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Right Turn
Posted at 08:30 AM ET, 11/04/2011

Cain’s political demise: The end of a charming outsider

Herman Cain has plainly lost the image of a jovial, savvy business executive. He’s a mess. New allegations regarding his harassment cases come out every few hours, the latest suggesting that the harassment complaints were more serious — and should have been more memorable (shocking, I know) — than Cain has let on.

Politico tells us that one of the women “recounted her allegations against Cain to two members of the . . . [National Restaurant Association’s] board — sources who include an acquaintance of the woman’s and a person who attended the restaurant association meeting at which the woman lodged her complaint. The sources say the woman told them Cain invited her to his hotel room at the event, and that both the context and the way Cain phrased the invitation made her feel extremely uncomfortable, even incensed.”

Now, he’s making the ludicrous suggestion that he’s considering suing Politico. Most armchair lawyers know that truth is a defense to defamation; in this case, Cain’s admitting to the central aspects of Politico’s stories would make him a favorable witness for Politico, I suppose. Keep in mind that, in a lawsuit, Cain would be deposed under oath. Now, that’d be a real boost to his dying campaign. More than anything else, this loopy suggestion shows the emotional desperation and lack of rational judgment that we’ve now come to expect from his campaign.

Curt Anderson, however, does seem to have grounds for a suit against someone. The former Cain aide and now a supporter of Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been accused of letting the story out. The Post reports: “On Sean Hannity’s radio show Thursday, Cain insisted that there was a connection between Perry adviser Curt Anderson and Politico. Anderson advised Cain during his 2004 U.S. Senate bid. . . . Cain’s statement completely contradicts the assertions of [campaign chief of staff Mark] Block, who stated Thursday that he no longer believes the source of the leak was Anderson.” I guess in Anderson v. Cain, Anderson can call Block to the stand.

Forget the presidency at this point. Is there anyone who would hire Cain as CEO of a pizza company at this point?

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.

His poor wife decided not to go on Fox News for an interview. One suspects Cain has not been “forgetting to mention” things only in public.

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.

By  |  08:30 AM ET, 11/04/2011

Categories:  2012 campaign

 
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