Monday, November 7, 2011

On Herman Cain... Again

I've been watching the Herman Cain fiasco. Fascinating... truly. For a while I was not quite sure what to think. I know that he habitually says stupid things, so I didn't think it impossible for him to have said something stupid to a woman somewhere along the line. Stupid and offensive? Sure, I can see that. Easily.

Woman after woman "coming forward" supposedly with claims that Herman Cain sexually harassed them... (insert big sigh here). But nobody willing to put their name out there? Nobody willing to actually say what the man did? Hmmm... somewhat suspicious, but possible. Given my cynical nature, I have to assume that it's possible that Herman Cain did something terrible to multiple women. Of course, given the same cynicism, I also have to believe it perfectly possible that Herman Cain said something stupid to one woman and Cain's opposition is feeding the "story" with false accusations to take him down.

To be honest, I had been considering both scenarios to be equally probable. But now here comes woman number 4. Ah... yes. Sharon Bialek. I had to watch the press conference. Of course I had to see it. I heard that she was "represented" by attorney Gloria Allred. (Her website describes her as "Gloria Allred - Discrimination Attorney/Feminist Lawyer" on Google.) Ms. Allred has sued the Boy Scouts for excluding girls (huh?), and she sued a drugstore chain for having toy sections labeled "boys" and "girls." She litigated a lawsuit against Arnold Schwarzenegger for... wait for it... sexual harassment while he was running for governor. This lawsuit was later dismissed. She has represented numerous famous people in various predicaments (child custody disagreements, sexual harassment cases, she was part of the OJ Simpson mess, Tiger Woods' mistresses, ad nauseam...)

So... this I gotta see.

So... I saw.

And I don't believe.

The story is just... too much. Allred starts out the press conference by establishing that Bialek is a "registered Republican." She goes on to give a general report of Bialek's credentials and lifestyle. According to Allred, Bialek is a college graduate, has hosted a cooking show, and has spent the last two years as a full-time, stay-at-home single mom. (Again, HUH?) The "evidence" presented by Allred at the press conference consists of two pieces of paper she waved around of which she would not release any copies (supposedly of affidavits signed by "pediatrician" and "businessman."), and a copy of Sharon Bialek's business card from the time she was supposedly vigorously harassed (copies released of this, of course). "Pediatrician" and "businessman" are the only names we have for the evidentiary corroborative statement makers.

Bialek then took the stage and read a statement. She was smiley and perky throughout most of her statement. She accuses Cain of upgrading her hotel room, taking her to the "offices" of the NRA, and then (perkiness suddenly gone, slightly choked up) "he suddenly reached over, he put his hand on my leg under my skirt and reached for my genitals. He also grabbed my head and brought it towards his crotch. I was very very surprised and very shocked. I said, 'What are you doing? You know I have a boyfriend. This isn't what I came here for.' Mr Cain said, 'You want a job, right?' I asked him to stop and he did. I asked him to take me back to my hotel, which he did. Right away." She said she didn't file a complaint since she wasn't employed by the Association when the harassment occurred. (Conveniently mentioned in her statement is her supposed tea party activism as well.)

Sharon Bialek has shot to instant morning-show fame. She supposedly wants Cain to "admit what he did and move forward." I do not believe her story. Certainly not in its entirety.

But here's the rub. The press has a lot of power. Far more power than is healthy, actually. Because while I do not buy the story, I do suffer from Cain fatigue. There is a part of me, and I must admit it's a rather large part, that just wants the entire thing to go away, including Cain. As I've said previously, there are some things about Cain that gave me pause (his enormous lack of tact being one of them). So now I'd like to just see him go away. And that's sad. Even believing Cain to be the victim of dirty politics and lynching by the press I still don't have any fight in me. Just... just go away.

Perhaps this, too, is the result of an ever-increasing cynicism within me. I should probably be troubled by this, but I'm afraid I'm too cynical for that as well.

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