I’d mentioned before that it wasn’t a wise (and certainly not honorable) move on Herman Cain’s part to personally attack the women who claimed he had sexually harassed them. It would have been far more presidential to just deny the allegations rather than point out how one of the accusers had an overdue library book in 1977 or the other danced too close to a boy during a Richard Marx song at the junior high spring formal.
White (said) that she was a reluctant accuser who decided to go public only after her name was circulated among reporters. But she also said she was upset by Cain’s responses to the sexual harassment allegations from two women who have been identified publicly.
“It bothered me that they were being demonized, sort of, or were being treated as if they were automatically lying and the burden of proof is on them,” White said…
“I wanted to come out and give my side before it was thrown out there and made to be something, you know, filthy, which some people will look at this and say, that’s exactly what it is…”
I’m not sure how her preemptively coming forward benefits her, but it certainly doesn’t help Cain. The Atlanta businesswoman claims their relationship began in the late 1990s when Cain met her at a National Restaurant Association presentation. That group is proving more dangerous for women than the National Rifle Association. I never even heard of it prior to these allegations against Cain, so I’m not convinced it’s not just a dummy organization Cain invented to meet women and keep his wife off the trail.
So far, Cain’s been accused of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and now an apparently consensual adulterous relationship. If true, Cain is a triple-threat of bad behavior — sort of like J. Lo but just low. Andrew Sullivan correctly points out that the media has unfortunately blurred the three — treating them all as one amorphously salacious allegation. There’s even the standard unveiling of the new accuser’s past. The following is from Fox 5 Atlanta:
Before our interview, we checked into Ginger White’s background. We found she filed a sexual harassment claim against an employer in 2001. That case was settled.
We also found a bankruptcy filing nearly 23 years ago in Kentucky, and a number of eviction notices here in DeKalb County over the past six years. The most recent happened this month.
We also found a lawsuit filed by a former business partner, Kimberly Vay, who once sought a “stalking temporary protective order” against Ms. White for “repeated e-mails/texts threatening lawsuit and defamation of character.” The case was dismissed; but was followed by a libel lawsuit against Ms. White. A judge entered an order in favor of Kimberly Vay because Ms. White failed to respond to the lawsuit.
I don’t agree with picking apart the background of women coming forward with sexual harassment claims — rather than, you know, investigating the actual merit of the claims themselves — because it seems to me to reward bad actors who pick their victims well (“Impoverished and unstable? Check and double check!”). Employers would certainly have access to such information if they wanted. It gives them the perfect alibi of “see, she’s crazy!”
It also makes no sense whatsoever in Ginger White’s case. She’s the only one of the women who is actually confessing to bad behavior. Does anyone seriously expect a squeaky clean history from a woman who knowingly engaged in a 13-year affair with a married man? “Ahh, Ms. White, so you were a nun for a few years in the ’60s. Did a lot of flying, I see.”
Now, it looks like Cain is “reassessing his campaign.” Yesterday, he claimed he was remaining in the race “as long as he has the support of his wife.” If he does wind up dropping out, this would prove an unfortunate (though perhaps still accurate) statement to have made. I’d also be interested as to his reasoning behind exiting if it occurs. Precedent would show that he’s likely to blame the “Democrat machine” and play the martyr who is protecting his family from further false claims by those desperate to prevent a Cain presidency.
Ultimately, Cain’s silver bullet would be a sex scandal rather than sexual harassment. The latter being the only thing actually relevant to his ability to govern. I’d be happy to put a hound back in the White House if it got us the economy of the ’90s again.