Herman Cain is out. He "suspended" his campaign for the Republican nomination for president this week after a fifth woman made allegations against him. This time, an Atlanta woman claims she had a 13-year-long affair with the former CEO. As with the four other women who made allegations of sexual harassment — two still unidentified — Cain denies ever having done "anything inappropriate."
Then why quit the race?
Quitting means five unmitigated liars — not just unmitigated liars but, as Cain suggests, coordinated liars — ran him out of Dodge. If the man who would be commander in chief abandons ship because a handful of liars said awful, unprovable things about him, the nation is better off without him trying to lead it.
Cain, after all, marketed himself as a genial but tough, no-nonsense, bottom-line guy who overcame hardship unimaginable by most Americans. He was born and raised "po,'" — too "po'" to be poor — and promoted himself as a leader who defied the odds and fixed two failing businesses.
Cain now plays victicrat — someone who points fingers at all but himself. Lord knows, Republicans, conservatives, libertarians and other non-liberals wrestle all the time with the bias of the liberal mainscream media. But Cain is in a poor position to whine about the media being out to get him. Cain enjoyed the support of plenty of conservative voices on talk radio and cable television, and in conservative online and print outlets. Many properly pointed to the double standard of greater scrutiny placed on any Republican/conservative. Many raised questions about the veracity of the accusers. Cain benefited from a deep bench of cheerleaders, many of whom kept cheering long after they should have stopped.
Cain even played the race card. When asked whether race had a role in the sexual harassment allegations, Cain said, "I believe the answer is yes, but we do not have any evidence to support it." But Cain, as with President Obama, benefited because of his race.
President George W. Bush described the low learning expectations placed on inner-city students as "the soft bigotry of low expectations." It applies here. The Republican Party deeply wants the country to know it is not run by fat, bald, racist white men wearing sheets and hoods. That's why Republicans pounced harder than anyone on former Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., and denied him a leadership position when he made allegedly "racially offensive" comments.
It's why some otherwise sober Republicans actually urged former National Security Advisor and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell to run for the GOP presidential nomination in 1996. Never mind that Powell once bashed the GOP's Newt Gingrich-inspired Contract With America as "a little too harsh, a little too unkind." Or that Powell supports gun control and race-based preferences, and is pro-choice on abortion. Powell, of course, later supported Obama for president.
Cain, simply put, was unprepared for the big time.
He gave a mind-numbingly contradictory "answer" on abortion — wanting it outlawed, but wait, it's really up to the woman. Huh? Cain fretted over whether China might someday get a nuclear bomb — something the country has had for almost 50 years.
When asked how he would have handled Libya, Cain almost slipped into a coma: "OK, Libya (long pause). President Obama supported the uprising, correct? President Obama called for the removal of Gadhafi? Just want to make sure we're talking about the same thing before I say, 'Yes, I agreed,' or, 'No, I didn't agree.' I do not agree with the way he handled it for the following reason: (pause) Nope, that's a different one. Um ... (long pause) I gotta go back (pause). See, uh (pause), got all this stuff twirling around in my head. Specifically, what are you asking me, did I agree or not disagree with Obama?"
Businesspeople, whether Cain or Donald Trump or H. Ross Perot, tend to look at the Washington, D.C., "dysfunction" and view it as a "problem to be fixed." Trouble is, the debate over whether to raise taxes, how to deal with the debt and deficit, how best to create jobs, whether the government should 'invest" in "green technologies" reflect deep ideological divisions in the country.
It all started out so well, didn't it? The Herminator tells blacks who vote monolithically for the Democrat Party: I am a proud black American — and a conservative. I believe in limited government, low taxes and do not believe that the country owes anybody anything, no matter one's race or ethnicity. So stand up and leave that Democratic plantation. But when the attacks come, cut and run.
The genial, well-liked Mr. Cain learned that the fight for power can turn hard, dirty and quite nasty. As Yogi Berra might have put it, "If you can't stand the heat, don't blame the kitchen."
Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit www.LarryElder.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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