To put this in context, I’m going to lift this quote from Ben Domenech’s The Transom:
I had conversations yesterday via email with journalists for the Washington Post, Roll Call, National Journal, and The Hill about their private thoughts on this. Every single one shared the same following views: First, they are all sure, to varying degrees, that Cain’s story originates from a National Restaurant Association board member or senior staffer, not a campaign. Second, nearly all of them had heard rumors about “Herman’s got women issues” before Politico broke it, 2-3 weeks ago. Two of the journos I spoke to identified those rumors originating from DC, particularly K Street – not from Boston or Austin. Third, and most notably: each one noted how bizarre the Cain camp was handling the matter… and this was before Block went on Fox News to demand the Perry Campaign apologize for leaking the story (based on no more evidence than the timing of hiring of Anderson).
Key take away. “Herman’s got women issues.”
About the time the third woman alleging sexual harassment by Herman Cain while he was president of the National Restaurant Association was coming forward another drama was playing out in Iowa. This is a story that no one would have known about had the mole Team Perry inserted into Cain’s campaign as freakin Campaign Manager not mentioned it.
In a cryptic comment made at National Journal’s Election 2012 Preview event Tuesday, Mark Block, Herman Cain’s campaign manager, made reference to an incident involving Cain and a receptionist for a radio talk show host.
Asked by panel moderator Beth Reinhard whether he could guarantee that there’s not more information forthcoming about his past, Block began his answer with a blanket denial, followed by what seemed to be a description of an unreported recent incident involving Cain.
“Mr. Cain has never sexually harassed anybody. Period. End of story,” he said. “As the hours go by, it’s interesting that we even hear from a radio talk show host of Iowa that a receptionist thought that Mr. Cain’s comments were inappropriate.”
The radio talk show host in question is Steve Deace who is hugely influential in Iowa conservative politics. And Deace is not happy.
We don’t know what occurred in Deace’s studio but whatever it was led him to hold a press conference and make this statement:
“When a man will not lead it is almost always because he is compromised in his private life — almost always,” Deace said. “That has been my experience in general, regardless of your subculture, race, creed color, what part of the country you come from that a lot of times when you’re wondering why a man will not show moral consistency and step up and lead it’s because he’s compromised in his private life.”
He said that Cain’s behavior should be a signal to Republicans everywhere to more thoroughly scrutinize him.
“Do we really know who this gentleman is? Do we really know?” Deace said. “That’s a question everybody ought to be asking themselves before they go vote for the first time in these primaries.”
“Herman Cain should have lost the Republican nomination before Politico even came out with this story on Sunday,” he said. “Herman Cain should have been done.”
I’ve made no great secret of my skepticism about Herman Cain. From his sophomoric “9-9-9” plan to his muddled response on just about any subject you wish to mention from abortion to Chinese nukes to the Iranian nuclear threat. The man simply isn’t ready to play on the national stage, not from want of experience but from want of temperament. That same lack of discipline and logical incoherence is reflected in his campaign hires. J.D. Gordon, his spokesman, set the wheels turning with his disastrous interview on FoxNews and now his manager, Mark Block, has taken a minor local story and given it national prominence.
I don’t know what the facts are in these cases because sexual harassment covers a lot of waterfront and can be as much a factor of generational differences as anything else. The fact that Cain lied to Curt Anderson about the number of complaints back in 2003, information helpfully provided by Cain himself, the fact the number of women is now three, not one or two, and the fact that Mark Block says Cain will not support waiving the Non-Disclosure Agreement leads me to believe this is the tip of a Clintonian iceberg. None of these are the actions of a man with nothing to hide and they explain quite well why Mrs. Cain is not on the campaign trail.
What I do know is that this cannot be stonewalled. With ten days notice any marginally competent campaign could have come up with a strategy to deal with the issue that did not involve the candidate berating or yelling at reporters.