A Philosopher's Blog

Cain

Posted in Ethics, Politics by Michael LaBossiere on November 29, 2011
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Cain is facing another potential crisis: Ginger White has come forth to apparently claim that she had a long lasting affair with Herman Cain. As might be imagined, this is not exactly good news for Cain’s lagging campaign.

Cain immediately denied the accusations, while noting that he did know the woman. His handling of the situation was better than his handling of previous accusations-thus showing that Cain has learned at least a bit about damage control. However, his lawyer released a rather odd statement which, as the pundits noted, does not seem to be the right sort of thing for a politician to issue for damage control. This shows that Cain needs to improve his organization and how it handles damage control-assuming that he is able to endure.

At this point, this is the classic “she says, he says” situation. Cain made an immediate and unequivocal denial which counts, to a degree, in his favor. After all, lying about an affair will generally do more political damage than admitting to an affair. Thus, a lie would not be very sensible and hence would (or should) be the less likely approach by Cain. Given Newt’s and Bill Clinton’s success, Cain should be aware that politicians who have affairs can do quite well.

That said, politicians have been known to lie about such things-even when the lie is far more damaging than the truth. Anthony Weiner is, of course, the most recent example of such an incident.  The statement Cain’s lawyer released also muddled things a bit-while the legalese seems to be aimed any saying that Cain did not have an affair, the overall impression is seems to create is more along the lines of  “if he had an affair, it is t the business of the media or the public.” This is hardly effective damage control and makes it seem like a set up for an admittance of wrongdoing. However, anyone who is familiar with legalese will point out that the statement is the sort of thing a lawyer would create even if his/her client did nothing at all. As such, the statement is hardly decisive evidence.

In regards to the woman, little is known about here. On the face of it, lying about this matter would seem to be a rather odd sort of thing-after all she is, as the pundits have noted, exposing herself to the full scrutiny of the media and laying her reputation on the line. Her accusation, if false, might even be considered slander or libel-given the damage such a charge could do to to Cain. As such, she would seem to have very good reasons not to make a false accusation.

However, one key point (as noted above) is that little is known about the woman, her credibility and her possible motivations. Until more information is known, the most rational thing to do is to suspend judgment on the claim against Cain.

If Cain is telling the truth, then he might be able to make a gain in the polls because of such a false attack. It would also give him some “armor” against ant future attacks of a similar nature.

If Cain is not telling the truth, then his campaign would probably be sunk. However, Bill Clinton was able to sludge with way through worse situations and hence there is a clear precedent for such political survival. Cain is, like Clinton, something of a charmer-but whether he is up to a Clinton level game is something that would have to be seen.

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20 Responses

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  1. ajmacdonaldjr said, on November 29, 2011 at 10:48 am

    I feel bad for Cain’s wife. She needs to dump him. I think Cain is just a stalking horse for Romney anyway. He has no intention of winning. His job was to make Romney appear moderate, which he is. Maybe we should require presidential candidates to pass polygraphs? The intelligence community does this, as do many corporations. So why not presidents and presidential candidates too? As well as Congress? If I were Cain I would have dismissed the accusations as meaningless whether true or false. As you said, look at Bill Clinton. After Clinton, who cares? If one is going to abide by a law-based system of right and wrong one must be either a truth-teller or a liar. But if one asserts a power-based system there are no ethics, only power. Cain should say that no one has the right to judge him on ethics because ethics are irrelevant. Power is all that matters, which is why he wants to be president.

    • dhammett said, on November 29, 2011 at 11:54 am

      “So why not presidents and presidential candidates too? As well as Congress?”

      For one, there’s nothing in the Constitution –Art. II, Sec. 1, paragraph 5 about polygraph tests for presidential candidates. Come to think of it, I don’t think there’s anything in the Constitution about morality and presidential candidates. A few of the SC justices are really very strict about that. Especially when the issue meshes with their ideology. So, it would seem we can elect any cheating, lying, son-of-a-bitch we want to. Also, in theory at least, and for whatever it’s worth, the government can’t apply any religious requirements to candidacy.
      Sec. 4 tells us what we can do *after* the wise public has elected the wrong guy.

      Also, polygraphs are not foolproof. In fact, I’d guess that the kind of person who could beat the process would be exactly the kind of person I would not want as the Leader of the Free World. Even if polygraphs were 100% accurate, we’d probably need to set up another government agency –independent :) — to handle the process. :(

    • magus71 said, on November 29, 2011 at 1:34 pm

      I’m just waiting for the same people who wanted to lynch Ken Starr to come around. Where is the “sex doesn’t matter” crowd?

      • dhammett said, on November 29, 2011 at 2:26 pm

        I found your choice of words here interesting. Let’s see if “the same people” want to burn a cross in Herman Cain’s front yard. Or send out an email of watermelons growing in his front yard —-Oops! Wait! Someone did that with Obama for no apparent reason at all. . . . . .

        http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/02/26/calif-mayor-sent-white-house-watermelon-patch-e-mail-quits/

        Perhaps the fact that Cain’s accusers up to this point are white (Hell, the last woman’s name is Mrs White.) may be of some significance. At least one, perhaps more, of the current accusers are conservatives. Perhaps the first thing the Republican party wants is the the ‘appearance’ of being open to a black presidential candidate—and the last thing the Republican party wants is to actually nominate a black presidential candidate.

