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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Herman Cain and Me

Once upon a time I wrote and produced print and television campaign ads for my local Republican club. I also helped with other things in the political theater that were not so noble. My experiences opened my eyes to the utter bullshit that is politics in this country. While I'm confessing, I acted for a brief period of time as press secretary for a mayor that was put into power by a political machine. The problem is that mayors of small towns in New Jersey don't need press secretaries -- unless they are so unqualified for the job they have been manipulated in to that they do need one.

I also worked very hard to get a fellow Republican elected to the local school board in my town. I didn't like him very much, but it was his turn to run, and well, we are talking about the GOP here. Anyway, after he was elected he got drunk one night and assaulted some cops in a neighboring town. Brilliantly (and drunkenly) he kept asking the cops if they knew just exactly who he was. Needless to say his political career was over. Mine was too. Not because I got drunk and acted like an ass, but because I put alot of effort into someone who did.

I know from whence comes my cynicism.

A few months ago I endorsed Herman Cain. I realized he was a foreign policy lightweight as well as being naive on a few domestic policy issues, but he came across as sincere and willing to take a stand. Policy comes and goes, but character is what we leave behind when we shuffle off the planet.

Now, according to a few women, Herman Cain is also a pretty seedy guy. One woman coming forward I could ignore, but five gives me cause for concern -- even though I know full well that anything is possible in the theater of American politics.

I flat out don't believe Sharon Bialek. She has a lot of instability in her personal life and she said that by coming forward with her story she hoped Mr. Cain would reflect on his behavior and understand the err of his ways. Her words sounded too much to me like that of woman with an emotional axe to grind as opposed to someone who was actually hurt in some way. She also read her statement relaying the facts of her story. I have never been sexually harassed, but my first serious kiss was from a girl who was a year older than me and who, in fact, scared the hell out of me. I remember every uncomfortable detail of it, from 1974.

However, having gone through a messy divorce with a really pissed off woman who was not my first kiss, I also know what its like to have utterly nonsensical accusations tossed in my direction. There is no single way to handle being publicly told you are someone you are not, but there are common-sense ways not to handle it.
  • I am bothered by Mr. Cain's insistence that he doesn't remember certain facts, people or places as if he is above it all
  • He also comes across as far too naive for someone who has achieved as much as he has achieved.
  • He seems weak in the face of personal discomfort
  • He is defending himself by attacking others, including that old Clinton theory of a mass conspiracy against him
It was also revealed today that Sharon Kraashauer, who filed a complaint against when he was CEO of the National Restaurant Association, also filed a harassment claim at her very next job. Some people either have crappy luck or are liars.

My endorsement stands but I am waiting for the pages to turn. I am will to give Mr. Cain the benefit of the doubt because of the character he has shown me so far, but I won't hesitate to abandon him immediately if it turns out that he behaved in the way he is being accused of behaving. For the record, even though I never vboted for him, I pulled my support from Bill Clinton for the same reasons, but you people were obviously not paying attention to either me or Bill.

Mr. Cain, you do need to do a better -- more presidential -- job in handling the accusations being levelled at you. The press also needs to do a better -- more objective -- job in reporting facts, not suppositions, as well as keeping their own political persuasions at bay.

This is part of the vetting process that we should have done with our current president. Unfortunately, in 2008 most of you people couldn't see facts for the fairy dust in your eyes, so we got Barack Obama.

I'm going to let the process unfold before I make a decision either way.

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