Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Conservatives' Herman Cain Dilemma

Conservatives, for the most part, have decided to rally around Herman Cain after the announcement of him being faced with complaints of harassment while running the National Restaurant Association.  Both Rush and Ann Coulter have said these are racially motivated attacks.  All of this without knowing who it is that brought this to the attention of Politico in the first place.  

One could make a very good argument that much more is to be gained by people on the right at this moment in time.  Perry's campaign is in serious trouble.  Romney is facing a very serious challenge for the first time in the campaign by a person who is going to attract the conservative base much more so than Romney ever will.  The other candidates are sinking fast and will be in the dustbin of irrelevancy in very short order.  While it would be stupid for any GOP candidate to put these out there, it is not beyond the realm of possibility. 

The truth is this, this story is not a smear job as many on right are characterizing as.  The Politico story is true.  The Cain campaign was given plenty of notice of the story before it was released.  The first reaction of the Cain campaign was to say nothing.  Then when Cain decided to speak on Monday morning he gave an incoherent and not truthful response.  
“If the restaurant association did a settlement, I wasn’t even aware of it and I hope it wasn’t for much. If there was a settlement, it was handled by some of the other officers at the restaurant association.”
Hours later, he said that there was a settlement and it was a small amount of money, only several months pay.  It has since come out that the settlement was for a years salary; $35,000.  We don't know all the details of the complaint that was filed.  We have heard what Cain has had to say.  If that is really all there is to it, it was ridiculous lawsuit.  But, we don't know all the details.  

Most people on the right side of aisle have very strong feelings about what we perceive to be frivolous lawsuits and trial lawyers who seem to be out to make a buck off anything that they can.  Another thing that may not be being made clear is how common it is for an organization to settle these suits as it far less expensive then fighting them, it limits future claims of liability, and it reduces the chances of bad PR.  The privacy agreements signed are also a normal course of business when settling these suits.  It is also true that settling is not an admission of guilt.  It is the price of doing business in the litigious world we live in.  

When running for the office of the presidency your entire life is bared out for the all the world to see.  Anyone who has had this type of settlement in the past, it is going to come out.  Cain should have been better prepared to answer questions on this matter.  Cain also should have gotten more familiar with the details of the case before making any statements.  I don't think that anyone can say that they would remember every detail of something that happened more than dozen years ago.  

Cain is saying some pretty incredible things if you really sit back and think about it.  He is saying that he had no idea of how much the settlement was for even though he was the head of the association.  While it is very likely that he stayed out of the day to day details of the claim and the settlement, but as the head of the organization writing out a check that large would have to get approval.  As person who worked in the non profit sector for many years I can tell you everything must be coded and signed off on before the accounting department will cut a check.  It is really likely that he was not made aware of how much the settlement was?  

There is no way any honest broker can say that there is not a left leaning bias to many in the media.  I think they self identify as democrats at something along the lines of 80%.  This is nothing new, nor should it be surprise that many in media are going to handle a story like this about a conservative with glee.  But, that doesn't justify making statements that Mr. Cain is some sort of victim.  The story is true.  This is a relevant piece of information for voters to have when deciding whom they are going to cast a ballot for.  

Mr. Cain has plenty of time to repair any damage caused by this story.  All he has to do is be truthful and lay out the facts as best he can under the circumstances of the confidentially agreements.  But what he shouldn't be doing is calling himself a victim.  This information was bound to come out at some point.  The first votes are still two months away.  If Politico were trying to derail his candidacy as everyone claims, they would have waited to release this story much closer to the Iowa Caucus, when he wouldn't have had time to repair the damage.  

The fact that many on the right feel that this story wouldn't be reported if he were a liberal is a silly argument. While that may very well be some truth to that line of thinking, the point is that it should be reported.  Voters should have as much information that they can on a potential president.  They can decide for themselves what they feel matters and what they feel doesn't.  Someone reporting the truth is not smear job. It is their job.  We can all hope for the sake of the nation that they will continue to report these stories regardless of what party the person happens to belong to.  

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