Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Cain vs. Clinton; Perry vs. himself

Herman Cain has had quite a time over the last couple of days trying to get a handle on how to handle revelations that he was accused of sexual harassment in the 1990s. His constantly shifting statements about the matter – first he wouldn’t talk about it, then he did but said the charges were baseless and there was no settlement, then he remembered there was a settlement of up to three months salary for one of the women - made him seem a little shifty, and has pundits predicting the issue may sink his rise as a leading contender for the Republican presidential nomination.

We don’t know about that. His campaign certainly doesn't think so from comments in the Atlantic. In any case, former president Bill Clinton survived just fine during in his presidential campaign run the sexual allegations against him by his paramour Gennifer Flowers, (here's some archival footage) who had a tape recorded conversation to confirm their liaison. That was a consensual encounter, of course, and not a claim of unwanted sexual impropriety. And Clinton did have to have wife Hillary publicly express support for him. Remember, the “I’m not some Tammy Wynette standing by my man” line on their TV interview? Will it be necessary for Cain’s wife to step forward?

Just an hour or so ago, Cain sounded positively Clintonian in describing the disparate answers he's given on the matter. He told CNN his answers hadn't conflicted when he said he was unaware of a settlement in a sexual harassment case against him: "It was an agreement. So it looked like I had changed my story. I didn't change my story," Cain told CNN's Headline News. "The difference between settlement and agreement, it makes a difference to me." Ah. Depends on what the definition of "is" is, as Clinton would say.

Regardless, sexual allegations don’t always sink politicians. But Cain still has some explaining to do – and his campaign would do well to at least come up with one consistent story.
And he’ll need to come up with a good explanation for allegations that could be even more problematic – that his campaign engaged in illegal campaign fundraising. The story got overshadowed by the sexual harassment charges but according to sources and documents obtained by one newspaper, an organization founded by Cain’s chief of staff and deputy chief of staff Mark Block and Linday Hansen footed the bill “for tens of thousands of dollars in expenses for such items as iPads, chartered flights and travel to Iowa and Las Vegas - something that might breach federal tax and campaign law.”

“I just don’t see how they can justify this,” a national election expert told the newspaper. “It’s a total mess.”

But Cain isn’t the only Republican presidential campaigner that has a mess on his hands. A video of Texas Gov. Rick Perry is making the rounds showing an overly animated Perry speaking in New Hampshire. Some observers have asked whether he was inebriated or on medication.

During a 25-minute appearance last Friday before a conservative group known as Cornerstone, Perry grinned widely, gesticulated wildly, repeatedly contorted his face and giggled at his own jokes while delivering a variation of his standard stump speech.

At one point, he launched into a riff on gold, telling his audience that he hoped they had gold stored ”in the back yard” because ”if they print any more money over there in Washington, then gold’s gonna be good.” He also cradled and twirled a bottle of maple syrup given to him by his hosts.

The Dallas Morning News, which has some experience covering the Texas governor, said it was vintage Perry “in the small bergs and big ‘burbs of Texas. Perry has put this excited and childlike charm on display in dozens of small gatherings. He loves a supportive crowd.”

He might love a crowd but "odd" isn't the best impression to leave when you're running for president.

Then again Perry didn't turn off Jim Geraghty of the National Journal : "Maybe I’m weird, but I really liked this version of Rick Perry. " Geraghty quoted some of Perry's quirky comments and said "if this is a side effect of his medication, more back meds, please!"


kantstanzya said...

I think there are a lot of things to find out about these "allegations" before we fly off the handle. If a Dem had been accused by anonymous sources about claims from anonymous women the press would have demanded more evidence before even covering it. As it is it is all about the allegations and it is up to Cain to refute them.And don't forget if you are a Dem these things are only "personal matters" anyway and shouldn't affect the ability to govern. Remember? Probably not.

The op ed writer is confusing the Clinton Scandals. Easy to do since there were so many of them...most of the non sexual ones only covered by the Wall Street Journal. What the meaning of "is" is happened with Monica Lewinsky when Clinton tried to cover up evidence sought in the Paula Jones trial. He lost his law license for lying to a grand jury and covering up evidence preventing an American citizen from getting a fair trial.

Besides Jennifer Flowers and Lewinsky Clinton was accused...not anonymously, by three women (Jaunita Broaderick, Jennifer Willy and Paula Jones) of forcing himself on them. He paid Jones $825,000 to settle. I have no doubt he paid off the Lewinsky family also. There is no comparison between what Clinton was proven to have done and the worst thing Cain might have done.

As to Cain's distinction between an "agreement" and a "settlement" there certainly is one. While the facts have not all come out yet, if Cain is telling the truth there was an investigation in which no wrong doing was found. If so I imagine the women were "encouraged" to leave quietly because obviously they could not work there any more. It would be common practice to give them a few months severance and have them sign a separation agreement.

If on the other hand there was something to whatever they claimed the company or its insurance company may have "settled" with these women to make it go away.

It is also perfectly possible that Cain knew little or nothing about it. Insurance companies will often settle disputes with employees (workman's comp a prime example) because they feel it is cheaper than defending them. It is very common for insurance companies to settle something at their sole discretion even if the individual or the company doe not want them to. This happens all the time because the insurance comapny is only looking at the cost analysis of defending it. It does not imply wrongdoing in the business world of the bottom line.

So far this whole thing smells. But I admit more may come out. Right now I wouldn't be surprised if this backfires on the Dems and their media allies. It will either be that or Cain is not telling the truth and should go away. That wouldn't apply if he were a Dem like Clinton, Kennedy etc. But Republicans do have higher standards.

Either way it will be a positive for the Republicans.


Neither Cain "the Molester" nor Perry the "White Supremacist" stands a chance at winning the nomination, let alone the presidency...

Garth Vader said...

Observer editors,

What about Media vs. Paul?

I would like for you to address the origins of the very obvious and coordinated blackout of the candidacy of Ron Paul in the Observer and in other mainstream media outlets. This blackout was confirmed and documented by the Pew Center, and is so pervasive that the Paul campaign promoted their latest fundraising effort using the catchphrase "Black THIS Out" (it raised 2.3 million dollars in 36 hours, getting donations from more individuals in one day than Rick Perry got in the entire third quarter).

Two weeks ago Paul released a comprehensive and specific plan to immediately reduce federal spending by $1 trillion and to balance the budget within 2015, both goals that a vast majority of Republicans would welcome. Yet the Observer did not print a single word regarding the Paul plan, in contrast to its extensive stories on "9/9/9" which is a tax plan that only addresses revenue, rather than the actual spending cuts which - again - most rank and file Republicans support.

So please answer this simple question: What is the origin of the Ron Paul blackout? Thanks.