Turns out, I probably needn’t have bothered. The repercussions may have sunk in for Cain, who today hinted at what an end to his campaign might look like. Innocent until proven guilty is a legal concept, not a political one. Real or not, the increasing number of skeletons emerging from his closet make a potential road to the white house both steep and treacherous.
What made the days events different from the earlier allegations is what puts this disclosure over the top. Here is a quick time-line:
-Sunday, 11/27 – Cain is cemented to appear on The Situation Room on CNN the next day.
-Monday, 11/28 – During the interview, CNN staffers note increased noise on twitter re: a upcoming exclusive from Fox Atlanta regarding Cain. Cain acknowledges that he is aware, and apparently agrees to discuss the issue then and there, during a break in the interview. Cain then reveals that they ‘have been contacted’ and so are aware that Fox is going to interview an associate of his that he has known for 13 years, and that she is going to allege that they had an affair during that time-span, but that this is not true. As he has to date, he denied any truth to the pending allegations, adding that “”It is someone that I know who is an acquaintance that I thought was a friend.”
Sometime before this, Fox Atlanta had received a letter from Cains legal counsel suggesting that there was no newsworthiness to a story involving an alleged 13 year extramarital affair. Certainly, such an alleged affair is different than the handful of previous sexual harassment allegations, but unfortunately for Cain, the American voter has a finicky way of deciding for themselves what is important to them. Interestingly, the letter did not seem to deny the allegations, only suggest they were not newsworthy.
-Shortly thereafter, the news was broken by Fox (which certainly adds an extra layer of irony)
-Tuesday, 11/29 – The Pro Cain superpac in his name decides that it has seen enough, and renames itself the ‘Defeat Obama’ PAC.
-Cain holds a conference call with his staffers and announces that he is reassessing his campaign, and that ‘if the decision is anything other than plowing ahead, they will be the first to know.’
The idea that the time has come for Cain to bow out of the GOP race is one the candidate himself seems both willing to accept, but unwilling to announce. He told CNN Monday he was “not dropping out of this race” so “long as my wife is behind me, and as long as my wife believes that I should stay in this race.”
One of two things is true. Cain is either guilty of at least one of the allegations, and if so his audacity is perhaps unmatched. If this is the case, we can certainly hope that it ends quickly, so that the victims are not forced to have events play out on a national stage. Get out now, and save yourself, your family, your party and the process from the distraction and collateral damage.
Alternately, Cain’s steadfast denials are truthful, and these are all just fabricated stories. While this seems increasingly unlikely, I will give him the benefit of the doubt and acknowledge that it is certainly possible.
So let’s entertain that for a moment. Should he bow out? Knowing how much damage the allegations alone have caused, should he take the high road and exit the process for the good of his party? There is no easy way to completely prove or disprove some of these allegations, so even if they are false, they will be hanging over his head for as long as his campaign bus keeps driving.
We will presumably have some closure on this soon, one way or another. But in the meantime, what would you do in this latter circumstance?