I am apparently woefully behind the curve here (which in Internet terms means I have missed news that has been out for several hours), and I somehow missed this bit of news about the first Herman Cain accuser - you know the one who apparently really, really wanted to speak about her ordeal? Apparently, her willingness to speak out about Herman Cain comes with three rather important conditions:
- She will not release her identity.
- She will answer no questions.
- She will not include any details whatsoever about what is alleged to have occurred.
This is really enough information here for any intellectually honest person to be preemptively unimpressed with both her motivations and her honesty. I can certainly understand the desire to remain anonymous and this woman, whoever she is, had the right to do that. However, she chose to thrust herself further into the national conversation by hiring a media-shopping lawyer to go around telling everyone that she really wants to speak out and rebut Herman Cain. Everyone knows who Herman Cain is. For two weeks he's been pelted with questions about allegations that haven't even been defined. And now she wants the opporutnity to "defend her honor," but not give the public any opportunity to know who she is so that we can make a judgment about her credibility? Nor to ask questions to clarify or probe the truthfulness of anything she says? Nor to even know, after all this time, what Cain is alleged to have done?
Give me a break. Cain is not my first choice for President and I reiterate that there are serious problems with the way he has handled this story, but everyone who is still pushing this woman as someone who is some sort of honest and credible source ought to feel at least some sense of shame.
Thought experiment: Imagine if this were done to a prominent Republican who wasn't a rival to your preferred choice for GOP nominee. It doesn't even have to be someone you especially like - say a random, mostly anonymous Republican Senator like Mike Crapo or somebody. What would all of us - each and every one of us - be saying about this woman and the media who are peddling her now?
Cain has handled this terribly, and he may well have treated a raft of women horribly. But at the end of the day, it's impossible to defend yourself against a series of anonymous attacks. If these women want to level accusations, they have to come forward in a way that allows those accusations to be vetted.
Unless we're going to trust Politico to do that - both for Cain, and for anyone else who faces anonymous attacks.
And lest we forget, Politico has already told at least one ironclad, verifiable and undisputed lie in the context of this story. I don't really trust them to let the rest of this narrative spin out on the unverified word of their anonymous sources.