The PJ Tatler

The Cain Mutiny: Good Questions, Dumb Questions

Good questionWhy was Sharon Bialek fired/terminated from the NRA? We don’t have an answer to this question. But the answer might tell us something useful about her and her allegations, or about Cain and his tenure at the NRA. Or nothing at all. But it’s a good question.

Dumb questionWhy is this coming out now, and not when Herman Cain ran for Senate? Or when his talk show was flourishing? Because he never got out of the Georgia primary, and in all likelihood none of the accusers even knew he was running, or ever heard his talk show. Most hard core bloggers didn’t know about this Senate run until relatively recently. These accusations are coming out now because he’s leading in the polls and is in the headlines every day. Duh.

With two settlements from his time at the NRA in his past, these accusations were bound to come out at some point. Would you rather these accusations came out now, or next October after Cain is the GOP nominee? Processing this kind of information is what the primaries are for.

Dumb questionWhy isn’t she suing Cain now? The statute of limitations on what she alleged he did has long run out. And not being an employee of the NRA when the meeting is supposed to have occurred, she wasn’t in a position to file a harassment complaint at the time. She apparently did tell two others about it at the time, which supports her credibility, as does her coming out with a specific story that she has attached her name and face to. Bialek surely knows that she is in for a major personal public examination now. Bringing Gloria Allred into the story damages her credibility, but we can only carry guilt by association with Allred so far. Bialek struck me as credible, despite the fact that she was standing next to a clown.

Good questionWhy does Cain get a pass for smearing Curt Anderson, and for jumping to conclusions against Rick Perry twice? Because he’s Cain, apparently. Or, you tell me.

Good question — What does the past week tell us about Herman Cain as a manager, or president? Irrespective of whether he’s guilty or not, Cain’s shifting stories and the attempt to shift the blame onto another campaign suggest that his crisis management skills are weak, to say the least. His own choices have hurt his credibility. President Cain probably won’t get to punt to Newt Gingrich when the 3 am crisis call comes in. If he does punt to Gingrich, why not just elect Gingrich? The mixed messages coming from Cain and Mark Block on Thursday and Friday last week don’t suggest “authenticity” or tell us he’s a real outsider. They just tell us that he isn’t running a disciplined organization. It will take a very disciplined organization to defeat Obama next year. With no record in office to go by, we have to assess Cain on his resume and on what he says and what he does now. When he offers conflicting stories, and doesn’t seem to be running a very strong organization, our assessment of Cain as nominee and president should take these things into account.

Good question — What should Cain have done differently? Decline to talk to the media until he knew all of the facts and had time to work with his campaign pros to develop a game plan. Plan a response and then stick to that plan as much as possible. Contrary to what some talk show hosts have said, that’s not a suggestion that the Cain camp go full Clinton and destroy the reputations of the accusers. No Republican can get away with that, mainly because Republican voters wouldn’t stand for it. If the facts were on Cain’s side, he should have gathered those and gotten them out in a time and manner of his choosing to take control of the story. If the facts weren’t on his side, he should have apologized for wasting everyone’s time and dropped out of the campaign.

As Andrew Klavan wrote earlier today, the world is as unfair as you think it is. Clinton, Kennedy(s), John Edwards…they all get away with their activities for a time because the press covers for them. We all know this. It’s baked into today’s political reality. The press that has run thinly sourced stories against John McCain (the NYT affair story in 2008), Ricky Perry (WaPo and the West Texas rock, this year) and Herman Cain while covering for Democrat after Democrat is not to be assumed to be a neutral player. It isn’t fair, but that doesn’t mean conservative blogs should try to out-do the MSM at its own game. It’s immoral, and we can’t.

A presidential candidate who is worth your time and support not only knows all this, but understands it and factors it into their campaign.