Is Herman Cain really more of the same?
Herman Cain has made great efforts to set himself apart from the pack, saying how different he is. But his history as a Fed regional chairman, a lobbyist, and allegedly a repeat sexual harasser makes him sound pretty same-ol’ Republican to me.
Much of Cain’s history is well known. He loves to talk about his experience as head of Godfather’s Pizza, and doesn’t shy away from discussion of his tenure as chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
A less popular subject for Cain is his time heading up the National Restaurant Association, a restaurant-industry lobbying organization which became the 15th most influential trade lobbying group in Washington under his tenure. While he did write about his success in expanding the organization in his book, it doesn’t seem a common subject in debates or on the campaign trail. Could there be a reason?
Maybe Cain, in the current anti-lobbying environment, doesn’t want to be seen as too lobbyist-friendly. After all, one might think that a former lobbyist as President would roll out the red carpet for his former comrades.
Or maybe he was hoping those two instances where female staffers were paid five-figure settlements to leave the Association after they accused him of sexual harassment would remain a distant memory.
Politico reported on the two women yesterday, and has confirmed their identities through multiple sources. Cain has evaded questions on the subject rather than either confirming an indiscretion or accusing the women of trumping up charges:
In a tense sidewalk encounter Sunday morning outside the Washington bureau of CBS News — where the Republican contender had just completed an interview on “Face the Nation” — Cain evaded a series of questions about sexual harassment allegations.
Cain said he has “had thousands of people working for me” at different businesses over the years and could not comment “until I see some facts or some concrete evidence.” His campaign staff was given the name of one woman who complained last week, and it was repeated to Cain on Sunday. He responded, “I am not going to comment on that.”
He was then asked, “Have you ever been accused, sir, in your life of harassment by a woman?”
He breathed audibly, glared at the reporter and stayed silent for several seconds. After the question was repeated three times, he responded by asking the reporter, “Have you ever been accused of sexual harassment?”
Frankly, I’m disappointed. I expected Cain’s campaign to grind to a halt, sure, but I figured it would be over his regressive “Nein, Nein, Nein” Plan, demonstrated to raise taxes on essentially everyone earning less than $75K per year. Or maybe over his baseless assertion that Israel would be happy to repatriate displaced Palestinians, despite Prime Minister Netanyahu’s vehement opposition to any such action.
Color me surprised to see him getting nailed over a halfhearted and rather pathetic attempt to pretend allegations of sexual harassment and payoffs from the late 1990s don’t exist.
A former lobbyist, married for 43 years, who allegedly made inappropriate advances toward subordinates severe enough for them to get paid hush money. Sounds pretty much par for the course for the Party of Hypocrisy to me.