Wednesday, November 02, 2011


Well, the Herman Cain thing is obviously going to drag on, though I'm still not convinced that it's ever going to make a serious dent in the support of the True Believers:

The National Restaurant Association gave $35,000 -- a year's salary -- in severance pay to a female staff member in the late 1990s after an encounter with Herman Cain, its chief executive at the time, made her uncomfortable working there, three people with direct knowledge of the payment said on Tuesday.

...Disclosure of the scale of the severance further challenged his initial description of the matter as a "witch hunt," as did new descriptions from the woman's friends and colleagues of her level of discomfort at work....

But I really, really don't understand this:

Adding to the pressure on Mr. Cain, a lawyer for the second woman called on the restaurant association to release her from a confidentiality agreement signed as part of her settlement, raising the prospect that she could publicly dispute Mr. Cain's account of what happened.

What is she thinking? What is her lawyer thinking? Do they have any idea what's in store for them if this happens?

Is Karl Rove -- or the Romney campaign, or whoever is in touch with her -- telling this woman that the big boys of the GOP are on her side and no harm will come to her? I ask because that's crazy -- I know the GOP Establishment wants to destroy Herman Cain, but the GOP Establishment is far less capable of throwing its weight around in this situation than it thinks it is. Cain backers -- on talk radio, on Fox, in the online world, and in the Koch-o-sphere -- are going to tear this woman apart if she talks. They're going to find out where she lives, whether she's ever been arrested, whether she's ever posed for an even mildly flirty picture that's available online ... and God help her if she's a Democrat.

This is just a mild hint of the risk to her: we're told that she's "an Ivy League grad who works for the federal government." That's two strikes right there, to the wingnut population of America.

Were you surprised to see Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity circling the wagons around Cain? Did you think that maybe they'd be ready to jettison him, as a sure loser who's become a liability?

Forget it. Their brand is chaos. What they're selling, on radio and Fox and elsewhere, is the fantasy of armchair revolution (or, perhaps, motorized-scotter revolution). And look at the tea party -- it's not just a fantasy. These people won't back down and settle for Romney until they absolutely have to -- it would dilute the brand image.

Same for Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes -- New York magazine's Gabriel Sherman told us a few months ago that they were privately wringing their hands about the wingnut monster they'd created, and hoping they could find an electable champion like, say, Chris Christie for 2012. Well, that may be how they feel, but that doesn't seem to be preventing them from hosting multiple defenses of Cain, including Hannity's and Coulter's. That's Fox's brand, too -- Fox can't back down.


I know what most people believe about Herman Cain:

To understand the curious case of Herman Cain, you need to understand he is not running for president. He is running a publicity tour. He's got a book. Look for his show on Fox soon.

I think there's more going on than that. I think that the Cain campaign is largely a Koch creation, and that he serves a useful purpose, in Team Koch's eyes, as long as he can hang on. To some extent, I think he was just recruited at first in part to counteract charges of wingnut/tea party racism -- recall how Lloyd Marcus emerged as a tea party balladeer just as charges of teabag racism were becoming widespread, and recall how the story of Kenneth Gladney was hyped by the right. Backers of Cain may have a naive belief that raising the profile of black conservatives will help peel off African-American votes from the Democratic Party, just as the Bush administration hoped that immigration reform might put Hispanics in the GOP column in the future.

Also, Cain's message is useful as long as he's out there because, if he's connecting at all, he helps push everyone else to the right. (Romney's going to give a speech at an Americans for Prosperity summit on Friday. Think his tax proposals will move closer to 9-9-9? Yeah, me too.)

So I think powerful people want Cain to hang on -- and while Romney and Rove may consider themselves much more powerful, it's not at all clear that they are anymore.

Cain's accuser? Alas for her, she could be collateral damage. So she should be careful.


c u n d gulag said...

Is she crazy?
If she talks, I hope she's got fake passports and a job overseas somewhere she and her family can go to incognito.

But even then, if they find out where she lives, like on some deserted island, the hut better not have anything more advanced than what "The Professor" on "Gilligan's Island" could dream up.
She doesn't want to be discovered having anything above and beyond palm tree counters, human-powered bamboo golf carts, vine ladders, coconut phones, and a rotisserie operated by their pet Chimp, named Barack (for cover, just in case).

They'd be even better off if they used "The Flintstones" as their model for 'Home and Garden."
Fred and Wilma had granite countertops!!!
Oh, she's SOOOOOOOOOO screwed!!!
Don't come out. lady!
Hide, lady, HIDE!!!

ploeg said...

If Coulter or Limbaugh or Hannity want to do their parts to ensure that the eventual Republican nominee fails to win the general election, that's fine by me. 'Cause that's where we're heading.

And you're right: their brand is chaos. Limbaugh is openly rooting for Obama to fail, but that doesn't mean that he has to play nice with Mitt until Mitt makes his acceptance speech. If that undermines the Party, so be it. It doesn't make any difference to Limbaugh's paycheck.

As for Cain's purpose, we've seen this movie before.

the bewilderness said...

What is she thinking? The same think the people at Occupy are thinking. That people care about justice.

Right now she is full of righteous indignation. If she and her attorney have any sense they know that the deluge is inevitable. It is a question of if you want to call a press conference or wake up to a mob on your lawn.