The fake charges against Cain seem to be petering out; and, what should Cain have said in his own defense?

Rush Limbaugh said today on his radio program:

I am starting to sense it. I am starting to see it…. I think I detect the media heading into damage control on the Herman Cain story. A lot of media are. This day five now, and still nobody knows what he did. Not a single media outlet can report what he did! Some are even suggesting that The Politico had no business running this story. These are other journalists who are beginning to say this….

Really, folks, five days now, and nobody knows what he did … Five days! As Wes Pruden, former editor-in-chief of the Washington Times, points out: When he ran the Washington Times newsroom: If somebody like The Politico reporters would have brought this story to him, he woulda thrown ‘em down the steps—and if they survived that, he would have fired them. (paraphrased exchange) “You’re telling me you want my newspaper to publish this rotgut? What do you got? There’s nothing here! I want names, places, activities, things that happened. There’s nothing here!”

[end of excerpt]

I’ve been saying all along that there’s nothing there. But as I’ve also made clear, the worse problem for Cain was his chaotic, contradictory, and irresponsible responses to this nothing, suggesting a lack of political competence and even of basic prudence and intelligence.

The interesting question then becomes: how should he have responded to these substanceless yet damaging charges?

Earlier this week, I said this to a friend while walking up Broadway on Manhattan’s Morningside Heights:

Here’s what Cain should have done. He should have said: “Yes, there were charges that were made which were utterly bogus and they were handled by the National Restaurant Association. Under the agreement that ended the controversy all the parties including myself signed a confidentiality agreement. So it’s a closed matter as far as I’m concerned. Now Politico and the rest of the media are floating these vague charges, with not a single specific allegation, not even the name of the accusers. They have no incriminating facts against me, nothing—and they want ME to tell them what exactly the charges against me were! Apart from the fact that I am under a confidentiality agreement, that’s a ridiculous expectation to have of me.

“So I will have nothing further to say about this matter. If the media come up with some actual charges against me, with names, places, dates, and the alleged offensive acts by myself, then of course I will respond to that. But for the media to expect me to recirculate these bogus and disgusting charges against me that were dispensed with 13 years ago and about which Politico itself does have any facts, is insane.”

If Cain had spoken this way, he would have put the media on the defensive instead of himself, and he would have avoided the desperate and contradictory statements he made that, in addition to so much else, make it impossible to think of him as a prospective president.


Dean Ericson suggests that my proposed reply would be too lawyerly for a political candidate. People would still have wondered, “If the charges were bogus, why didn’t you fight them instead of paying off the complainants and signing a confidentiality agreement?”

Good point. So Cain should also have said something like this:

“You may wonder why I did not fight these bogus charges, and why I refuse to discuss them now. The reality is that for the last 20 or more years, any female employee can make some phony accusation of sexual harassment, based on absolutely nothing, based on a word or a look that she said made her ‘uncomfortable,’ based on a one-time incident that the complainant did not even say anything about to the supposed sexual harasser at the time of the incident, and hang a company up in years of litigation. Many complainants start this process not because they were harmed, but because they are taking advantage of a system that positively encourages them to see themselves as victims, or even just because they want to make an easy buck. I’m not saying that all charges of sexual harassment are bogus, but the majority of them are. And the sad reality is, companies in this situation find it easier just to pay the complainant a relatively modest amount than face years of expensive litigation. That was the decision that the National Restaurant Association made in this case. I had nothing to do with that decision. It was made by the board of directors.”

If Cain had said this, he would have put, not just the accusatory liberal media, but the whole liberal system, with its tyrannical cult of “sexual harassment,” on the defensive. And that includes a large number of weak-minded conservatives who joined the liberals on the “sexual harassment” bandwagon.

- end of initial entry -

Dave Levine writes:

Well, the point is, Cain shouldn’t have handled it as he did, not “what if.” He’s taken Romney’s role as “Flip-Flopper King.” That’s hardly the character that Conservatives I know want in The White House (I exclude “los desperados,” a portion of the Conservative movement that doesn’t care about “who” Cain is—they just want Soetoro-Obama out of office).

