Okay, it wasn’t exactly betting on the Cardinals to win the World Series when they were still 5 games short of a playoff spot in mid-September, I’ll admit that. But I wrote elsewhere three weeks ago that Herman Cain’s rivals for the GOP presidential nomination were due to turn up the heat against him, and it should be clear now what I meant. And to boot, I wasn’t far off the mark with my lame joke educated guess that the insinuations against him would be sexual in nature.
However, the surfacing of past sexual harassment complaints against Cain hasn’t hurt him in the polls yet, which has surprised a lot of folks (including me) because Cain’s initial support seemed so soft. And perhaps I haven’t watched the Republican presidential contest closely enough — don’t blame me; I’ve always been squeamish about seeing car wrecks — but Cain hasn’t seemed to demonstrate the kind of extraordinary charisma or resonant message you’d think he would need for voters to rally around him.
Maybe it’s not about Cain, though. It could just be that the ever-more-delusional right-wing base has decided that this moment is as good as any to make a firm stand against reality, once and for all. Or perhaps Cain supporters’ instincts toward denial have been helped by the fact that the charges against him are still essentially anonymous, and therefore an abstraction.
The question now is, what (if any) shoe is going to drop next? Longtime observers of the politics of personal destruction know that once the amorphous issue of “character” has been raised regarding a candidate, all sort of follow-up allegations suddenly are treated as newsworthy, even if by themselves they would have been ignored. And if someone scheming against Cain gift-wrapped the harassment “scoop” for Politico without one or more sequels ready to be released, then Republican political campaigns really have declined in quality.
Or perhaps there is a slowly unspooling plan to put a face to the current allegations… preferably, from the standpoint of Cain’s rivals, one that not only can survive the inevitable blowback but also triggers the primordial fears (“He’s after our daughters!”) and resentments of the GOP electorate.
Failing that, the camps of Romney, Perry et al. will have to hope that Cain engages in current behavior that accomplishes the same goal. And, frankly, given the elevated levels of hubris that may intoxicate an inexperienced candidate who begins to believe he’s invulnerable — to the point where he starts to boast about his alleged vulnerabilities — that might not be such a surprising development. When you think you’re getting away with something, why not keep doing it?
(Adapted from a post at Firedoglake.)