The aspect of the Herman Cain controversy that concerns me most at this point, since nothing is proven and accusers are anonymous, is the candidate's lying responses.
Cain told the National Press Association—with cameras running and with the nation watching—“I am not aware of a settlement.” But later he described in detail the legal and financial settlement the National Restaurant Association reached with a particular woman on his behalf. It didn’t sound like the sort of thing you’d forget. Defending himself against the contradiction, Cain quibbled over specific terms, like settlement as opposed to agreement. It seemed unsettlingly Clintonian.
In "Trusting Cain" (Worldmag, November 3, 2011), I argue that the civic relationship, like any relationship--like friendship, marriage, or even business--has trust at its center. Politicians should guard it like gold. Few of them do.
If Cain were a good politician, which he prides himself on not being, he would understand that the American people are a very forgiving people. If from the start he had said that he did some terrible things back then and that he has repented of those things and God has forgiven him, and then called voters also to forgive them, I have no doubt they would. But instead he went the usual lies and cover-up route.
I'm not impressed. But I have never been impressed.