It should go without saying (but perhaps it needs to be said anyway) that my speculation the other day that Herman Cain might come out of the current controversy unscathed is now moot. The amateurism his campaign showed immediately has continued (the Monday night interview with Greta Van Susteren no longer looks like a course correction so much as a blip). Leave aside for the moment that the more we learn, the more serious and credible the allegations appear to be. Pejman Yousefzadeh is absolutely right:
Can we agree that the Herman Cain sexual harassment fiasco is exactly the kind of catastrophe that is bound to visit a campaign that is ridiculously disorganized, and a candidate that is clearly not savvy about running for political office? I don't even care at this point whether the charges are accurate; even if we assume that they are not, Cain's habit of shifting his story in addressing the accusations, his campaign's treatment of reporters asking questions about the charges, and now, the wild claims that other campaigns are behind the attacks, offered with little supporting evidence, show the Cain campaign in a very bad light, and show that the candidate himself is confused, desperate, and entirely on the defensive. No one should have any confidence whatsoever in Cain's ability to survive a fall election campaign against a battle-hardened Obama team (and incidentally, let there be no doubt whatsoever that the Obama people are loving what is happening to Cain, and the havoc it is wreaking on the Republican field in general, as the Perry and the Romney campaigns are now getting caught up in this story). Republicans who want to win in 2012, should start casting around for another candidate.
The truth is that Obama has much better odds of re-election than a lot of people think. Neither Romney nor Perry is exactly a electoral juggernaut. But to nominate Cain would be to concede the general election in advance.
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