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Blame it on Cain

[ 36 ] November 29, 2011 |

The news that Herman Cain is “reassessing” his presidential campaign after a woman’s claim that she had a 13-year extramarital affair with him became a news story once again illustrates the unfortunate tendency to confuse legitimate news stories with pure gossip whenever the word sex is involved.

The Cain campaign’s response to the claim attempts to take advantage of this confusion:

In a statement, Cain’s campaign called the accusations just another attempt to “derail the Cain Train.”

“The Cain Campaign is not surprised that another female accuser has come forward due to the fact that earlier allegations were unable to force Herman Cain to drop his presidential bid to renew America,” the campaign said in a statement.

The previous allegations against Cain all involve alleged sexual harassment on his part against his employees, i.e., a species of serious employment discrimination which is actionable under state and federal law, and they were, if credible, obviously of great relevance to Cain’s candidacy. A sexual liaison between consenting adults is a different matter altogether, but the Cain campaign is trying to take advantage of the widespread belief that sexual harassment is about personal sexual behavior per se, (or to put it more bluntly, that sexual harassment is just another word for crazy vengeful gold-digging tarts upset about whatever stuff women inexplicably get upset about), rather than about the abuse of power in an employment context.

Comments (36)

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  1. Uncle Kvetch says:

    Absolutely. And given that Gingrich’s sordid marital history has been common knowledge for years, this talk of “derailing” just comes off as so much petulant whining.

  2. c u n d gulag says:

    Cain: Others got away with this.
    Gingrich did it.
    Giuliani did it.
    Vitter, for Christ’s sake, was in diapers with hookers.
    All were forgiven.

    So, it’s RACISM!

    • Spud says:

      “Cain: Others got away with this.
      Gingrich did it.
      Giuliani did it.
      Vitter, for Christ’s sake, was in diapers with hookers.
      All were forgiven.

      So, it’s RACISM!”

      None of them are president either.

  3. Roger Ailes says:

    The Cain Train is always entering a tunnel.

    But seriously, Cain’s libel lawyer, Lin Wood, specifically made the distinction between harassment and adultery that Paul makes here. Of course, the campaign ignored Wood’s statement completely.

  4. Boudleaux says:

    A sexual liaison between consenting adults is a different matter altogether

    But, if his wife can’t trust him, how can the country?

    Wait, what’s that? He’s a Republican? Oh, nevermind.

  5. Warren Terra says:

    I agree that a consensual affair, however distasteful in what it says about his fidelity, should not be disqualifying in the same way that sexual harassment – and, in at least one case, allegations of sexual assault – should be. It’s just not nearly as bad.

    But there’s one huge difference: it’s probably an awful lot more provable. His alleged mistress claims that they were together for thirteen years, that Cain regularly flew her around the country for assignations, and that they frequently stayed together in fancy hotels and dined together in fancy restaurants. After thirteen years together there probably will be any amount of souvenirs, photographs, confidants, witnesses, and documentation to support her claims.

    Moreover, Cain denied the liaison. This means Cain has probably lied about his alleged mistress not only to his wife, but also to his supporters – and it may be easy to prove that he’s lied. His wife appears to be willing to tolerate a lot of lies from him – but he has to wonder whether will his supporters will do the same.

    Finally, Ms. White coming forward with her claims may not be the whole story. It may have emboldened another or others to threaten to come forward. It may be a message from someone, who has now shown Cain their ability to get Ms. White to come forward, and still has other arrows in their quiver.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I agree that a consensual affair, however distasteful in what it says about his fidelity, should not be disqualifying in the same way that sexual harassment – and, in at least one case, allegations of sexual assault – should be. It’s just not nearly as bad.

    Agreed — until I think about the lecture that Cain gave the unemployed about “personal responsibility.” Nor is he the only one – Democrats use the same language. Personal responsibility, fellas!

    Cain’s wife has my sympathies. All those years of Herman, and now this.

  7. mark f says:

    The whole Cain-as-haraser/philanderer has been very illuminating of the wingnut mind, though.

