Herman Cain makes more headlines this week.
Although he has a juicy campaign finance scandal brewing, and a bizarre gaffe about the Palestinian people, what people are really intrigued by is the revelations that Herman was, in the 1990s, accused of sexual harassment by two employees of the National Restaurant Association while Cain was the organization’s CEO.
The story has some potential…comedy potential, as in, “Herman, dude, hasn’t anyone ever told you that nein, nein, nein means NEIN?!?”
Other than that, this story stinks.
First, this is not going to help and might, quite possibly, hurt Cain’s chances at taking the nomination. And I don’t want anything to hurt Cain’s chances of being the Republican nominee for 2012. Seriously…if Obama has to go up against Romney or Cain, I’d much rather he go up against Cain. Besides the fact that Cain is the weaker of the two candidates, I like the gut-knotting turmoil it causes amongst the bigoted faction of Republicans.
It also sucks for a more important reason: because it feeds ugly bigotry, by reinforcing a negative stereotype of black men. “They’re stealing our women!”
And that is simply ugly.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not taking a stand on whether or not Cain sexually harassed those women. I’m not offering any excuses for sexual harassment, or making excuses for Cain if it turns out he did engage in that behavior. But the legal settlement prevents the women from talking about their complaint or the monetary settlement, so that there will always remain some uncertainty about what really happened. And the bigots will use that uncertainty to feed their ugly habit. Yuck.
As an aside, even Obama isn’t immune from this stereotype.
Remember last year when Newt Gingrich made headlines about Dinesh D’Souza “stunning insight” into Obama?
…the “most profound insight I have read in the last six years about Barack Obama.”
“What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]?” Gingrich asks. “That is the most accurate, predictive model for his behavior.”
“This is a person who is fundamentally out of touch with how the world works, who happened to have played a wonderful con, as a result of which he is now president,” Gingrich tells us.
What was D’Souza “profound insight” in this article that so inspired Gingrich? The article concludes:
But instead of readying us for the challenge, our President is trapped in his father’s time machine. Incredibly, the U.S. is being ruled according to the dreams of a Luo tribesman of the 1950s. This philandering, inebriated African socialist, who raged against the world for denying him the realization of his anticolonial ambitions, is now setting the nation’s agenda through the reincarnation of his dreams in his son. The son makes it happen, but he candidly admits he is only living out his father’s dream. The invisible father provides the inspiration, and the son dutifully gets the job done.
Ahh, yes…if Obama doesn’t fit the bigot’s stereotype directly, lash him to that post by his genes.
As for Cain, at least the sexual harassment issue will divert people from some other, probably more serious, “issues” of the Cain campaign.