To my followers, you may have noticed my radio silence for the last couple of weeks. This has been largely due to the harassment allegations against Cain. Please read my following remarks thoroughly to fully understand my journey of thought.
Before I begin, let’s consider the non-negotiables.
I have long stated that there are two simple characteristics guiding my search for a presidential nominee: 1) values and 2) judgement. I don’t believe being President requires being a lifelong politician. I don’t believe the ability to memorize the names of foreign dignitaries renders someone capable of strong foreign policy. And, I was never one of those people who said Obama couldn’t be president because he was a community organizer and therefore “unqualified.” The easy argument on Obama was that 1) his values did not align with mine, and 2) his judgement was lacking when I evaluated who his associates were. Point settled.
When it comes to the rule of law, there is one reigning precept: innocent until proven guilty.
So, in sum, there are three litmus tests at play in my assessment of the current Cain situation: 1) values, 2) judgement, and 3) innocent until proven guilty.
You have undoubtedly read the 100+ articles circulating from Politico, the Associated Press, and an assortment of other news agencies who didn’t want to miss their share of the ratings pie. So, I will not attempt to regurgitate them. Rather, I will briefly outline my evolution of thought about the allegations.
THE FIRST ALLEGATION
After the initial allegation, I was undaunted. It was anonymous. There were no details. An anonymous allegation does not amount to evidence, and certainly cannot trump innocence until proven guilty…no matter what the media may try to sensationalize.
Let’s pretend someone came out of the woodwork and alleged that Obama’s dear wife-husband Michelle is actually a man who had surgery to become a woman (a reasonable belief, considering her odd resemblance to Worf from Star Trek). The anonymous source knows this because she worked with Michelle and had surgery done at the same clinic. Does that amount to evidence?
THE SECOND ALLEGATION
Similar to the first, the second allegation was anonymous. There were no details. It was not evidence. Then, in a surprising (sarcasm) development, we had a break that the attorney of one of the accusers was filing a plea with the NRA to release the settlement agreement to set the record straight and clear the reputation of the one who filed the complaint. But, wait…the person was anonymous. How did it make sense to clear the reputation of someone who was anonymous? May I suggest dictionary.com?
The attorney persuaded the NRA to waive confidentiality. And I waited anxiously, hoping the gritty details would be known one way or another to settle my voting evaluation. His client was cleared to speak to the press. One problem. The client chose not to speak to the press. And, wait–Cain was apparently truthful when he said that he never signed a settlement. He no longer worked there at the time of the claim.
Conveniently, the salacious details of the alleged infraction would not be released, despite the waiver of confidentiality.
THE THIRD ALLEGATION
What the media is regarding as a third allegation was non-specific. An Iowa radio host described what he regarded as “inappropriate and awkward” comments from Cain toward women who worked at his station. And, more tantalizing yet, the source was not anonymous. Ironically, the details were instead the ones in anonymity. Absent from the story were details about the purported actions.
As I observed each of these situations, I remained committed to the idea of innocence until proven guilty. But, that is where things began to unravel for me. Though I perceive my political opinions to be independent of outside sources, I allowed the media to do something that I would not realize until a couple of weeks later. Like an attorney, the media didn’t have to attempt to sway my perception of innocence…rather, they merely had to raise doubt about Cain’s values and judgement.
In the Cain campaign’s bungling of a coordinated response, it became evident exactly how “not a career politician” Cain truly was. Even if the allegations were true, an astute politician would claim innocence, kill the story and get back to controlling the discussion. The Cain campaign could not find it’s dagger.
Though I didn’t doubt the veracity of Cain’s statement of innocence, my waning support stemmed from my concern about how well Cain could fend an attack. If he became the nominee, it will not be the last. And, therefore, I found myself unable to bring myself to post pro-Cain articles, considering my own doubts about his electability.
THE FOURTH ALLEGATION
Finally, this week, we had a face to put with actual, tangible allegations–Sharon Bialek. Much like a presidential announcement, she and her infamous attorney Gloria Allred, called a press conference with much pomp and circumstance. I watched with rapt attention to determine whether the first candidate I had ever financially supported had disproved my loyalty.
Of everything Bialek said, one quote stood out conspicuously. As Cain allegedly pulled Bialek’s head toward his crotch, she says she responded, “What are you doing? You know I have a boyfriend, right?”
Huh? You’re allegedly receiving an “unwanted” advance, and that’s your response?
Suddenly, my fraud radar was blaring. And the ensuing details would explain why:
Here we have a woman who allegedly, innocently, went to meet a man for a business meeting in a hotel room. Here we have a woman who said she was not going public to receive financial gain, yet will undoubtedly hit the television circuit and be paid or at least comped for appearances. Here we have a woman who was fired repeatedly and has worked for 9 companies in the last 17 years. Here we have a woman who filed for bankruptcy twice and filed a failed paternity lawsuit in 1999. Here we have a woman whose former co-workers are already describing her as a “rabble-rouser” and someone who would “claim harassment” at the drop of a hat. Here we have a woman who is from Chicago (home of all things Obama). Here we have a woman who lived in the same building as former Obama adviser David Axelrod. Here we have a woman, who by her own admission, was encouraged to go public by an acquaintance who “thought she might have been one of the anonymous women” and encouraged her to seek out Gloria Allred. Here we have a woman who sought out Cain at a TeaCon rally this summer, hugged him, talked affably with him, and had her picture taken with him (all described in detail by an identified witness). Here we have a woman who says she told her then-boyfriend about the incident when it happened 14 years ago; yet she only told her new boyfriend about it within the last 2 weeks (despite the months Cain has been campaigning). Here we have a woman who, according to a co-worker, was fired from the NRA for false allegations of sexual harassment about her boss. Here we have a woman who has been out of work for two years, and has had at least six liens against her totaling around $26,000 since 2000. Here we have a woman who better belongs at Occupy Wall Street.
THE FIFTH ALLEGATION
Then, today, another allegation surfaced. This one seemed the most conspicuous to date. According to the article:
Donna Donella, 40, of Arlington, said the USAID paid Cain to deliver a speech to businessmen and women in Egypt in 2002, during which an Egyptian businesswoman in her 30s asked Cain a question.
“And after the seminar was over,” Donella told The Washington Examiner, “Cain came over to me and a colleague and said, ‘Could you put me in touch with that lovely young lady who asked the question, so I can give her a more thorough answer over dinner?'”
Donella, who no longer works for USAID, said they were suspicious of Cain’s motives and declined to set up the date. Cain responded, “Then you and I can have dinner.” That’s when two female colleagues intervened and suggested they all go to dinner together, Donella said.
Cain exhibited no inappropriate sexual behavior during the dinner, though he did order two $400 bottles of wine and stuck the women with the bill, she said.
So? Doesn’t this play into every stereotype of why women shouldn’t belong in a professional work environment? Pretend that the person in the crowd who asked the question was a man. Does the story read differently?
This is the first moment where I said out loud to myself, “This is just plain stupid.”
Since the previous remarks, it has also been disclosed that one of the early anonymous women was outed. As it would so happen, she works for the Obama administration.
I don’t count myself a conspiracy theorist. But, any news reporter who ever did a paint-by-number as a kid can connect these details. There appears to be a commonality.
Alas, here I find myself. Having come full circle, I have reclaimed my comfort with Cain. And, I believe others will do the same as Bialek, the face of the allegations, is speedily disproved by the media. The edges are already beginning to fray. Did you know she use to work for a radio affiliate of CBS? A few individuals who work in media have indicated that she has quite a reputation…and that details will be forthcoming…