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Roger L. Simon

Politico and Cain: Return of the High-Tech Lynching

October 30th, 2011 - 10:06 pm

It took the mainstream media nearly a year to catch up with the John Edwards Affair, but only weeks into Herman Cain’s narrow frontrunner status for the GOP nomination, the goodfellas at Politico are letting the uppity black conservative have it.

They begin their “Exclusive: Two women accused Herman Cain of inappropriate behavior” this way:

During Herman Cain’s tenure as the head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s, at least two female employees complained to colleagues and senior association officials about inappropriate behavior by Cain, ultimately leaving their jobs at the trade group, multiple sources confirm to POLITICO.

The women complained of sexually suggestive behavior by Cain that made them angry and uncomfortable, the sources said, and they signed agreements with the restaurant group that gave them financial payouts to leave the association. The agreements also included language that bars the women from talking about their departures.

It goes on with a fair amount of unsourced innuendo. Is there any way we can ever know the truth of this? Probably not since the parties are said to have agreed to remain silent for a five-figure payment, a paltry amount in this day and age. One thing is certain, whatever Cain did (if anything), it certainly isn’t in the ballpark of using campaign funds to support a mistress and love child while your wife is dying of cancer or even inserting a cigar in the pudenda of an unpaid intern in the corridors of the Oval Office. Those are certainly more than five-figure infractions — more like eight-figure.

Nevertheless, Cain’s campaign is taking a body blow. We’ll see what emerges. But I would like to mention one thing. Back in 1991, during the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, I believed Anita Hill. Years later, my life had changed, and I came to meet Thomas himself at a social gathering. He turned out to be a delightful, unassuming person — it was hard to believe a Supreme Court justice could be so down to Earth and decent to be with on a social level.

I liked him a lot and am now skeptical that I was right about Hill. Maybe it had been just a high-tech lynching. Of course, I don’t know for sure — how can you in these things? But that’s the point, isn’t it? We all live on the knife edge of accusation. I’m the CEO of a media company and I am frequently concerned that I will be sued for sexual harassment. I’m not that kind of person at all, but given the way things are now, you can’t be too careful. I dare not compliment a woman on her hairdo in the workplace for fear I am open to suit.

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