that you really like me.” He blushed, promptly released her from the hug and I never saw him do it again.

    The situation has changed, to the point that even innocent remarks are challenged. That change had begun by the mid 90’s at the latest. I recall one of my former partners who would remark when someone made a really stupid statement, “Yes, Dear” as George Burns might have said to his wife Gracie when she had said something not otherwise worth responding to. He made the same remark to guys as well as to gals and was no skirt chaser. Would saying that now to a female attorney working in our office be considered harassment? I don’t know.

    I don’t know what, if anything, may have happened between Mr. Cain and his anonymous accusers. I don’t like and don’t give much credit to anonymous accusations or to second party anonymous accounts of what the anonymous accuser told them or what they had heard from others, also unidentified. Remember the old game of rumor? A whispers to B that the sky is blue. By the time that the report gets to H or I, it has come to be that cows are purple.

  6. Tom Carter |

    Interesting article on this subject by Jennifer Rubin in the Washington Post:

    His ability to conduct a semblance of a normal campaign has been wrecked. His own behavior — from the changing stories to the unsubstantiated allegations to the employment of a completely incompetent chief of staff — really renders any questions about the underlying sexual harassment allegations moot. …

    Now, Cain could stay in the race, I suppose, and turn each debate and appearance into a three-ring circus. He could risk losing all the goodwill and future book sales he’s earned up to now. He could continue to inflict humiliation on his family and his supporters, making a great number of his defenders look like dopes. But a smart business guy in control of himself and in command of the situation would realize the jig is up and any future public career depends on the disappearance/atonement/revival pattern that has characterized so many careers (including his current opponent Newt Gingrich.) A decent and disciplined man would not put his political party through this ordeal.

    So you figure he’s going to stay in the race, huh? Me, too.

  7. Dan Miller |

    Ah, yes. But Ms. Rubin better watch her language: She said Mr. Cain should “realize the jig is up.” I recall a headline in the Washington Post many, many years ago. It was to an article about riffs in the alliance between Russia and China. The headline was, “Chinks in the alliance.” Oh well.

    The debate between Messrs Gingrich and Cain will be on C-Span tomorrow night and will be carried on the internet. I plan to watch it. It seems very unlikely that the harassment stuff will be raised, unless Mr. Cain raises it himself. That seems unlikely. As I have previously contended, the “regular” Republican debates were a farce and we need some significant structural changes. The structure of tomorrow’s debate seems to be a big improvement.

  8. Tom Carter |

    I guess my sensitivity level in certain areas is somewhat lacking — I didn’t even notice the statement that “the jig is up.” But who knows; Ms. Rubin is a pretty smart young lady, and she may have been making a highly oblique reference to the root of the alleged problem. And that’s all I have to say on that….

    I’m going to try to watch the debate. I heard Gingrich say he wants to engage Obama in the same kind of debate if he wins the nomination. The chance of success in getting the President to agree to something like that are somewhere between nil and zero, I’d say.

  9. Dan Miller |

    I watched the debate and was impressed with both candidates. Here is a comment I posted at the Tatler live blog on the debate, in response to someone who said that one should be the Presidential, and the other the Vice Presidential candidate.

    I agree that one should be our next President and the other our next Vice President. My question is which should be which. At this point, I prefer Cain as our President and Gingrich as our Vice President, for several reasons. Here are the two I think most important:

    1. Gingrich and Cain seem likely to work closely and well together; many presidents and vice presidents neither seemed to be able to do so nor did, to the point that being an effective team has ceased to be seen as important as it should be. President Truman, for example, did not learn of the atomic bomb until after President Roosevelt died and Truman became the President. He should have been kept informed on that and other matters.

    2. Gingrich comes across as an “intellectual,” Cain less so. Intellectuals are generally unpopular. Cain, as a plain speaker, will be able to use the presidential bully pulpit more effectively; that’s important. Gingrich will be able to help Cain to grasp complicated problems and to devise solutions to them. Cain would do well without such help, but better with it.

    3. Gingrich, with much experience in the Congress, will be better able to deal with our beloved CongressCritters.

    As I thought would happen when the “debate” was announced, both did very well. Some had suggested that Cain would drool and fall on the floor and that Gingrich would walk over him. That didn’t come close to happening. They went after President Obama, not each other or other Republicans; that’s good. Both were raised in my estimation in the process. I hope that subsequent Republican debates will proceed along similar lines.

    In my less than humble opinion, none of the other candidates come close.

  10. Tom Carter |

    Dan, I saw it, too. One thing is certain, it was a much better way to do things than the mass debates we’ve seen so far. Maybe when it gets down to two or three candidates there will be more like it.

    My opinion was the opposite from yours. Newt is a very smart guy and a clear thinker with a lot of good ideas. He’s also been there and done that as one of the top politicians in government. Cain is a smart guy, too, but some of his ideas seem muddled to me. I’m particularly skeptical of this 9-9-9 business.

    Newt won’t be the candidate despite his obvious intelligence, good ideas, and experience. Too much baggage of various kinds. Cain won’t make it either because I think voters are smart enough to know he wouldn’t make it through the general election.

    One other thing that has to be said, however it may sound. Cain’s southern accent isn’t a problem, but he doesn’t come across well with all the dropped g’s and things like saying “yo’sef” instead of “yourself” and “he’p” instead of “help,” both of which he did tonight. Of the myriad things a president has to do, he has to represent the country well. I can’t imagine him at the same podium with someone like a European head of state.

  11. d |

    Remember the idiot speaker, Bush,Tom? So,now that there is a face and a woman to the allegations,ready to eat crow,Dan?

  12. d |

    Now five women accusing Cain,one comes to the media. If one man calls you a jackass,ignore it,if two men(or women)call you a jackass,get a saddle.8)

  13. Tom Carter |

    Here’s an interesting report on the woman who has come forward and is speaking about Cain. Interesting that the Drudge link for the report reads “UNNAMED CAIN ACCUSER WORKS IN OBAMA ADMINISTRATION…” Unless she’s a political appointee, which isn’t stated and is unlikely given her position, she’s just a government employee. Who says only the liberal media is biased?

    I didn’t like Bush’s fractured grammar and malapropisms, either. However, he was more intelligent than he got credit for, and I suspect Cain is, too. In any case, a president should at least be able to walk, talk, and look like a president.

    Are the charges true? I don’t know, but my radar is on high tingle right now….

  14. d |

    Well,jus cuz you-uns cant rite or talk good englishdo not means you aint smart. Jus means you-uns dont needa run for or b president of the good ole us of a. Well, he’d have to be more intelligent than he got credit for,or he’d be a complete idiot,I think,some of the parts were missing. Come on people,if you are gonna run for pres,please, take an English class, or at least,learn how to speak correctly. I’m the last one to correct someones written English,but I am not running for,nor do I intend to run for,office.

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