So, now we've got this woman who claims to have been sexually assaulted by Cain. Not harassed, but assaulted--unwanted physical touching of an intimate nature, and with a level of crudity that surpasses any simple flirtation. And, to be clear, even if there WERE "only" simple flirtation, that would still be the kiss of death for me when dealing with a fellow who was (and is) not just married, but a minister.
Yeah, there's a but. If it's true, it's damning. And I may have to eat crow down the road on this. But I still don't think it's true. We have a case of he-said, she-said. No witnesses, no evidence. We have affadavits that she told two people long ago that she felt uncomfortable, but provided no details (I cannot imagine my wife or girlfriend saying something like that and me just blowing it off). We have this story which is so darned weird--it seems like the whole scene could have been cut from some low-budget caricature of a documentary on sexual harassment. If you told me he had tried to steal a kiss, or whisper in her ear, or something like that, maybe. But straight for the crotch? Dude, I don't know any 17-year-olds whose game is that bad. And we've got the woman's personal history of terminations, lawsuits, bankruptcy, even dishonesty over paternity... and the presence of Gloria Allred. Any one or two of these would draw a presumption of his innocence from me. The preponderance of all of them is enough to send up a host of red flags.
But, they say, this is woman #4 (or is it 5?). But it's not. We have non-specific allegations of unspecified complaints, resulting in teeny-tiny settlements by a third party (settlements of a sort that indicates nothing, in most cases). Even what little we have heard, "gestures of a non-sexual nature," doesn't make any darned sense. I just can't string this guy up on such flimsy evidence. And some of the "gotcha" stuff doesn't do anything for me. When I read, "he said her story was 100% false, but they really DID meet!" I don't see that as bad at all. I think anyone with a middle school command of the English language can understand that he is denying the allegations of misconduct, and not claiming that the woman's every word is false, right down to "and" and "the."
However, here's what I'm NOT going to do. Despite the completely blatant double-standard involved, I'm not going to defend him on the grounds that it wasn't "really" harassment based on some legalistic parsing of the word. I'm not going to claim that it's OK because he complied with the Clinton "one free grope" rule, and quit after she said to stop. I'm not going to say that he was only flirting, or that perhaps somehow the woman involved led him on and then pulled a bait and switch. If Herman Cain, a married Christian man, made a pass, crude or otherwise, at this woman, then he is done, in my book.
Sadly, I don't think that's the case, at least not yet. But it won't matter. Without the help of a compliant media like Clinton had, this charge, even if proven 100% untrue, is fatal to Cain's campaign. I'm reminded of Casey Stengel's famous quote about baseball: "Can't anybody around here play this game anymore?" I think he would be a good vice-president. But it's not going to happen.
Maybe I'll take another look at Gingrich. For years I've always said he was unelectable because of demanding a divorce from his dying-of-cancer wife while she was in the hospital. Now it turns out that the story on that was completely false (once again, the lie can circle the globe before the truth laces up its boots). Otherwise, we're looking at Romney. Ugh.