      • Michael LaBossiere said, on November 29, 2011 at 5:52 pm

        It does matter. What matters even more, at least for the voting public, is the lying. After all, a husband can only commit adultery against his wife, but he can lie to everyone.

        I don’t think that Cain has the Clinton magic, though he is a charismatic fellow. He’ll most likely fade into a political footnote.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on November 29, 2011 at 5:18 pm

      I also feel sorry for his wife-I would infer that she is hurt by these accusations and it would almost certainly hurt her a great deal if they turned out to be true (and she did not know).

      I am impressed a bit that Cain made it as far as he did, given his inept handling of so many critical points. It is almost like watching a poor amateur boxer somehow managing to stay upright in the ring against a pro.

  2. T. J. Babson said, on November 29, 2011 at 11:13 am

    I guess I am wondering why all these women want to destroy Cain?

    I guess he should have stuck with professionals: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/ashley_fires_ho_in_one_BzCr6dkDGoCyAtSyslNZpN

    • magus71 said, on November 29, 2011 at 1:33 pm

      If murders can produce copycats, so can political fiascoes. Bad fame is money, which several of these women seem to have a problem with.

      • Michael LaBossiere said, on November 29, 2011 at 5:49 pm

        That is a point worth considering. Notoriety can be a path to money (interviews, book deals, even a TV show) and is a factor worth considering.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on November 29, 2011 at 5:21 pm

      That seems to be a rather loaded question. While these women have made claims about Cain that could prove damaging, saying that they want to destroy him seems to suggest malice on their part. This might be the case-but adequate evidence is needed. If the claims are true about Cain, he would have destroyed himself.

      • T. J. Babson said, on November 29, 2011 at 7:18 pm

        Of course there is malice–otherwise why come forward at all?

        • dhammett said, on November 29, 2011 at 7:43 pm

          Jerry Sandusky’s accusers. “Com[ing} forward” is not necessarily done with malice. Corporations, for example, would like us to think all whistle-blowers “come forward” out of malice, but that just isn’t so.

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on November 30, 2011 at 3:05 pm

          If the women are telling the truth, then these are things that the voters should know about Cain. As such, the women could be motivated by a desire to inform the voters. Naturally, I do not exclude the possibility of a malicious intent.

  3. WTP said, on November 29, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    So the question remains, Can Herman Cain afford a yacht so big that he could not fill it with all of his (supposed) bitches?

  4. magus71 said, on November 29, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    “Ms. White is an unemployed single mother. Before the interview, Fox learned that she had filed a sexual harassment claim against an employer in 2001. That case was settled. The station also found a bankruptcy filing nearly 23 years ago in Kentucky, and several eviction notices in the Atlanta area over the past six years.

    The station also reported that Ms. White had a former business partner who once sought a “stalking temporary protective order” against her for “repeated e-mails/texts threatening lawsuit and defamation of character.” The case was dismissed, but it was followed by a libel lawsuit against Ms. White. A judge entered an order against Ms. White because she failed to respond to the lawsuit, Fox reported.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/29/us/politics/cain-accused-of-affair-by-ginger-white.html?partner=MYWAY&ei=5065

    Quality. Why the hell would any woman come out on television and admit to screwing a guy who’s been married for 40 years? If this is true, Cain really likes the dregs as far as women are concerned. His other accusers aren’t much better.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on November 29, 2011 at 5:48 pm

      ““Ms. White is an unemployed single mother. Before the interview, Fox learned that she had filed a sexual harassment claim against an employer in 2001. That case was settled. The station also found a bankruptcy filing nearly 23 years ago in Kentucky, and several eviction notices in the Atlanta area over the past six years.”

      This does not damage her credibility in this matter. However, if it can be shown that she intends to make money from her claim, then this would be a strike against her credibility (financial need + the hope of gain would).

      “The station also reported that Ms. White had a former business partner who once sought a “stalking temporary protective order” against her for “repeated e-mails/texts threatening lawsuit and defamation of character.” The case was dismissed, but it was followed by a libel lawsuit against Ms. White. A judge entered an order against Ms. White because she failed to respond to the lawsuit, Fox reported.”

      This could be relevant, if the cases had merit. However, it does not show that her claim is not true.

      “Quality. Why the hell would any woman come out on television and admit to screwing a guy who’s been married for 40 years? If this is true, Cain really likes the dregs as far as women are concerned. His other accusers aren’t much better.”

      There could be many reasons: hope for gain, concern for the country (so people will know the alleged truth), a desire for notoriety, revenge, and so on.

      You do make an interesting point-there seems to be the hint of a pattern here in the women accusing Cain. This could be taken as evidence of Cain’s way of operating or evidence that he is being accused by a certain sort of woman, or something else entirely.

  5. dhammett said, on December 4, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    Cain’s suspension of his campaign:
    Is this the businessman/entrepreneur/outside-the-beltway approach to pressure? Declare bankruptcy?


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