"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

And While I'm Covering Sex Scandals...

Hermann Cain's campaign death-watch is running.   The sexual harassment allegations against him, to my mind, pass the sniff test, and will have legs.   So why are his polls still high, showing him leading the GOP field or in a dead heat with Mitt Romney?   Here's my theory.

There's a line in the old Dan Jenkins novel Semi-Tough, where one of the good-old-boy football players tells one of his black teammates something along the lines that American society is better now that a black man can get in a restaurant, but we won't truly live in a land of equality until a black man can get thrown out of a restaurant without people crying racism or feeling guilty.   (Jenkins used much saltier language, to be sure.)

We all wanted to like Cain.  There's something about a black Republican that draws our loyalty -- perhaps because black men have to risk so much opprobrium from the black community to be conservative.   We feel like we owe it to them.   They came over to our team at some personal cost.   

But the truth is that Cain isn't a very good candidate, and if we weren't grading him on an affirmative-action curve, he'd be recognized as the shallowest candidate on the stage.   He can't answer basic policy questions, and he doesn't seem to show much interest in learning policy issues on the level you need in a presidential campaign.  

And now maybe it also turns out that he's not a very nice man.   One sexual harassment allegation from a long time ago: maybe it's a hit job.   (That's why I'm confident saying Anita Hill was a hit job; there weren't any other allegations against Clarence Thomas.)    But four or five allegations, and contemporaneous documentation in the 1990s of actual claims?   That's too much smoke; there must be fire.

Time to throw Hermann out of the restaurant.

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