From Dave Wiegel at SLATE:
There are two contradictory rules in politics about how to handle an opponent’s embarrassing scandal.
Door Number One: Pile on. The guy’s not “under fire” unless there are flames on him. In the words of James Carville, “if he’s drowning, toss the sonuvabitch an anvil.”
Door Number Two: Back away. The guy’s on fire: You don’t want to get singed!
The choice that Cain’s opponents are making tells us a lot about how he can move past this. They’re all picking Door Number Two. Rick Santorum, in Iowa, isn’t talking about it. Ron Paul is explicitly saying he won’t go after Cain’s “character.” The Perry and Romney campaigns merely deny that the story came from them.
So who outed
Herb Herman Cain?
Original DVD cover
[The] NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, which asked Republicans where their votes would go if Cain dropped out, doesn’t particularly help anyone as much as it helps Romney, whom the Tea Party doesn’t like (generally speaking), and Gingrich, whose niche campaign has remained sort of interesting, but remains a terrible anti-Romney for all kinds of reasons. (No money, marital baggage, inability to stick to a message for more than four weeks, horrible general election polls.) These factoids were confirmed by the DMR poll, in which Gingrich and Romney were the second-choice candidates of the most voters — Cain, pre-scandal, was the poll leader and the second-choice favorite.
I have my own theories. Let’s take them one by one.
Suspect #1: Karl Rove. Turdblossom has been flapping his lips about Herman’s gaffes and even showed up on Fox News with a whiteboard and a list of them. Herm lashed back by saying that Turdy is part of the hated establishment, so it’s no wonder that he doesnt’ approve of ol’ Herm. Turdy knows that Herm can’t win, and dirty tricks are part of his repertoire, so it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s the culprit. Plus, he’s got lots of PAC money, so he can afford to investigate those he doesn’t approve of. Herm is in the pocket of the Koch brothers, and Turdy and the Kochs are at war to see who can control the Rethuglican party.
Suspect #2: Governor Little Ricky Goodhair. He’s been sinking like an anvil due to one gaffe after another. I bet he’d like to take some of the negative attention off himself and focus it on someone else. He learned how to run a nasty campaign from none other than the aforementioned Turdblossom. Besides, he appears to be on a sugar-high from an overdose of New Hampshire maple syrup. Both he and Herm are Tea Party darlings, so he might be thinking that he’ll get Herm’s voters by default. I happen to think he’s wrong, because Teabaggers won’t abandon one of their own over sexual harassment. They think women should be harassed.
Suspect #3: Flip-Flop Mittsie. Mittsie’s poll number don’t move any more than his hair. He might be getting desperate to pick up supporters anywhere and anyway he can. He likes to act righteous, but he’s sleazy as hell on the inside.
Suspect #4: Ron Paul. I don’t think he did anything personally, but he’s got rabid supporters, and who knows what they’d do?
Suspect #5: Frothy Santorum. Frothy thinks he’s holier-than-everyone, and what better than a scandal having to do with sex to allow him to spew some more bullshit about how sacred his marriage is and how gay people will screw that up if they get married?
Suspect #6: Newt Gingrich. Herm had the nerve to come up with his 9-9-9 plan, and the TV bobbleheads couldn’t stop talking about it. Newtie fancies himself the big idea man on the Rethuglican side, but he can’t seem to get any attention. He’s a nasty bastard, and I put nothing past him. Plus, he’s got so many sex scandals in his closet, he’d love to level the playing field in that regard.
Suspect #7: Botox Batshit Bachmann. She’s got to be pissed that first, the Teabaggers dumped her, and then the religious right seemed to have forsaken her. They used to love her, but they dumped her for Herm. Plus, we know that Marcus is her closest (and at this point, maybe only) adviser, and he might be pissed that Herm never hit on him.
Suspect #8: Democrats. Nah. They’d be more than thrilled if Herm was crowned the Rethgulican nominee, because President Obama would make pizza toppings out of him.
Suspect #9: Herman Cain. I don’t think he’s ever really been serious about being the candidate. He did this to make himself a household name so he can make more money from speeches or perhaps a gig at Faux News. Would he deliberately rat on himself just to stay in the news without having to talk about actual policy, which he has proven he knows nothing about? He didn’t even know the details of his own 9-9-9 plan, and he certainly knows nothing about foreign policy. Since we might never know the details of the harassment suit, he can continue to push the bullshit that he’s a victim of the media or other candidates or Democrats who feel threatened by his awesomeness.
Suspects #10 & 11: The harassed women. Just as Anita Hill felt it was her duty to unmask Clarence Thomas as the asshole he truly is, one of these women might have thought it their patriotic duty to tell people what Herm is really like.
Let me just add that I think the charge of racism is pure and utter bullshit. I think outing Herm’s problem was political, not racial. I have never ever associated sexual harassment with men of color, and I have never heard anyone else make that assertion (other than Clarence Thomas). It’s not a black-man thing. Instead, it’s a powerful man thing. There are certain men of every color who, when they make a lot of money or acquire a smidgeon of power or fame, assume a sense of entitlement. One of the things they believe they are entitled to are any women they are attracted to. They think the rules no longer apply to them.
With all that said, I’ll name my pick for the most likely suspect. Based on previous campaign behavior and the sense of desperation that must be overtaking him, my choice is: