Why Herman Cain will survive the Accusations

Yesterday, one of Herman Cain’s accusers stepped forward to offer the face and juicy details his detractors on the left had been waiting for.

Since Jonathan Martin of Politico first broke the story, Cain’s sturdy poll numbers have utterly mystified the media. Martin seems equally troubled that the Republican primary candidates haven’t started piling on.  Yesterday, he told Judy Woodruff of PBS News, “It’s been a fascinating spectacle over the course of the last week, a top candidate for president with some explosive charges against him, and his rivals don’t mention it. “

When Juanita Broaddrick asked to meet and discuss her violent assault at the hands of Bill Clinton with Susan Estrich, a feminist law professor and rape victim herself, Mrs. Estrich responded in a cold, terse email, “Not interested.”

It’s ironic that the same people who told us over and over again that Clinton’s trail of sexual misconduct (which included allegations of rape) were not relevant to his job as president, are stunned when the culture wholly embraces the moral standards they worked so hard to erode.

Indeed, admiration for Bill Clinton among Democrats and media elites has only increased with time.  As Bill makes the A-list media rounds this week to promote his new book, does anyone expect that between the fawning he’ll be asked to comment on Cain’s predicament in light of his own string of campaign sexual harassment charges.

What about the muted, page 10 reporting in the mainstream media of numerous sexual assaults at the Occupy Wall Street protests, including the rape of a 14 year- old runaway?  Could you imagine anything less than front-page headlines if that had happened at a tea party?

If you spend time with other moms, especially the kind of moms who try daily to hold the line on an increasingly raunchy popular culture, they can point to the moment when America’s youth lost its innocence: the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky scandal.

That was the first time, as a dear friend and teacher recounts, that 2nd graders began asking questions like, “What is oral sex?” Kids on the playground learned that some adults did funny things with cigars. And none less than the leader of the free world reassured teenagers, to the horror of their parents, that oral sex didn’t count as sex.

That was 15 years ago.  And it’s been a swift race to the bottom ever since.

Over time, the public has been systematically desensitized to sexual scandal.  The indecorous details no longer shock or offend us.  And the media’s glaring double standard for conservatives rightfully make everyone skeptical.

In fact, there’s much about Cain’s accuser, Sharon Bialek that invites skepticism, including her Holly-weird choice of attorney who mocks the seriousness of the accusation with crass references to “stimulus packages”.

This is a culture that celebrates Clinton, Snookie, and rewards Governor Spitzer with a prime-time cable show.

So enough with all the faux outrage.  We all swim in the same cultural cesspool, even Republicans.



  • Vincent

    There is a double standard for Democrats and Republicans in this area… but it is a double standard that exists on both sides of the isle. I remember during the Clinton years (long before the Lewinsky scandal) conservatives going on to no end about any hint of sexual misconduct on his part without any regard for “innocent until proven guilty.” Both sides defend their own and attack the other when it comes to allegations of sexual misconduct. As Catholics, we should be concerned less about the partisan implications of these scandals and more about promoting a culture of sexual virtue. That will require us to take allegations seriously (and investigate them fairly) regardless of the party affiliation of the accused. At present four different women have made allegations against Cain (including several who made them long before Cain had a political career). While Cain deserves the presumption of innocence, at the very least the situation warrants concern and investigation. I don’t think it serves the Church or her teaching well at all for conservative Catholics to immediately dismiss the allegations out of hand or cast aspersions on the accusers before the evidence has been thoroughly collected and weighed. I suggest that we pray for all those involved.

  • tz1

    Lest we forget the high-tech lynching of Clarence Thomas. Then the liberals elected Clinton.

    Par for the coarse.

    I don’t know about Cain, other than to suggest everyone reread the catechism on the 8th – the parts about detraction and calumny. Or get Fr. Corapi’s audio… never mind.

    We need a new organization, priests for strife.

  • Meg

    Great post, Rachel. One additional question which begs to be asked: How would the media react if Herman Cain was a white Democrat running against a Republican incumbant?



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