Cain on sex charges: I didn’t, but if I did…

UPDATE (7 p.m. PDT): New but sketchy allegations against Herman Cain of sexual harassment continue to surface, the latest I heard from an unnamed man (at least in the report I heard) who said he witnessed some of the behavior and that it was well known at the National Restaurant Association, where Cain was an official (a lobbyist). No doubt this was either started or is being pushed along and/or cheered by political opponents of Cain, including rivals within his own Republican Party — politics is nasty. But all the public might want to know is — is it true?

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UPDATE (2:58 p.m. PDT): Since posting this a couple of hours or so ago, it has been reported that a third woman has surfaced, although anonymously, if that makes sense, to say she was sexually harassed by Herman Cain, but did not pursue a complaint when she found out he already had one against him. Accusations seem unfair to me when the accusers are left unnamed. And if you have been paid off then you are under the obligation to stay that way, otherwise why did you agree to the payoff? A payoff is not an admission nor proof of guilt, it is just something to make people shut up and that is it. At least one of the complainants is through her lawyer trying to get Cain and his legal counsel to release her from her silence agreement. If he wants to do that, well Okay. The best thing Cain could do it seems to me is say very little and stick to the truth. It could be voters are not interested in these tawdry and questionable allegations. They say where there is smoke there is fire — well if so, it will all come out then and people can judge accordingly.

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“I didn’t, but if I did…” is part of a line out of the movie Bugsy and I was reminded of it when I heard Herman Cain seemingly contradicting himself on whether he ever recalled being charged or accused of sexual harassment and whether he knew of or signed off on an out of-court-settlement.

And I was also reminded of Bill Clinton’s famous parsing of words when he said it depends on what the meaning of  “is” is — he also being accused of untoward sexual activity.

In the first instance, as I recall (and I don’t remember the exact lines), a small-time gangster is accused of holding up a bookie joint and running out with their cash, cash that was supposed to be turned over to big-time gangster Bugsy Siegel. When Siegel confronts him, he denies it. And when Siegel says that he was told the guy ran way with  certain amount of dollars, he protests that it was a lesser amount. “I thought you said you didn’t do it?” Bugsy says. The guy answers: “I didn’t, but if I did, it was only…”

Cain, within 24 hours or even a few minutes in some interviews I heard, seemed to deny any knowledge of the accusations then admit that yes he was accused, albeit falsely, and then he denied knowing anything about a settlement, but then said, he might have signed something but he could not recall if it was a “settlement” or an “agreement” — kind of depends on what the meaning of “is” is, I suppose.

It is too bad that once bought off people don’t stay bought off.

Supposedly his accusers (or accuser) signed something that allowed them to get money but forbade them to talk about it.

And I have to say it does seem a bit unfair that someone can accuse someone of something but remain anonymous — does not one have a right to face his or her own accusers?

In this instance it seems unfair to both the accused and the accuser.

In one of his many contradictions or reversals, Cain did finally admit that he did recall at least one instance where he made a remark to an employee and the employee expressed discomfort about it. He portrayed it as an innocent remark — he had said something to the effect that a woman came right up to here on him and reminded him of his wife. Without context, without being there, without knowing the nuance of the whole thing, how could anyone judge what that was all about? Any man or any woman who had ever so much as flirted or made some kind of double entendre could never run for president.

Poor Judge Bork smoked marijuana and couldn’t get on the Supreme Court. Clinton did too, but he didn’t inhale, so he was able to win the presidency (two times).

Cain seems to have handled the whole sexual harassment issue clumsily, although it does not seem to have affected his fund raising at the last report I read.

I also noted with interest while I was listening to some hard-core right wingers on the radio that while some of them had embraced this black man because he did not take the more predictable Democratic Party (he is of course a Republican) and liberal path, and I guess they liked what he had to say, they now seemed ready to throw him under the bus.

Why Cain draws so much money, I have not a clue, other than the fact he has been portrayed as different, but in some ways he may be all too much the same.

P.s.

Every time Cain is questioned on something beyond standard conservative tax philosophy (that is no new taxes — and ironically his 999 plan would add new taxes for many) he seems to stumble. Why is that some people suggest that just because someone has been involved in business they can be  a good elected representative or president? The responsibilities and skills needed in the world of business and the world of government are not necessarily the same. Even budgeting is different because there is no profit motive nor should there be in government.

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