It was bound to happen. Herman Cain was getting too popular. He was showing some cojones when he aired one of the dumbest campaign ads of all time and succeeded in having every talking head on North America scratching his or her head, true, but talking about Herman Cain nonetheless.
Even after he had what I consider a faulty outing at the most recent Republican
free-for-all debate, Cain’s popularity continued its baffling ascent. Something had to be done to stop this outsider, this “Oreo” with a coating of smarm charm.
Monday morning’s lead news report on NBC was “Herman Cain Sexual Harassment Scandal.” zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz What took you so long, Mitt?
When Cain was the head of the National Restaurant Association in the 90s, at least two female employees complained about alleged inappropriate, sexually charged behavior from the pizza man. As was the norm back in the day, the women were paid to leave their jobs after signing agreements barring them from talking about the circumstances of their “resignations.” Cain, of course, kept his position.
Why am I not shocked and dismayed? Please. I entered the work force in 1966. A not-too-ugly black and female college graduate with oh-so-much potential for curing what ailed corporate America. I was subjected to so many sexual innuendos and forms of flat-out harassment based on gender, I thought it was another form of the hazing I had recently undergone to gain access to a sorority membership. It became the stuff that spawned hit TV shows like Mad Men.
Thirty years later, with all the laws and corporate codes of conduct in place, women were safe from the leering and groping, the cartoons and the lunch-table jokes, and the unspoken but loudly clear suggestions about loss of jobs and such. Right? Hah!
I was a young divorced mother of a three-year-old son when I was lured away from my prestigious public relations job at the University of Chicago by a suave and reasonably handsome executive director of a community organization. He offered to practically double my salary if I left and became the PR director at his non-profit. Where do I sign, was my only response.
How was I to know that the man was staffing his entire organization with young single woman with children? All the executives, however, were men – younger, ambitious and too-busy-to-be-bothered-with-women men.
It wasn’t very long before he started making, shall I say, unusual requests. “Let’s meet over breakfast at 7 a.m.“ “We’ll go over those press releases at dinner tonight.” “Close the office door so we don’t get disturbed.”
The day he decided to make his move, he literally chased me around the desk. I kept running and said something like “Whoa, Mr. F. I don’t play that.” Later that day, I made an appointment to take the management test at Illinois Bell Telephone Company. When I was ultimately hired in their sales and marketing department, I gave Mr. F two weeks notice. He asked where I was going. I refused to tell him. He had already sabotaged a new job for my predecessor in retaliation for spurning his advances. No way was I going to aid and abet my own demise.
When the courageous Anita Hill blew the whistle on her own sexual harassment by Supreme Court Justice nominee Clarence Thomas, the good-old boys in Congress decided to give him a pass and confirmed him anyway. A black Republican got a job for life, whereas any ordinary black man would have been vilified by the same crowd simply for being married to a white woman. One can’t help but wonder what would have happened if Anita Hill was white herself.
It is not clear what the race of Cain’s accusers might be, but I don’t think it will matter much this time. I predict there will be no pass for Cain. Instead, I think he has just received his ticket out of the race. If I am right about suspecting Romney’s camp as the source of this revelation about Cain’s indiscretions, Herman Cain will be slinking off into the sunset wearing that black cowboy hat we saw him in last week.
What's the difference? Expediency. Clarence Thomas was used by conservatives, in spite of his obvious flaws, to fill a diversity void on the Supreme Court without having to add another liberal justice. Herman Cain is in somebody's way. He is blocking the yellow brick road to the White House, AND he doesn't play by the rules. He's gotta go. Whatever his allure is to the right -- and I still believe it is the prospect of pitting one black man against another -- this indsicretion and subsequent coverup is too much to overcome.