Herman Cain?

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On a previous post, commenter Rebekah asked me what I thought of the Herman Cain sexual harassment charges. At that time I hesitated to offer an opinion because, after all, we are just in a he said, she said situation.

While I will remain agnostic on the truth of the charges, I do have some thoughts

Plausibility:

Life is unfair. We do make judgments on others based on vague impressions. For some public figures, such charges would seem implausible. In this camp I would place: Mitt Romney (far too cautious and political to do something so stupid); Barack Obama (whatever criticisms you could level against him, I just do not see this one as likely); Ron Paul (just cannot see it happening – it is the Federal Reserve he wants to screw). While an older claim against a younger George W. Bush might be plausible, I do not see it likely it likely during his period as governor or president. There are many political figures for whom such claims would be plausible, or at least unsurprising if confirmed. I would place Herman Cain in that group.

They’re out to get me:

Cain’s claim that such accusations have anything to do with his race are silly; they do have something to do with his running for president. His other claim that, “they” were against a businessman running for president are laughable (as if the establishment would hate a pro-business, former Fed Reserve guy!). I also gave little credence to claims that the Republican establishment was against him. At least I did until I heard that Karl Rove called the claims plausible (and made other swipes at the Cain campaign). Lest you forget, Rove is the guy who gave us “compassionate conservative,” “family values don’t stop at the Rio Grande” G. W. Bush.

Cain’s real problem

Cain’s real problem is that he is an empty suit. C-SPAN recently aired a Lincoln-Douglas style debate between Cain and Gingrich. In that long form discussion Cain was disappointing. He is certainly charming, and can hit Tea Party applause lines, but I did not detect any substance. Whereas Gingrich’s problem is that he is more an idea man, more professor than president, Cain’s problem is that he is more pitch-man than president. At one point he even, with a big grin, told Gingrich that he could go first in responding to a question. I did not detect any depth of thought, other than sloganeering, in his responses. I am not sure how well he would do outside of friendly Republican territory. I am not sure how well he would do sorting through all the competing interests and advice that a president needs to do. Inspirational and charismatic leadership can work well in the corporate world, where many things run themselves (meaning lower level –sub C suite – managers ensure they do). I am not so sure that it works for executive positions within politics. Reagan may have been amiable, but he was not, contra accusations, a dunce. Reagan possessed charm, but he had enough dept of thought to put it to good use. I am less certain regarding Cain.

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11 Responses to “Herman Cain?”

  1. Rebekah Says:

    Inspirational and charismatic leadership can work well in the corporate world, where many things run themselves (meaning lower level –sub C suite – managers ensure they do).

    Isn’t this what the president’s Cabinet kind of does?

    I definitely think Herman Cain is lying about aspects of the allegations. However, why the lady who came forward is surprised that he put his hand on her leg is beyond me. If you have drinks with a man and he takes you back to your hotel room, and he’s attracted to you, chances are, he’ll make a move. All you have to do is politely refuse and move on.

    And it continues to blow my mind why these women even come forward. What’s the point??

  2. david foster Says:

    “Many things run themselves”…maybe in stable busineses when things are going smoothly, but that generally changes. Borders Books, for example, might have run itself relatively well for a while, but that changed the day Amazon was launched. (By analogy: it’s been observed that the officers who do well in the peacetime Army are not necessarily those who do well once the shooting starts. IIRC, General Marshall had to replace a very high % of commanders at Division level and above in the immediate pre-WWII and early-WWII era.)

    Cain’s experience at Godfather Pizza was in a turn-it-around-or-get-rid-of-it environment.

  3. Default User Says:

    @Rebekah
    I probably downplayed the skills of corporate CEO to make a point. A CEO does need to be able to grasp issues and make decisions. I just got the impression that Cain’s solutions were more gloss then depth. I am not claiming that Cain is stupid, his scientific/mathematical education and background makes that unlikely. My point was that a cheerleading CEO could work as head of an established company in a way it would not work for a nation in trouble. The challenges facing a CEO are far narrower than the challenges facing a president.

    I suppose the women come forward (assuming the stories are true), because Cain is now running for president. Heading a business lobby is one thing, but seeking to lead the country is another. I can see how an accuser might feel that “the public needs to know” about a potential president in a way they do not “need to know” about head of the National Restaurant Association. I am not naïve enough to belief that accusers were completely lacking in political motivations (either their own ideology, or “suggestions” by others with a political motive).

    [One private investigator claims that Cain is innocent, proved by voice analysis]

  4. Default User Says:

    @ david foster
    See my reply to Rebekah.

    I was probably too dismissive of the skills of CEO, and Cain in particular. However, I was disappointed (for want of a better phrase) in Cain’s performance in the long form discussion with Newt.

    He is probably better than Perry though: at least he can remember this 9-9-9 plan (Perry would call it the 9-9-… er… oops plan)

  5. BSD Says:

    Rebekah:

    I believe one of the women stated that Cain attempted to force her to give him oral sex in exchange for a job. And she seemed pretty shaken up about it.

    Realistically, yes, people do need to know, but imagine you were assaulted, and every day you would have to see your assailant on t.v., leading a nation, talking about what a good person he is? Holy fuck, I think I’d hang myself. These women are brave.

  6. Rebekah Says:

    I’ve never seen or heard any of the women say he forced them to do anything, just that he behaved inappropriately at work, business dinners, etc. And even though the allegations could be false, something tells me Herman Cain isn’t completely innocent – but I also feel the same way about the women.

    The only explanation that makes any possible sense to me is that the women felt some moral obligation to “warn” people about him, like you and Default have said. Maybe I’m just selfish and cowardly, but I wouldn’t do it. I wouldn’t feel it was my job to vet a candidate for president. I would find it harder to talk about it again than to see him as president.

    I was forced at knife point into my car a few years ago, and ended up running before anything bad happened. When the police contacted me a few weeks later b/c they thought they caught the man, I wanted no part of it. I realize it’s nothing like actually enduring an assault, but it was traumatic. My best friend was raped freshman year in college on a date and never talked about it except to one or two friends.

    People handle things differently. I respect a person who legitimately speaks out about abuse and assault, but I don’t think it’s wrong not to alert the world if you’re more comfortable not doing so.

  7. BSD Says:

    The fourth woman who came forward (and the only one I saw) said he tried to physically force her to give him head. Her name is Sharon Bialek.

    I don’t think that we should stop standing up for what’s right because of a fear of what people might say about us.

  8. Rebekah Says:

    And he said he didn’t. I she felt like she should say something, why didn’t she speak up when it happened?

    Making the choice not to talk about something doesn’t mean a person isn’t “standing up for what is right,” it means it’s their life and their choice whether they want discuss painful/embarrassing events and give others access to these things.

  9. BSD Says:

    I always wondered why people feel shame over something that is done to them.

    The people who commit the crimes should feel shame and embarrassment. Not the victims.

    So why is it often the reverse?

  10. BSD Says:

    A lot of these women spoke up when it happened and were paid off by Cain himself.

  11. chic noir Says:

    Ron Paul (just cannot see it happening – it is the Federal Reserve he wants to screw).

    LOLROF

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