Jeff Lord, bless his heart, again has rushed to the defense of a conservative accused of something bad. Jeff has a gut reaction to defend, defend, defend the faithful. It’s an admirable impulse. But it’s also premature.
There are good reasons to take the new allegations against Herman Cain more seriously than the spurious, outlandish allegations against Clarence Thomas 20 years ago. First, with Thomas, nobody had filed a complaint against him or even come close to suggesting a problem at the time to anyone in authority. The allegations against Thomas came out of the blue only after he was nominated to the Supreme Court, and even then they came rather late in the process — making them far more likely to have been spurred by pure politics. In fact, even then the allegations were so weak that even Joe Biden at first refused to take them seriously. The timeline of the allegations, as the FBI reported and as Arlen Specter (!) and Orrin Hatch made crystal clear during the hearings, did not hold water.
Now compare that to Cain’s situation. In Cain’s case, the allegations actually came five years before he ran for any office, 12 years ago now. There was no way they were politically motivated, because Cain had never been a candidate for anything. Furthermore, the allegations came not just from one disgruntled employee, but from two separate women. One allegation can be a misunderstanding, or an oversensitivity, or a case of job-related payback. Two allegations, separate and distinct from each other, are at least the beginning of a pattern.
It’s worse that at least some board members appear to have agreed at the time, with no political motive, that something about the cases looked bad for Cain. Yes, the “settlement” payoffs weren’t very large (by sexual harassment standards), but the fact that two separate payouts reached even five figures shows reason for concern that there might be some “there” there.
None of this means that the allegations are true — or, even if true, that they rose to the level of legally definable “harassment.” And as Jeff Lord said, compared to what Bill Clinton was absolutely believably accused of, this stuff with Cain appears to be child’s play. Nobody should convict Cain of anything, not even of poor judgment. We just don’t know what happened.
But we do know this: Two different women complained, formally, about Cain’s behavior, and they did so completely apart from any current battle. Both women were paid off in return for silence. That much is in the record. There is every reason for people to look into this further, and every reason for Cain to give a full accounting. People are falsely accused of all sorts of things, all the time. Cain merits the benefit of the doubt, for now, about these allegations — but only long enough for him to put legitimate doubts to rest. He has not yet done so. And if there is any truth to the allegations, he has no business running for president, because he would be putting at risk not just himself but an entire nation which might suffer dire consequences were he to get the nomination but then, due to this issue, lose a general election match-up with the Alinskyite, Mussolini-economics enthusiast in the White House.