Search This Blog

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

9-9-9. Herman Cain's sexual harassment nightmare.

Herman Cain, the African-American republican who has become the front runner in the GOP presidential race has been accused of sexual harassment. Over the last week, there have been allegations that 4 women at different times about 12 - 15 years ago, accused the married Cain of sexual inappropriate conduct while he was president of the National Restaurant association. All of the four accusers worked for the organisation while he was employed there.

After Politico ran the initial story about 2 of the allegations, Cain denied ever sexually harassing anyone, and accused the liberal media of blackening his name and the Rick Perry camp (one of the other Republican candidates) of leaking the story to the media. As the current front-runner in the Republican race, this is the period in the campaign that Cain should be introducing himself and his political policies to the American voting public. Instead,  his campaign finds itself bombarded with questions from the press re these allegations. Cain's lambasting of the press and now refusing to answer any further questions about the harassment allegations just makes him come across as arrogant.

Cain is doing the classic deny deny deny awhile BLAMING the alleged victims. This candidate who denies racism exists in America, who says the poor are lazy which is why they aren't rich and the jobless are at fault for not having jobs, has suddenly decided that racism does exist after all. His defenders have gone on record to call this a 'high-tech lynching' and a witch hunt. His PAC has released a statement that Cain's opponents do not want to see a high-achieving black man do well. His defenders who would tear anyone to pieces for 'playing the race card' are now playing the race card themselves. "In the eyes of the liberal media, Herman Cain is just another uppity black American who has had the audacity to leave the liberal plantation," Brent Bozell, the head of the conservative Media Research Center, wrote on the conservative website

I believe in the right for Black people to support and vote for whichever party they choose - Democrat, Republican or any of the fringe parties. No party should consider it has a monopoly on what a race of people should believe or think. Being black does not mean a whole race should all think or act alike. It is healthy that people have different political beliefs and affiliations. However just like most Turkeys will not be voting for Thanksgiving or Christmas, it should not surprise the Republican party that many people of colour in America do not feel at home in a party that embraces a loony racist fringe like the Tea party and promulgates policies that usually negatively impact African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans.

Unfortunately for Cain, he has been caught out changing his story. First he could not remember there had ever been any harassment allegations against him, then he denied there had ever been a settlement by the National Restaurant Association, then he remembered one settlement, then he called the women liars, then after it was confirmed the National Restaurant Association had reached a settlement with TWO women, he said he was unaware of this. I find it hard ot believe that if TWO women separately file sexual harassment charges against the chief executive of an organisation, he wouldn't eventually be informed by Human Resources who would also want to have his side of the story. It doesn't sound very likely that if Cain was innocent like he says, that he wouldn't ever have asked HR how the allegations had been resolved. The National Restaurant Association has now gone on record to say there were harassment allegations made against Cain, and the women were offered settlements in exchange for resigning and signing confidentiality agreements.

However the most damning allegation has just been made by Sharon Bialek. A registered Republican, she alleges that in 1997 after she left the NRA, she reached out to Cain for networking help in getting another job; she alleges that at a meeting Cain reached under her skirt and pulled her head down towards his crotch. When she objected, she alleges he said 'You want a job, right?' The reaction of Cain's campaign? They have disparaged her for hiring Gloria Allred, a high-profile defence lawyer who is known for her love of publicity.

Cain's only recollection of any events of harassment? On once occasion, he once called one of the women short as she was the same height as his wife and maybe he was standing too close to her while he did so! If that was all, I think we can agree that a woman would have to be CRAZY to believe that constitutes sexual harassment and then actually file a formal complaint. Cain's campaign has called all the other women liars. However, it is now being reported that people know of a 5th woman, also an employee of the NRA at the time, who Cain was seen asking to come back to his apartment after an evening work function. This is a story that just keeps giving (and growing).

Cain needs to stop being arrogant in the way he is trying to dismiss this story that refuses to go away. If there is no truth to any of the allegations, he should say so clearly and concisely, produce documentation to prove that he categorically denied all the allegations years ago when the accusations were first made during his time at the NRA. He should then threaten to sue his accusers and Politico for slander and libel. If however, there is even a grain of truth to the allegations, he should look the American people in the eye, apologise for his bad behaviour and offer an explanation of what led to those actions and how he is no longer the same person who made such poor decisions in the 1990's.

Cain is not the first politician to deny allegations of wrong-doing. President Clinton initially did the same thing but then later told the truth and by doing so, saved his presidency. However, John Edwards, one of the Democratic front-runners in 2009 also denied denied denied. Unfortunately paternity tests later revealed he had fathered a child outside his marriage. Politicians are not saints - people are human and make mistakes but what usually destroys the career of a politician is sticking to the denial even when it is clear the house of cards is collapsing.

Do I think these allegations of misconduct disqualify Herman Cain from running from the GOP presidential nomination? I do not support Cain's stance on almost every issue and believe that in lifting himself from poverty and becoming rich, he has unfortunately forgotten what it means to struggle. His 9-9-9 tax plan is a joke that will negatively impact the poor who will pay more in taxes while the rich will pay a lot less - this does appear to be a Republican mantra - keep the rich richer and the poor a lot poorer.

However I do not believe these allegations of harassment should disqualify Cain's run. It is for  Republican primary voters to decide whether Herman Cain is the candidate they want representing their party and taking on President Obama in 2012.


No comments: