Open Thread: Herman Cain

We’ve been trying to refrain from writing about politics until 2012 actually arrives, but Herman Cain is rapidly pushing himself up the priority list.

His platform is essentially all the Republican talking points from the last few years – less regulation of business (yes, even in these times), religion as a base for public life, military might makes right, the whole bit. However, most people aren’t talking about Cain’s stance on the issues these days.

At this point, four different women have come forward, alleging sexual harassment from Cain. The most recent woman, Sharon Bialek, has come forward publicly, with Gloria Alred, to make her case.

Predictably, Republicans are minimizing the allegations – however, they chose to do this in the strangest way possible. Apparently, they thought it would be a good idea to resurrect the “high tech lynching” slogan from the Clarence Thomas years – just as the the Anita Hill 20 Years Later conference reminded us of how race and gender matters tend to explode. (To their “credit,” so far the Republican establishment is backing race over gender – the fourth accuser is a white woman, and they are still throwing her under the bus for trying to tarnish Cain’s reputation. That could be it’s own commentary, but I’m leaving that alone for now.)

Floor is yours.

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  • NYCTA

    I find it interesting (though maybe i shouldn’t) that the two women who’ve come forward accusing Cain, are white women. Am i right in suspecting that the other two are as well?  I haven’t read anything from Kraushaar but i did listen to Bialek. At risk of coming off sexist(and somewhat racist) i couldn’t imagine that a woman,especially a white woman, already in a relationship, would meet privately with another man, privately, in an intimate setting, having drinks and accepting a hotel room all on the pretense of discussing a job opportunity.  If Bialek is to be believed, and i will admit, i am doubtful, I have to question how she would not have seen how wrong things would turn out.  My problem with Cain is his response(nonresponse) to this whole thing. I am a black man, and while i have no problems with black conservatism(indeed, am open to supprt it) I know Cain doesn’t stand a chance as the republican nominee. I even believe he is using them just as he knows he is being used. Still, I feel like he’s blowing his chance to even play the game well, by acting as if he doesn’t have to address the issue properly.

    • Rae

      You do come off as sexist. First of all, having dinner with someone to discuss employment opportunities and then leaving in the same vehicle is not at all unusual behavior; it is standard business networking. Your characterization of this as “intimate” (ie implicitly sexual) is ridiculous and exactly the type of behavior that promotes sexual harassment: treating any participation by women in typical business practices as a sign of their sexual availability rather than their desire to interact as equals with their colleagues in the business world. Second, even if her behavior were somehow unusual, it would not justify demanding sexual favors before she could be hired, or Cain reaching up her skirt and touching her genitals without her permission, or him shoving her face in his crotch.

      Additionally,whether a woman is in a relationship has no bearing on what locations in which she will agree to discuss a job opportunity. The way you mention her relationship makes it sound like if she were a single woman she couldn’t possibly have been assaulted, because she would have been asking for it by virtue of not having a man-owner-protector. Cuz we all know single women get restaurant jobs by blowing their new bosses, amirite? No harm, no foul in assuming that’s what she’s after! Damn those women getting ahead through thinly veiled involuntary prostitution!

  • Kat

    Just when I thought Herman Cain couldn’t possible sink any lower:
    http://gawker.com/5857803/herman-cain+supporting-website-calls-accusers-ugly-b1tch-fat-bimbo

    Herman Cain PAC, which is “Making the American …… DREAM COME TRUE” by blogging that Cain accuser Karen Kraushaar is an “ugly,” “gross” “b1tch,” and that other Cain accuser Sharon Bialek is a “fat bimbo.”

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NQVPALVKL5MCK4HK2OZ276UL7I Alan

      Wow. Stay classy, Republicans.

  • Kellywtc

    It’s amusing that there is a giant “Support Herman Cain” ad in your stream right now.  

    • Anonymous

      Once again, it’s based on Google. Everyone sees different things. If there is an offensive ad showing on your screen, screengrab and send it to us.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Cocojams-Jambalayah/100000590546331 Cocojams Jambalayah

    Here’s one of the reasons why that Clarence Thomas twin shill Herman Cain* pisses me off:

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/t

    In August 1955, a fourteen-year-old black boy whistled at a white woman in a grocery store in Money, Mississippi. Emmett Till, a teen from Chicago, didn’t understand that he had broken the unwritten laws of the Jim Crow South until three days later, when two white men dragged him from his bed in the dead of night, beat him brutally and then shot him in the head. Although his killers were arrested and charged with murder, they were both acquitted quickly by an all-white, all-male jury. Shortly afterwards, the defendants sold their story, including a detailed account of how they murdered Till, to a journalist. The murder and the trial horrified the nation and the world. Till’s death was a spark that helped mobilize the civil rights movement. Three months after his body was pulled from the Tallahatchie River, the Montgomery bus boycott began.

    So what does that say about the mainstream USA media nowadays that the subject of race isn’t a focus of these allegations against Herman Cain except when he has the gall  to refer to the media’s coverage of these allegations as a “high tech lynching”? I think it means that the media isn’t being real. It’s part of the pretense that the USA is post racial.For shame Herman Cain! How low can you go?*I can’t believe I’m the only one who thinks Herman Cain looks like Clarence Thomas. But I’m not referring to their physical appearance  when I call them twins.

  • Emily Belanger

    Feministe had a great post recently where Jill pointed out that if the allegations are true, he isn’t just guilty of sexual harassment – he’s guilty of sexual assault.

    http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2011/11/07/so-if-the-accusations-against-herman-cain-are-true/

  • http://twitter.com/MalikPanama Malik

    Even when he does get the eventual television or radio deal out of this I can’t image him lasting long. Black conservatives are given a very short leash and if you ever say anything ever mildly pro-Black they’ll throw you out in the quickness. Remember when all conservatives LOVED Colin Powell? He said he’d vote for Barack Obama and disappeared from the Earth to them.

  • Rebecca A

    I don’t like the idea that Republicans think that their “blacks” are better than more liberal “blacks”.  Republicans are just using Cain as a way to say “Hey we aren’t racist or feel that whites are better than all non-white people! Here, we have a black guy to prove it!!”. He isn’t a series threat but shows that they have some type of agenda that shows that they care about their PoC voters.  He is  a ploy to vote right for moderates. 

    On the allegations, it shows how hypercritical of the right are. Paul Wiener had a picture of clothed genitalia andthey all demanded that he be fired and shown no mercy. Herman Cain is accused of being a sexual attacker and he is being demonized or his race is being attacked. Please.  Black, white- sexual harassment is wrong, not matter what. 

    • Anonymous

      It was messed up that they would even use the “our blacks” language as though they had some kind of ownership, reminiscent of American slavery, over black bodies. I get tired of people saying “blacks” or “the blacks” like we’re objects instead of people. But my god, these people make the Democrats’ job supper easy. They aren’t even a challenge on an intellectual or even nuanced level. It makes me weep for the state of politics in this country.

  • Gloria

    What has annoyed me so much about this whole thing is the right-wing media subtly implying that this doesn’t affect his *ability* to be president. Last night I saw on FoxNews (lord) that 55% of polled republicans don’t see the allegations as a big deal. This reaffirms that women and women’s “issues” (putting it mildly) are not considered to be of concern of the president. I watched a panel of only men talk about this and basically ignore the fact that a man who has most likely violated three working American women cannot legitimately represent 50% + of the American populace.

  • Gloria

    What has annoyed me so much about this whole thing is the right-wing media subtly implying that this doesn’t affect his *ability* to be president. Last night I saw on FoxNews (lord) that 55% of polled republicans don’t see the allegations as a big deal. This reaffirms that women and women’s “issues” (putting it mildly) are not considered to be of concern of the president. I watched a panel of only men talk about this and basically ignore the fact that a man who has most likely violated three working American women cannot legitimately represent 50% + of the American populace.

    • Anne S

      Has anyone seen any poll data since the initial Politico story that actually breaks down reactions by gender? So far I haven’t seen that reported, and I’d like to. 

    • Brandon

      And the hypocrisy from said media is epic.  They were all over Bill Clinton for his behavior.

      Of course they didn’t give a damn about the women who were affected by his behavior.  It just fit their narrative that he was “slick” and not to be trusted.

  • Gloria

    What has annoyed me so much about this whole thing is the right-wing media subtly implying that this doesn’t affect his *ability* to be president. Last night I saw on FoxNews (lord) that 55% of polled republicans don’t see the allegations as a big deal. This reaffirms that women and women’s “issues” (putting it mildly) are not considered to be of concern of the president. I watched a panel of only men talk about this and basically ignore the fact that a man who has most likely violated three working American women cannot legitimately represent 50% + of the American populace.

  • k.eli

    I don’t get it. Wasn’t Herman Cain the one saying a few weeks back that racism wasn’t really a problem for black people nowadays? But now that his feet are on the fire, all of a sudden he’s a victim of racism. Sorry, dude. Can’t have your cake and eat it too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kim-Akins/694459632 Kim Akins

    There are many things that Herman Cain doesn’t understand, but this one has become crystal clear:  He doesn’t get that the job of president is not like being a CEO.  People do get to question your history, your values and your integrity when you run for office.  Journalists and citizens are not your underlings.  And that game of grab ass that you thought was ok in the office ain’t so funny in the political realm.  I am beginning to believe those who say he was never really running for office.  He was a shill for the republicans to play at diversity and his goal was to sell some books.  But based on his reaction to the scandal, his ego really did allow him to believe that this was not going to come back and bite him.  More the fool him.

    • Jinx J

      I feel he’s just tone deaf. The odd slogans, the weird campaign ads backed up by creepy patriotic electronica, and now going on Jimmy Kimmel to talk about these allegations? I get it if it was scheduled WAAAY in advance, but you reschedule and go for a news show.

    • Jinx J

      I feel he’s just tone deaf. The odd slogans, the weird campaign ads backed up by creepy patriotic electronica, and now going on Jimmy Kimmel to talk about these allegations? I get it if it was scheduled WAAAY in advance, but you reschedule and go for a news show.

    • Anonymous

      “There are many things that Herman Cain doesn’t understand, but this one
      has become crystal clear:  He doesn’t get that the job of president is
      not like being a CEO. ”

      That’s a great sentence. :)  This is something I’ve been suspecting lately: too many Americans now worship at the teat of business, wealth, and power, and think that running the whole country like an aristocracy-like corporation, where people are rewarded for being well-liked and lucky, rather than people getting helped by the system to get a leg up and become more independent, would be the solution to our problems.

      Here are some of the problems with this mindset:

      Most businesses as we know them are hardly democratic institutions.  They operate on a strict hierarchy, where the people at the top are hardly allowed to be questioned for any reason and, except for when it comes to legal violations, they operate with nigh-impunity and almost no accountability to speak of, and it’s hard to hold said people accountable to the point where it’s reasonably possible to get rid of them.  Meanwhile, the people at the bottom are a bunch of peons with little rights who get trampled on by those who are more popular and have more experience, and, in a political environment where these folks are increasingly losing their rights to expect to have decent pay or a fulfilling worklife in general, they have no reason to assume that their overlords will care about them or be looking out for them and their best interests…

      Not to mention that these businesses lately haven’t exactly been run by geniuses we should trust to handle our money with.  The American car companies did a good job of ignoring the importance R&D for years and spent too much time buying off the competition rather than innovating, and ran themselves into the ground.  The banks decided to rip everyone off and then act surprised when it came back to bite *everyone* in the ass.  Many big businesses fail nowadays simply because they have idiots at the helm who take everything built up to greatness over decades and crumble it to dust within a few years.  Not to mention that the most successful businesses out there right now are those who bother to innovate, treat their employees decently, and put out quality, durable products worth using, while all of the former greats pump out lazily made garbage made in places, here in the U.S. and elsewhere, where there’s no one to enforce rights for their workers or any sort of real quality control.  Why we want THOSE people, the dolts, running this country, I can’t possibly fathom, rather than out of the sheer naiveté in the idea that you don’t actually need to know politics and basic economics or to have any sort of wisdom at all to be able to run a nation.

      I could probably go on.  Exactly WHY we should expect to run a developed democratic republic like a top-down dictatorship, especially a said republic that fashions itself as being anti-aristocracy and pro-accountability to the people, and not expect *absolute disaster,* I would like to know.

      • http://twitter.com/danthrasher Daniel Thrasher

        That’s a good point about people wanting the government to operate like a business.  Businesses, especially the larger corporations, are famous for being a game of connections rather than merit.  A place where minorities and women are underrepresented and undercompensated.  A system that accomplishes what it wants by pumping money to various leaders in order to take advantage of smaller organizations/people and get around regulations. 

        Maybe there’s something about how businesses are supposed to be about profit, and that right now our government is in such a deficit, that many people think a CEO would be able to balance the budget or reduce spending?  But the budget is controlled by Congress, and neither party really cuts spending – they just move it to their own pet projects.

  • http://swirlspice.com Erica M

    I’m really curious to know what exactly the Koch brothers are thinking here. I wonder if it’s as simple as “Now let’s try running a black guy. Let’s see if we can get away with that!”

  • Kelvyn Anderson

    We’ve suffered through Cain’s whining about getting no love from us brainwashed liberal Negroes, but the narrative of his downfall is not much different than watching Marion Barry go up in smoke, though Barry’s public service makes him somewhat more sympathetic in my view. Cain offers us a black Scrooge toting a sackful of goofy ideas and outdated notions that many conservatives have abandoned, and the same spin controllers who brought us the “high-tech lynching” of Clarence Thomas. Trot out an alleged folksy rejoinder from the wife (that don’t sound like you honey!) and you’ve got a full-blown Afro-populist get-over strategy. See you at Pizza Hut, Herm…