As of this moment, the Washington Post has racked up 1,900 responses to this question: Should Republicans care more (about the sexual harassment accusations against GOP hopeful Herman Cain)?
I haven’t read the responses and don’t consider the Washington Post readership representative of American opinion. But I am angry that the newspaper dares to say that Republicans “dismiss” the accusations against Cain.
There’s been a lot of commentary to that effect lately, claiming that that Cain’s continued good standing in the polls is proof that Republicans are jerks who don’t care if men harass women. (Sabrina refutes the closely-allied notion that conservatives are “harassment deniers.”)
I don’t think that Cain’s continued standing indicates anything of the sort. I think it is the result of something else entirely: we are sick and tired of the politics of personal destruction. If it is found that Mr. Cain is guilty, I for one will definitely care. But I thought I’d wait for the evidence before I make up my mind.
When pollsters call Republican voters, I think that many of these voters are doing something very honorable: rallying 'round a guy whose name is being dragged through the mud. I think they are sickened at the primative glee emanating from the press corps, which has got to be pretty much the same emotions once on display at a Medieval bear-baiting, another blood sport.
“I think he’s got it coming to him—don’t you?” former Washington Post executive editor Ben Bradlee said to the Daily Caller (Mr. Bradlee was interviewed as he entered a soiree in honor of Chris Matthews’ new book on the notoriously chaste John F. Kennedy, one of Bradlee’s best chums!).
The slyness of a Washington Post story that went up yesterday on Cain’s tenure at the National Restaurant Association is typical of the way this man is being treated. You don’t have to read past the first few sentences to know where the story is going:
The board members of the National Restaurant Association knew they wanted Herman Cain to run their organization in 1996. He was a hero in the restaurant world, so they offered him perks, including a luxury D.C. apartment and weekly first-class tickets from Washington to Omaha, where his wife was living.
Once settled into the powerful trade association’s 17th Street NW offices, however, Cain developed a different reputation. Colleagues recall that he spent the organization’s money liberally, commissioning new information technology and phone systems and spending nearly double what had been budgeted to renovate an auditorium.
Luxury apartment…weekly first class tickets…perks—do you get the feeling that the reporters (yes, there were two) are straining to create ex nihilo? Oh, and, in an odd detail, the story notes that Mr. Cain was shown around town while head of the association by Virginia Thomas, wife of similarly accused Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. And that's important because…?
As befits the former head of Godfather’s Pizza, Mr. Cain is proving one thing: he can take the heat, and I believe that, unless evidence is provided, he deserves to stay in the kitchen.
Update: In the short time it took me to write this post, the number of comments on the Post’s Do-Republicans-Care query has risen by 300 to 2,200.