    Case in point:

    Shorter Verbatim and in toto Rich Lowry:

    One point about Ginger White: Cain defenders have been pointing out her various financial and legal problems. But if there’s one thing I learned from spending a lot of time reviewing Bill Clinton’s career, it’s that women who get entangled with married men in this way usually aren’t pictures of probity.

    Bitch set him up . . . by tricking him into a thirteen-year affair.

    • actor212 says:

      This is just an example of Cain’s multi-dimensional chess game: he kept the affair going on for 13 years so he could use it to set up his defense against the sexual harassment claims.

      After all, how could he possibly have been flirting with all those women when he had this tootsie on the side?

      And besides, that 13 year affair was just a sham he used to gather evidence that the white man was keeping him down.

    • Rick Massimo says:

      Shorter Rich Lowry: “Drag a hundred-dollar bill through a trailer park, you never know what you’ll find. Wait, why is everyone looking at me like that?”

      • thebewilderness says:

        Basically what you are saying is that there are women desperate enough to respond to Cain’s sexual assault approach the way he wants them to. By providing sexual favors for his assistance.
        The part I can never figure out is why the person desperate enough to agree to such a transaction is looked on with contempt. While the person who would take advantage of their desperation in this fashion is not.

  8. proverbialleadballoon says:

    Yup. Consensual sex is a whole different ‘affair’ than sexual harassment or sexual assault. When the first three women came forward with their stories, my republican friend tried to play the Bill Clinton card, and all that needed to be said was ‘consensual sex is not a crime, sexual assault on the other hand…’

  9. Njorl says:

    I’d like to take this opportunity to reintroduce my idea of the presidential concubine. After being sworn in, the president would be required to be sequestered for an hour with the concubine(s) (male or female, or even both just to cover all bases). Then we can safely assume that any consensual sex scandal would pale in comparisson to what goes on in that hour, and ignore it.

    In fact, for national security reasons, these sessions should be required throughout the president’s term.

    • Hogan says:

      To preserve our precious checks and balances, the concubine should be selected by the speaker of the House and the president pro tem of the Senate, with the chief justice of the Supreme Court casting the tiebreaking vote when needed.

    • firefall says:

      Well they always have for previous presidents, why break with tradition

  10. rea says:

    Gossip about celebrity sex lives is going to happen, even if it has little bearing on the celebrity’s ability as an actor, athlete, or political figure.

    The Republicans have a long history of using this sort of thing to trash the reputations of Democratic politicians, as Bill Clinton or Grover Cleveland could tell you.

    And Cain, along with the rest of his ilk, shows no reluctance to mess around with MY sex life.

    So, I guess, while in a perfect world eveyone would be allowed privacy for consensual sex, we don’t live in that world, and I’m damned if I’ll allow the rule to be that Republican politicians are the only ones in the world entitled to keep their sex lives private.

  11. Rob says:

    The fact that this isn’t titled “Blame it on The Cain” is disappointing.

  12. Moleman says:

    Wait a minute. You mean that the “Cain Train” thing wasn’t just Tim and Eric’s invention? That this madness was actual campaign rhetoric? I just want to confirm that Herman Cain is now, officially, unparody-able.

  13. wiley says:

    If he was keeping this affair secret from his wife, then he was leading a double life and that is evidence that he is an essentially duplicitous person who has little or no honor. That’s certainly not what I want in a president.

    It didn’t bother me so much with Clinton, because I figured Hilary knew and was getting hers whenever she wanted it. She’s no shrinking violet or wallflower and she’s not a victim. An open marriage in the White House is alright by me. It’s alright with me in my life, but I tend to end up with monogamous men and a deal is a deal. I wouldn’t end a relationship over an affair or the desire for one, but deceit is disrespect and I wouldn’t stand for that— not even once. You can’t love me and lie to me about something in our shared life.

    Of course, sexual harassment and a consensual affair are not the same thing, but a history of lying about your sexual relationships and the unwelcome advances that you’ve made is not an endorsement.

    • Ed says:

      “Getting hers” aside, the fact that Mrs. Clinton was/is not a traditional political wife is surely not an excuse for her husband to cheat on her. Turning a blind eye or forgiving a mate for past dishonesty and betrayal in order to preserve a union worth saving is not the same thing as an open marriage. Strong women with some personal power can also be hurt and victimized by men taking advantage of the sexual privileges our society accords powerful men, because power in our culture doesn’t operate in the same way for men and women and this is particularly true in sexual matters.