Cain is hiding his liberal wife. She voted for Soetoro-Obama in 2008) probably because she’s a liberal. How does THAT look to Conservatives?

I’m certainly no fan of women who cry “sexual harassment!” at powerful men or even at normal, non-powerful men. I myself have lost jobs because of those accusations, good-paying jobs. I should be right there, supporting Herman Cain, right? Wrong! That’s because we haven’t heard from the three women yet. We’ve only heard from the attorney of one of those women. We know two were paid off by his organization, paid into silence by court order. I would never have even offered to “pay off” the young women who accused me many years ago (in the early 1990s) of sexual harassment because I never harassed them! I was fired because my boss, a popular restaurant’s owner, was afraid of a class action lawsuit by some of my fellow female workers, so he fired me without cause. I was innocent. [LA replies: As long as the charges remain non-specific, they are deserving of ZERO respect from anyone. You completely fail to understand this point, and thus you in effect join with the liberals in pillorying a man over non-specified charges.]

I don’t want Herman Cain in The White House! While his sexual harassing back in the mid-1990s may or may not have happened, he’s shown that he isn’t the type of person I want leading the country based mostly on policy. The sexual harassment charges are simply “icing on the anti-Cain cake.” [LA replies: Again, you join with the liberals in punishing a man over non-specific charges, and you justify this wrongful attitude by your political opposition to Cain. Your political opinion of Cain is irrelevant to the sexual “harassment” accusation. I obviously do not support Cain, but I don’t use that fact, as YOU do, to say that the sexual “harassment” charges should be held against him.]

As an Independent Conservative who loathes the GOP as much as the Democrat Party, the argument within the question, “You mean, you want Romney to win the nomination?” doesn’t sway me. [Again, this is irrelevant to the issue at hand. And it is not just irrelevant. It is unjust. Since you are saying that you will not defend a Republican you don’t like from being wrongfully pilloried with non-specific accusations, you are also implying that if a Republican you do like were being wrongfully pilloried with non-specific accusations, you would defend him. Where’s your sense of justice? Is justice only for your friends?]

I’m backing the only law and order Conservative in the race, Michele Bachmann. If she drops out? I’ll likely back Virgil Goode of The Constitution Party.

Policy over party. The country will never recover without a law and order President. Cain, in my opinion, is a faux conservative, a fraud.

Glynn Custred writes:

I was instinctively drawn to Arnold Schwarzenegger because he was an innovative, enterprising man who rose to the highest position in what he chose to do, and was flexible enough to invest and expand his successful ventures.

I felt the same about Cain. In both cases they are outsiders who are very resourceful but naive when it comes to politics. Neither of them have any idea how to chose the right consultants, and this naiveté along with their inability to find the right council led to their shortcomings. In Cain’s case, it may be that he did find the right consultant but didn’t listen to him. At this point I don’t know which it is.

In Cain’s case, the caper might backfire on the perpetrators and the hit-man media. If there were anyone savvy involved in politics outside Dem circles, we would hear stories about false accusations using sexual harassment as a cover for extortion (with no accusations made in this case), as well as calls for more transparency for all candidates, especially Obama who has been especially secretive about his past. President Obama, Show us your college transcripts, answer allegations that you used drugs, why have you sealed your publications (I still don’t know how published papers can be hidden) how did you get that cushy real-estate deal with that shady character in Chicago? Tell us more about the good minister in your church, who you regarded as an uncle. Why didn’t you question his anti-American and racist remarks. Sir, would you not condemn others for such intemperate language? And tell us about your relationship with Bill Ayers. If we should know everything about Cain, and, once he’s been knocked him off, about the next GOP front runner, then Mr. President, candidate for 2012, shouldn’t we know every thing about you?

I would also highlight discrepancy in reporting on the Tea Party and Republican candidates, and news about Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and Obama’s crony capitalism (Solyndra, Corzine and anything else we can come up with). I would also hammer the media, no more “mainstream media” but rather the “PR wing of the Democratic Party” repeated over and over again until it becomes a part of the political discourse.

