Well, I read all the comments on my post Monday, “New Sexual Allegations Likely the End of Cain.” Glad to see my readers are as feisty as ever. I’m happy when you all give me a piece of your mind, because I learn from you. I mean it.
I’m one of the few people in Washington who reads on a daily basis a steady stream of wisdom from people outside the Beltway. It’s invaluable and gives me a completely different perspective from those I deal with around here. And so I respect the views of the many of you who disagreed with my Herman Cain piece.
But my view of the Herman Cain story, as reported by Politico, has not changed. And I’m appalled at how so many conservative think leaders have assumed they understand the motivations of the reporters involved and have skewered them in a manner that in several cases has been so completely vile.
I don’t jump on outrage trains led by others. I listen and make my judgments as honestly as I can. And then I provide them to you. I’m not part of the groupthink in Washington or in the conservative movement.
The purpose of this blog is not to offer an arena where everyone can say, “Wow, just look at these bastards!” It’s to give a realistic assessment of what’s going on and to provide genuine, brutal accountability for the president and sometimes the presidential candidates. And more often than not, the reality is so ugly that it leads anyway to everyone correctly saying, “Wow, just look at these bastards!” But not always.
The facts of the Cain story are the facts of the Cain story, whatever the motivations of the reporters. And the facts are what I’m focusing on, since I don’t know the motivations of the reporters.
Since many conservatives have followed the lead of Herman Cain’s spin artists and made Politico the issue, instead of Herman Cain, I need to make sure you are aware – and I know many of you are – that I regularly write opinion pieces for Politico and am paid for it. I don’t believe my view of the Cain story is affected by that, but if you suspect it is, I understand.
Also, I know the lead Politico reporter on the story, Jonathan Martin, from having worked beside him at the White House. But we are not at all friends, and my opinions on the story are not driven by a desire to protect him.
For all I know, Jonathan Martin was taken to Honolulu, brainwashed by Obama-supporting parakeets, and sent back to Washington to do his bidding. But that doesn’t change the facts of the story.
The report stated that there were two sexual harassment suits against Herman Cain, and that both women were paid by his organization to go away and not talk about it. Despite initial non-confirmations by the Cain camp, the story is true.
I agree that a man might say “Nice day today,” and get sued for sexual harassment. And that people may decide it’s better to make a payment then have a problem, even if nothing bad happened.
But when a woman who is just trying to do her job is put in a position where she feels sexual pressure from a superior, it is a very serious situation. If there is a possibility that the leading GOP presidential candidate did this, I WANT TO KNOW ABOUT IT. We’ve had enough deeply flawed presidents over the years, don’t you think? Politico, by revealing this, has done a tremendous public service, particularly for conservatives.
That there were two women who did this, and that both got payments, deepens my unease. And Herman Cain furthered my unease further yesterday by apparently casually lying about the case. In the morning, he didn’t know anything about the payments, and joked that he hoped it wasn’t for too much. By the afternoon, he not only knew about them, but offered details on how much.
I could sit here and rail against the liberal media – and the Washington media is liberal, believe me, I know them – and suggest there are vast conspiracies trying to take down a conservative and that this is a “lynching” and so forth. Believe me, it would be good for business around here.
But the truth is, I respect you, and myself, too much to do that. And so what you get here is my effort to find the unvarnished truth.
I sometimes err, and I may be wrong in this case. Many people honestly believe these reporters have shown bad judgment and done poor reporting, and I respect that, even if I disagree. But I don’t respect the viciousness of the attacks hurled their way, the assumptions of evil intent. And I won’t join in this.
This is the most important election since at least 1980. People need the facts, even if they are unpleasant. And they need honest assessments of what the facts mean. And that’s what I’ll always try to give you.
Alright, go ahead, have at me.