Many male bloggers were beside themselves. Gloria Allred! Ha! What a scream — the woman never far from a celebrity claimant! That was the reaction when news hit that a new Herman Cain accuser, this one represented by the celebrity attorney, would be stepping forward.

But then we heard this was not a case of sexual harassment because the accuser, Sharon Bialek, had been let go by the National Restaurant Association before the alleged encounter in July 1997. Instead, she described an effort, post-employment, to obtain Cain’s help in getting a new job.

According to Bialek, after a dinner Cain parked his car, asked if she wanted a job, grabbed under her skirt and pulled her head toward his crotch. Not so funny any more, is it? Essentially, she’s making a claim of sexual assault. Allred held up two declarations, under penalty of perjury, from people whom Bialek told about the incident at the time.

Perhaps Bialek is a publicity hound. Maybe there is a book deal in the future. Maybe this was just a “date” (in Cain’s mind) gone bad. But at this point we are reaching critical mass and the picture being painted is of someone who sounds remarkably like the portrait of Bill Clinton painted by his opponents. Conservatives sneered then at Clinton, pointing to women who at one time or another claimed that he behaved boorishly.

Everyone will now scramble to investigate this woman, and perhaps the other three women will now step forward. Cain will be inundated with questions. It’s hard to imagine how this avoids devolving into a distasteful, tawdy circus. Cain is either the most unfortunate lobbyist ever to grace D.C., or he’s a pig. Right now, he’s a candidate whose past has completely submerged his presidential run.