Ken Hechtman writes:

According to Alan Dershowitz, that approach might cause more problems than it solves. If Cain comments on the substance of the case (“the charges are utterly bogus”), then the complainants may be free to do so as well. Rush Limbaugh can assert that the press has no details because there are no details. But if Cain makes the claim himself, that might just bring the details out.

From Washington Post:

Herman Cain might be breaching the confidentiality agreement reportedly muzzling his alleged sexual harassment accuser when he speaks publicly about the incident, legal experts say….

Questions remain regarding the timing of the reported agreement and whether it binds the association or Cain, who left the association over a decade ago. But Alan Dershowitz, Harvard law professor, said it would be unusual for any such agreement to prohibit only the accuser from speaking about the incident, and not the accused.

“He has spoken to the media and very well may have waived a confidentiality agreement,” Dershowitz said. “It can’t be the case that he can present his perspective and she can’t. She is certainly entitled to answer what he has put forward in the media.”

Dershowitz said he doubts the agreement contained a specific provision that prohibited the employee from speaking, even if Cain spoke publicly.

“I doubt that would be in there,” Dershowitz said. “It would be very unusual and something that most lawyers would not agree to.”

LA replies:

But Dershowitz’s entire argument misses the obvious fact that Cain HAS said that the charges are bogus, repeatedly, and that this has NOT led to the charges being specified.

Besides, in my proposed statement for Cain, he says he is perfectly willing to respond to the charges, IF they are specified. He is not afraid of that.

Clark Coleman writes:

After a settlement is reached with a confidentiality agreement, I wonder if Cain is allowed to say that the charges were baseless, bogus, etc.? I guess it depends on the nature of the confidentiality agreement. I am not saying that Cain could not have greatly improved his handling of this matter this week, but I am not sure of the limits on what he can say. [LA replies: whether he’s allowed to deny the charges or not, he has denied the charges, yet it hasn’t brought his accusers out of the shadows, so where’s the harm in his denying the charges? He’s just supposed to sit silent while hidden people are striking out at him from the shadows?]

Richard Miniter was on the Lars Larson radio show tonight and he made it sound like a complaint was made to a Human Resources department, the HR department investigated it, and there was never a hearing in which Cain had to answer anything, because the HR and legal departments never came close to a finding of any wrongdoing. If true, this would explain why he claimed to remember so little about it. If he had been through some Inquisition, he would be expected to remember plenty. Miniter claimed to have submitted a story to Forbes (not yet published) with details of the two cases. The settlement payments were $35,000 and $45,000, which is a couple of months severance pay plus unused vacation and sick days for women lobbyists who were making $100,000 per year at the time. In other words, not exactly an admission that damages are owed, just a “here’s your severance package if you are leaving” deal.

On another issue, I think we are also missing the really disgusting thing here. Herman Cain was head of the National Restaurant Association and was dealing with their lobbyists. This organization was (and still is) one of the leading lobbyists in favor of open borders and against all immigration control measures, especially interior enforcement. Herman Cain has been very much on the wrong side of immigration issues until very recently in his campaign, especially with immigration developing as a weakness in the Rick Perry campaign. He is not to be trusted on this issue.

Ken Hechtman writes:

OK, we got a few more details today:

Washington (CNN)

One of the women who accused Republican presidential contender Herman Cain of sexual harassment released a statement through her lawyer Friday saying that she “stands by” her complaint, which was made “in good faith about a series of inappropriate behaviors and unwanted advances.”

There was “more than one incident” of harassment involving Cain and his client over the span of a couple of months in 1999, attorney Joel Bennett said.

Bennett said his client, married for 26 years, will not reveal her identity because “she and her husband see no value in revisiting this matter now nor in discussing the matter any further publicly or privately.”

It knocks down the “one remark, one time” defense but it’s not good enough. It’s still too thin. You may be right. The ball is in the complainants’ court now. They need to make a convincing argument that Herman Cain did something wrong. This statement isn’t going to convince anyone who didn’t believe it already.

