We’re a little more than year away from the 2012 presidential election and already many are starting to express fatigue. The bulk of the blame for that lies with the GOP (and the 24-hour news cycle) for legitimizing the party’s sillier wing — to the detriment of any sensible person’s last nerve. The latest and greatest example of this is front-runner come lately Herman Cain.
As a third accuser now joins the previous two in leveling charges of sexual harassment against the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO for his behavior in the 1990s, speculation is intensifying as to whether or not this will be what finally knocks Cain off his pedestal.
Somewhere former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is hoping so given the latest Quinnipiac poll places him on the losing end of a head-to-head match up with Cain, with Cain taking 47 percent of the vote to Romney’s 39 percent. However, this poll cuts off only a day after reports that the National Restaurant Association reached financial settlements with two female employees who complained about Cain first surfaced.
WATCH MSNBC COVERAGE OF THE LATEST ALLEGATIONS AGAINST CAIN:
[MSNBCMSN video=”http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640″ w=”592″ h=”346″ launch_id=”45146033^10^193370″ id=”msnbc520757″]
Thus far, Cain has done his campaign no favors by the way he’s responded to charges in the press. When he’s not jumping back and forth over details on the matter, he’s opting to randomly start singing in order to avoid answering reporters’ questions altogether. He still has his cheerleaders, though.
Rush Limbaugh says this controversy is a racist hit job from the Left. Ann Coulter told HLN’s Joy Behar,, “The only racism you hear in America these days is against conservative blacks.” Charles Krauthammer perpetuated this silly notion, too, asking Cain if him being a “strong black conservative” had anything to do with the recent criticism.
A pro-Cain PAC went as far to state in a fundraising campaign directed at Iowans, “Just like they did to Clarence Thomas, they are engaging in a ‘high tech lynching’ by smearing Herman Cain’s reputation and character.”
These accusations are dim-witted and delusional — which ironically describes the Herman Cain campaign quite well. Cain conveniently forgetting the history of white politicians who have also been met with sex scandals (including one earlier in the year) is pretty much on par with the treatment he’s given foreign policy and his own ‘9-9-9’ tax plan. He can’t remember that former President Clinton almost lost his job over his behavior with a White House intern the same way he forgets that China does in fact have nuclear capability.
It’s frustrating, but what’s even more irritating is the reality that there is a chance that Herman Cain might continue to be touted as a viable presidential contender no matter how long this particular story lasts.
Worse, no matter what happens a precedent has been set in this election. Before Cain started to yield traction on a campaign initially branded as nothing more than a glorified book tour, there were other names being floated around as favorites to take on President Obama in the next election — namely Sarah Palin and Donald Trump.
Like Cain, both proved themselves to be ignorant of the issues but quite skilled in the art of dominating a given news day. None of them seem to care about how nonsensical they sound so long as they secure enough press. Each of them is arrogant, ill informed and thirsty for the spotlight — and every single one has been awarded for it.
Cain has managed to benefit from these characteristics the most because he’s perceived to be more charismatic. Based on comments from the likes of Karl Rove, who dismissed him as “not up to the task” of being president, it’s obvious to the annoyance to members of the GOP establishment. They don’t like his flip-flop on abortion, his failure to grasp core issues, and most of all, hate that he further contributes to failure of conservatives to coalesce around Mitt Romney.
Regardless of Cain’s chances at legitimately having a shot at the nomination, he now yields a strong influence in his party. How long that influence lasts and how far it goes is uncertain, but there’s no doubt that there are other prospective candidates out there who now have reason to feel that they can skate past experience and actual political knowledge so long as they have a little charm.
This is one of the many consequences that come with stretching out an already long process even longer. The monster has been unleashed, only it’s likely to prove to be better for laughs than upping the GOP’s chances in general election.