      • wiley says:

        Yeah, yeah, yeah. And the woman is never forgiven. There is hurt in any long-term relationship. Men can be hurt, as well, and often are, then told to buck up and take it like a man. It would be great if life and people were more fair, but who are we to think we could overcome the failure of a race (to paraphrase my favorite feminist poet)? Right? Later, she got a divorce and went on her merry little way and pursued her own political career. She wasn’t sitting at home wondering where he was like a dolt. She wasn’t shattered. I cannot believe that she was disillusioned. She knew who she married. She knew who she divorced.

      • wiley says:

        Furthermore, if a woman started to cry on my shoulder about how she just found out that her husband has been having a secret affair that she just found out about from the news and that this affair has been going on for thirteen years, I’d say, “STOP! Whatever has kept you clueless for this long is something I am not qualified to deal with, and quite frankly, I just don’t want to hear about it. Good luck learning how to protect yourself— NO— it’s not luck. It’s a skillset. Find a professional who can help you learn it.”

        What I will not do, is commiserate with the poor, pitiful, wounded woman, who had no idea. That’s not my problem. Feeling sorry for her, won’t help her. She needs to stop being a little girl, and to stop letting men treat her like one.

        • Ed says:

          Furthermore, if a woman started to cry on my shoulder about how she just found out that her husband has been having a secret affair that she just found out about from the news and that this affair has been going on for thirteen years, I’d say, “STOP! Whatever has kept you clueless for this long is something I am not qualified to deal with, and quite frankly, I just don’t want to hear about it. Good luck learning how to protect yourself— NO— it’s not luck. It’s a skillset. Find a professional who can help you learn it.”

          That’s telling them. But I’d wager that having these credulous weaklings cry on your shoulder is something you probably need never worry about.

    • witless chum says:

      If he was keeping this affair secret from his wife, then he was leading a double life and that is evidence that he is an essentially duplicitous person who has little or no honor. That’s certainly not what I want in a president.

      I’m always reminded when people say this of the relative marital fidelity of George W. Bush and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

      Honestly, I’d rather have a total amoral monster who’d do whatever neccessary, so long as he or she shared my aims of less military empire overseas and more socialism at home.

      But people who can be total amoral monsters, while still being effective are pretty rare outside the ranks of comic book supervillains (I guess they aren’t so great at getting things done, either). Damaged people that get into power tend to let their damage overwhelm them in the end. So mine’s probably as much a fantasy as a lot of people’s.

  14. david mizner says:

    I wish you’d called this piece Blame It On (The) Cain, in a nod to this Milli Vanilli classic.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwrL9MV6jSk

  15. Stag Party Palin says:

    Linn Wood: Steve, where’s Herman?
    Steve Grubbs: He’s on a mission sir. At the Ritz.
    Wood: Well, tell him to pull out. Immediately.

  16. cpinva says:

    if true, not all the adults involved were of the “consenting” variety.

    A sexual liaison between consenting adults is a different matter altogether

    if mrs. cain was unaware of it, she certainly had no opportunity to consent. as the wife of mr. cain, she would certainly be involved. this isn’t simply snark, as this could prove to be a major legal headache, for both mr. cain and his alleged “mistress”.

    in many states (va being one of them, i believe), cheated on spouses have a civil remedy available, suits for damages for “alienation of affection”. there have been some recent cases, with judgments rendered on behalf of said spouses, so this isn’t dead law.

    granted, mr.cain’s “candidacy” is (and always has been) toast, but the rest of his life may well have been seared in the process.

  17. [...] Weigel and Kaili Joy Gray hove more on the excellent point Paul raised yesterday.   Not only have a lot of Republicans and journalists conflated sexual harassment and [...]

  18. [...] Scott L aggregates: David Weigel and Kaili Joy Gray have more on the excellent point Paul raised yesterday.   Not only have a lot of Republicans and journalists conflated sexual harassment and [...]

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