LA replies:

There are no details here. This is nothing—nothing that rises to factual accusations. All she does is state an abstraction about “sexual harassment.” The fact that there is nothing here after—what? five days? a week?—shows that there is nothing here, period. Politico and the liberal media have disgraced themselves by publishing non-facts intended to damage a man.

I suppose one way to get to the bottom of this from an objective source would be for the National Restaurant Association to release the information. Don’t they have complete records on the charges and the disposition of the charges? Why should the whole matter be “re-litigated” by the complainant and the defendant, as it were, from scratch, since there is already presumably a complete factual record in the archives of the NRA? But because of the confidentiality agreement, they will probably not do that. Which brings us back to the starting point. There is nothing here that rises to factual accusations. This story should never have been published.

LA continues:
Also, I’ve heard that the media are saying that Cain himself must come forward and lay everything out. Now think of that. They make unsubstantiated charges against a man, and then tell him that for him to clear himself, he must make their case for them, he must supply the facts that his accusers are not willing or able to supply.

I don’t think even Stalinist Russia did anything like this—requiring a man to become his own prosecutor. “Defendant Kainovitch, you have committed monstrous crimes against Comrade Stalin, but we don’t know exactly what they were. You must tell this court what you have done, in all its details.”

November 5

James N. writes:

Re your analogy to the Stalin show trials, what you suggest did happen. The “Old Bolsheviks” were tormented and required to confess, in fact to make up, things that they had not done. The “prosecution” did not have a complete dossier of false charges, many of the charges justifying the death penalty were invented by the accused, so complete was their fealty to the Party and to Comrade Stalin.

Jim C. writes:

Cain has become a joke. Time to cut him loose.

LA replies:

Cain is not the point. Cain is being treated wrongly and that wrong treatment must be resisted and attacked. Or perhaps in your system of values, if you don’t support a person politically or don’t like him personally, it’s ok with you if that person is destroyed by a kangaroo court?

LA continues:

Jim C. hasn’t replied in three hours. I guess his answer to my question is yes.

LA replies:
In an article at The Daily Caller, Christopher Barron writes:

Trial lawyers looking to make a quick and easy buck off of this out-of-control system extol the ease of making and recovering for a sexual harassment claim. Indeed, a leading sexual harassment lawyer in California, John Winer, has an entire website——set up to tell perspective clients how easy it is to win cash in a claim.

Included on this website are assurances that “90-95%” of sexual harassment cases are settled before trial. The site also lets erstwhile “victims” know that no physical touching is required—going as far as to say that “in fact, visual harassment, including leering looks, offensive gestures or derogatory posters, cartoons or drawings have been found sufficient to create a hostile environment.” That’s right—“leering looks”!

Apparently, the reported Cain settlement of $35,000 would be peanuts according to the “sexual harassment expert.” Winer says on his site that “every good liability sexual harassment case has at least a six-figure potential value,” and includes tips on how to win million-dollar-plus verdicts (tips like: make sure the defendant is a big corporation).

Pandora’s Box writes:

To correct a misimpresson, Herman Cain is not bound by Confidentiality in the matter of the agreement between the Association and the complainants, because he was not a signatory. (Very carefully and thoroughly explained by Mark Levin.)

Had he been one, he’d have (or have had) a copy of what was alleged, specifically.

As he doesn’t, because he wasn’t, and as the other two parties have chosen to adhere to the non-disclosure clause, it is OF COURSE ridiculous to expect Cain to attempt to defend himself against vapor-ware charges. This would apply to anyone, in my opinion.

I’m not “in love” with Herman Cain, haven’t decided to support him against all comers, but what is being done to him is unjust. The Left, the stinking Left of all stripes …

LA writes:

Thank you for pointing this out. The same is also clear in the statement by the National Restaurant Assocation. What this means is that Cain was not involved in the investigation of the complaint or in the procedure leading to the resolution of the complaint. Which means that he never directly heard the complaints against him. This underscores the fact that he has never been in a position to tell the world what happened, and it is absurd and unjust to expect him to.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at November 04, 2011 06:01 PM | Send

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