Herman Cain must figure his marriage, his pride and his future depend on keeping up a stout denial. He doesn’t even know Sharon Bialek, he said in an ABC News interview. He claims he never was inappropriate with anyone.

The average person, I suspect, figures that with four or five (which is it?) claimants and $80,000 paid out in settlement money he must either be the most misunderstood man on the planet or a cad. He’s not apologizing. He’s not giving any wiggle room to his denial. Those with him in the denial camp can stick around if they wish. Those who figure he’s a liar and a cad are moving on. It strikes me as a face-saving, not a campaign-saving move. After this episode he’ll have considerably less support than before.

Now we actually know the identity of two women, Bialek and the first claimant, whom we have learned is Karen Kraushaar represented by Joel Bennett. She, her friends and colleagues say, is very “reliable.” And the NRA must have thought so too in agreeing to a settlement.

Whatever you think of Cain, the image of a businessman in control of his operation has vanished. The number of conservatives willing to take a gamble on him will shrink, and even those willing to suspend disbelief will still be face with the most underinformed candidate in the field.

The voters will be done with him soon enough. But you do wonder about Mrs. Cain. What on earth did she do to deserve this?