Unlike some people, who think all the allegations against Herman Cain can be dismissed by referring to a “liberal media conspiracy,” I prefer to approach the issue more scrupulously. I was once enthusiastic about Cain but now find my support waning for the following reasons, none of which have to do with a “conspiracy” against him:
1. Cain admitted to paying his latest accuser. You can yell all you want about how this was just financial help to a struggling friend, but consider the next point–
2. The latest accuser claims to have actual late-night text messages from Cain. We don’t know the content of these messages yet, but I don’t have good feelings about them. The words “text” and “pay” don’t go well together.
3. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s something about Cain’s responses to these allegations that never quite sat well with me; there’s an element of hucksterism to them. How would you respond to being accused of multiple counts of sexual harassment and a thirteen-year-long affair if the charges weren’t true? Would you immediately start talking in boilerplate about the “Cain Train” and your tax plan? The needle on my B.S.-meter hiccuped a bit.
That said, the latest allegations about the affair strike me as equally odd, for the following reasons:
1. This woman, Ginger White, claims to have had a thirteen-year affair with Cain. This tells me she cares about him in some way. You don’t sleep with someone for thirteen years and feel nothing for them. Why would she want to turn on him like this? She stands to gain from these strategic revelations. It’s a fallacy, however, to assume that she’s lying about the affair just because she might benefit from revealing it. Related to this point is the fact that–
2. This woman is not a victim. She says she enjoyed the alleged affair. It was consensual, insofar as any extra-marital affair can be (it’s never “consensual” for the cheated spouse, except if you’re Ayn Rand’s husband). She was treated well. She alleges no coercion or harassment. What’s her motive, then, for coming out with this now except to—yes, I’ll use the word—”derail” his campaign? She told George Stephanopoulos that Cain wouldn’t be a good president. Is that all she can say? A strange thing for an alleged lover to say if she doesn’t want to be seen as a political tool.
3. She admits the payments were not in exchange for sex and also claims that Cain never asked her to keep the alleged affair a secret. Some might think this undermines her case, but it does so in such an obvious way it’s hard to tell what’s true or false anymore.
I have no definitive answers. All I know is that, as a political figure, Herman Cain is starting to yield diminishing returns. Despite yells about a “conspiracy,” three accusations by three different women has to start sounding the alarm bells in your head. What remains to be seen is the extent of Cain’s financial aid to this woman. A successful businessman, with the consent of his wife, loaning a few grand to a friend over the course of a few years to pay the bills is one thing, but if it comes out that there were secret transactions of thousands within a relatively short span of time then you can’t ignore the creepiness factor. And, once again, what’s in these text messages? If there are any ; ) then I’m pulling the emergency brake on the Cain Train, grabbing my bags, getting off, and looking forward to wandering the empty fields without a candidate to support, because none of these guys is doing it for me.