If I were allowed to use the word retarded these days, I'd use it to describe the Herman Cain campaign these days. But it is another word we've axed on the list for some legitimate reasons. Truth be told, I sometimes still use it and I think it might fit here.
Nonetheless, I'll go with stupid.
The Cain Campaign has made it official. It believes the Rick Perry campaign is behind the allegations about the women. This is stupid, if not retarded, for a number of reasons, chief among them is that if the Cain campaign believes Curt Anderson is responsible (something Anderson denies even to the Politico, which would give the Politico reason to out him if it were him, and they have not done so), then the Cain campaign has known about these accusations since the campaign started and still bungled the response.
Bizarrely, by the end of the day, the Cain camp was not only blaming Rick Perry, but sources close to Cain were claiming the Democratic Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, relayed the story to the Perry campaign, though somehow Curt Anderson is also involved. Huh?
More troubling, the Cain Campaign statement was sent out by its press secretary who himself has sexual harassment issues while at the Pentagon. Thus far, all we know about that is he bizarrely accused a female reporter of sexually harassing him.
Even more troubling, in blaming the Perry campaign with no more evidence than those blaming Romney have (several National Restaurant Association current or former executives are Romney supporters), the Cain campaign has managed to take a unified front in defense of him, divide it up, and come off looking like he'd be perfectly okay with Mitt Romney as the nominee so long as no one else but him could be the alternative.
A friend of mine tells me the Cain campaign thinks that so many have gone out on a limb defending Cain, claiming it was the Democrats, that now to save their own credibility these people will have to turn on Rick Perry and finish him off. I don't see that actually happens. But think about the number of people who rushed to his defense, claimed only the Democrats would do such a thing, and now have Herman Cain claiming Rick Perry did it. Talk about putting these people in an awkward position.
As I have said, the Politico went to Cain with a nothingburger of a story and only ran it after Cain reacted badly to it. They knew by his reaction they had something, though they did not really know what they had. We know more now. We know the Politico went to Cain with a muddied story the campaign could not even respond to.
But it also seems clear the Cain campaign had no more evidence to go after Rick Perry than the Politico had in forming its story.
There is also the most troubling bit of the whole story. If we believe Herman Cain — that it was Curt Anderson who is now with Perry and that Herman Cain told Curt Anderson about it in 2003 — then we are left with two great puzzles, both of which are vastly more destructive to the Cain campaign than the original story.
First, how is it that the Herman Cain campaign knew this was coming since at least 2003 and had no plan in place to deal with it.
Second, in Herman Cain's own words, Cain told Curt Anderson about it and said there was one woman who claimed Cain harassed her and it was dismissed. If that is so, why are we now on the third woman?
The Cain campaign seems stuck on stupid, should never have engaged in the blame game when everyone was defending him, and now is not only going to further harm his own credibility, but will potentially hurt the credibility of a lot of other good people when the women start speaking.
And they will start speaking.