Herman Cain withdraws: Media conspiracy or self-inflicted wound?
Twelve weeks after his surprise victory in the Republican Party of Florida’s presidential straw poll and following weeks of scrutiny over an alleged 13-year extramarital affair and allegations of sexual harassment at the workplace during his time with the National Restaurant Association, last week Herman Cain withdrew from the Republican primary race.
Cain’s announcement came five days after an Atlanta-area woman, Ginger White, claimed she and Cain had an affair for more than a decade. The claim by White followed several allegations of sexual harassment against the Republican presidential hopeful. As the parade of allegations continued to distract the candidate and his campaign from his message, his withdrawal from the race became inevitable.
Clearly Herman Cain’s candidacy captured the imagination of conservative voters. No African-American has ever led the polls in a nomination contest within the Republican Party.
Voters were drawn to his story. He was a man from humble beginnings who rose to run the Godfather’s Pizza chain. He was a fierce proponent of capitalism and free enterprise. Cain was fun to watch. And he was clearly enjoying the spotlight.
From the moment he rose to the top of the GOP pack of contenders, the stories of his sexual peccadilloes began to surface. Soon discussion of his 9-9-9 economic plan became replaced by his daily denials of the allegations of at least four women. While continuing to deny the allegations, last week in announcing his decision to leave the race, Cain admitted the latest revelation “might create too much of a cloud in some people’s minds.”
During the last few weeks, Cain has struggled to put the allegations behind him. Cain (and his supporters) alleged “character assassination” and media-enabled plots to undermine him. Cain increasingly took to bashing the media as the sexual allegations mounted. There was also the suggestion by Cain that part of his problems he was facing stemmed from his race. Many of his supporters make the argument that he has undergone closer scrutiny of his personal life in the last four weeks than President Obama endured during his entire presidential run in 2008 or since then.
His critics argue that Cain created his own problems and they claim that the information regarding his former employer having settled two harassment complaints is self-inflicted and the information regarding his admission of his support for the woman, who says she was his mistress, is self-inflicted. Cain’s critics argue that there was no concerted effort to undermine him; he undermined himself.
Forum Question of the Week:
Was Herman Cain unfairly targeted by the national media or were his wounds self-inflicted?