Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Thoughts on Herman Cain and dealing with accusations

I am seldom if ever "coy" with you. Hence, I've been open about the fact that I'd like to favor Herman Cain above the rest, but he just hasn't "made the sale." Again and again Cain has struck me as being seriously not ready for prime-time. It isn't that Cain is not a policy-wonk who goes bowling with the prime minister of Beki-beki-bekistan. It is that he doesn't seem to have thought through even how to enunciate core principles.

So now Cain has faced a steady din of accusations of improper behavior. The first were, to me, very suspect: vague, unprovable, he-said/she-said and long after the fact. Classic hit-jobs. They had every sniff of being an attempt to get rid of Cain, to Clarence-Thomas him. Yet even those, Cain didn't handle particularly well.

Now a specific woman has stood up with specific allegations in specific places and time. Yet even this is awfully hard to assess.

On the one hand: Gloria Allred. Period. That any woman would pick Gloria Allred to represent her immediately calls everything about her into question. Plus, the alleged victim smiles and seems awfully happy through the whole thing. Plus, while she has contemporary witnesses, she didn't tell even them the specifics. Plus his alleged behavior, even if true, stopped the moment she told him to stop.

And yet, I know that outwardly inappropriate behavior doesn't mean the story isn't true. It could simply be embarrassing, and that's how she deals. Could also explain her not telling her friends at the time.

But what "gets" me even more is how she stresses that Cain stopped immediately and took her back to her place immediately. If she were making it up, if she were living in the world of "nobody can prove me wrong," if she's trying to fabricate a picture of Cain as an unhinged predator, why not make it worse? Why not put more nasty words in his mouth? Why not make him more insistent? Why not paint him as refusing to stop immediately, as refusing to take her back immediately? It's as if she's consciously not trying to paint it as worse than it is... and that doesn't sound like a liar.

(However, the pushback is already beginning: see here, here, and here. I don't know what to think, but I do know what to do: keep an open mind and closed principles.)

So it's bad, and I don't see how he gets out of it; and that's bad.

Having said all that, I do also say these things:

When there's smoke, sometimes there isn't even smoke. Accusations are just accusations, and the more scandalous and unfalsifiable, the worse.

My then-little kids and I used to drive a route regularly where we saw great billowing clouds of smoke. At first, we thought something was really burnin' down the house. But then I realized that these clouds disappeared fairly abruptly after the initial billows. That's because it wasn't smoke at all; it was steam, and steam dissipates.

So sometimes something that looks awfully damning and substantial can dissipate pretty suddenly under examination and reflection.

It's well-nigh impossible to prove a negative. Have you ever been alone with a child or a member of the opposite sex? Without witnesses? Ever? Of course you have.

Now just imagine that person making a shocking and false accusation; or someone else making a shocking and false about the two of you. How do you disprove that? "Here's a picture of me not doing what you say I did. And here's a video of the two of us not doing what you said we did." Can't be done. Think about that, seriously think about it. Think about bearing that burden.

Character sniping is a popular passtime. It's cheap and easy to make accusations, seem to be a victim, get sympathy, and move on, leaving another's character forever tarnished.

Gone are the days of America lauding heroes, celebrating people who strive and achieve and accomplish. No, victimhood is celebrated today.  Everyone longs to be a victim. And claiming to have been abused by a public figure is a great way to achieve the longed-for status.

That's why I think we should have some form of the Mosaic law about false accusations (Deut. 19:15-21). Slander should cost something.

People set out to destroy people who make them feel bad about their sin. For years I've sought for a way to express this well, and I still don't have it... beyond that statement.

Here's how it works: Pastor/politician/person A makes you feel bad for your sin or inadequacy. You have two choices: repent and deal, or destroy him so you can feel better about your sin.

Those who don't opt for the first usually opt for the second.

So, to many people Herman Cain simply represents a threat to abortion and a threat to racial entitlement, among other things. So they want to destroy him, period. That will go a long way to explaining much, though (as I've said) it won't necessarily explain everything.

The double-standard between the parties stinks.  The GOP, as a rule, carries out its own trash; the Dems, as a rule, regard such things as résumé-enhancers. The reason, I think, is simple and plain, though many are reluctant to say it. It is that of the two relevant parties the GOP is as a rule the friendliest home to practicing Christians, and the Democratic party as a rule is the friendliest home to people who really really hate Jesus.

Now, do note the qualifier. Lots of Republicans really, really hate Jesus; and... well, frankly, I rather think fewer and fewer Democrats love Him much, as their party's lead positions show seething contempt for God, but I don't doubt there are some who do. Wrongheadedly, but nonetheless.

But that being the case, the GOP cares more about its candidates' morality, and the Democratic party just doesn't. (Andrew Klavan adds some pretty terrific thoughts to this, as well, as does Doug Wilson.)

So here's Bill Clinton, who uses his office and power to sexually use women and abuse them and then cover it up. And the Dems form ranks to protect him, at all costs, period. The Dems sold their soul to keep Bill Clinton in office, and they never bought it back.

Why? See the previous reason. Bill Clinton was the best friend pro-aborts ever had in the White House, until Obama. He represented wonderful things to many really bad people. So he was to be protected, and his opponents destroyed.

Those are my thoughts, offered for what they're worth.

Oh, and by the way: do you think I was just talking about politics?

Nah, you're smart folks.


Rabbit said...

"People set out to destroy people who make them feel bad about their sin."

Yes. And while you are correct, Dan, that a conservative, principled candidate can generally make amoral leftists uncomfortable, I think your adage is even more personal. I was once a young, foolish college girl with many young, foolish girlfriends. Our college had a lively party scene, and we dabbled in it. I know exactly *zero* ladies who, upon receiving unwanted advances, kept mum for 15 years before saying something like, "he tried, I said no, and he took me home" to anyone, let alone the national press.

On the other hand, I know more than a few who, upon going out to the bars wearing come-and-get-me clothing, having a few drinks, picking up a cute guy, and encouraging him, received some advances that were, at first, desirable. One or two attacks of conscience later, suddenly it was all the guy's lecherous fault, certainly not the lily-white young lady's responsibility.

Yes. People set out to destroy those who make them uncomfortable about their sin. It is not PC to say so, but women do use sex as a weapon, and it is one of several reasons that I think this woman is twisting the tale, likely at the behest of someone in Obama's campaign.

SolaMommy said...

I tend to wonder why, if she felt sexually harassed, she would wait till NOW and come out with it in PUBLIC. Doesn't make sense to me. If she were so embarrassed abut it, then why tell the whole world rather than taking it to court privately? Maybe I'm missing part of the story.

DJP said...

You know, my feeling on it is like when I faced possibly being on a trial for the accusation of child molestation that appeared to be without corroborating evidence. Rule wrongly one way, and an abused child goes through life with the abuse AND justice-denied; rule wrongly the other, and an innocent man's life is ruined.

Barbara said...

In response to SolaMommy's concern, I would venture to say that I understand the "why". If this indeed did happen to her, being treated that way, having that kind of thing assumed about you, is extremely demoralizing and not a little bit frightening. It says to you that a person you have respected views you as nothing more than a common whore who can be bought, and it takes advantage of a person in dire straits. It shames. You want to keep it quiet and put it behind you...but when others come up and say the same sort of thing happened to them too, there is a part of you that wants to stand up and speak up and join your voice to theirs. It validates (I'm not completely crazy after all) and it incenses - often enough to spur one to action. Suddenly a sisterhood is born.

Just a guess, but an educated one. Not saying it's right but only that it is.

As to Cain - I wanted to support him too, but he is just not coming off as prepared to honestly tackle the hard things. I don't care if it's all fabricated lies - we are talking about the position of Leader of the Free World and we better have someone who can handle the hard things that come along in that position instead of saying, "Don't even talk about that" and contradicting himself all over the place. There is a common demographic in my home state (which is also Cain's) that tends to try to ostrich-hole the unpleasantries and I see Cain doing that over and over again.
I find him dangerous.

DJP said...

That's right, Barbara: knowing and seeing how Cain deals with such accusations is tactically as important as their truth or falsity. He is a (A) black (B) Republican (C) conservative. The Left will try — not merely to defeat, but — to destroy him and everything within a five-mile radius of him.

If Cain didn't know that, and/or if he didn't prepare himself for it, then he simply is too naive to lead.

DJP said...

That's right, Barbara: knowing and seeing how Cain deals with such accusations is tactically as important as their truth or falsity. He is a (A) black (B) Republican (C) conservative. The Left will try — not merely to defeat, but — to destroy him and everything within a five-mile radius of him.

They will do it using dirty tricks, underhanded tactics, and basically anything they think might stick and degrade and hurt and damage. That's just the way it is with them, period. It won't be about ideas. It will be about assassination in every way but blood.

If Cain didn't know that, and/or if he didn't prepare himself for it, then he simply is too naive to lead.

Barbara said...

Not just the accusations, but even just the hard questions about his positions on things. If he can't articulate clearly and understandably, how in the world is he to lead in matters of domestic issues or foreign policy? I need a President who thinks things through and responds intelligently and I am frankly dismayed at those who imply that that is just too much to ask of a man running for President, as though we should not expect more of a man in that position than we would expect of the average Joe. It's no wonder we're on the verge of a fall.

Stan McCullars said...

Cain (mostly) lost me when he repeatedly fumbled the abortion questions.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

What if Cain said to the media that he'd like to handle these accusations in the same forthright manner as Obama did with the demands to see his original long form birth certificate?

Would that go over well?

Michael B. said...

First off, I completely agree that the media responds to sex allegations as if they are already proven. This is in spite of the fact that the accuser often has a great deal to gain by making the accusation.

Having said that, I find the idea that people are harder on Republicans to be ridiculous. Wasn't it the Republicans who spend millions of tax payer dollars to prove Clinton lied about having consensual sexual contact with a woman? Shouldn't Cain having non-consensual sexual contact be just as important?

DJP said...

Sure, Michael, you can try floating that around here. There might be some readers who spent the last quarter-century under a rock somewhere.

Andrew said...

"Keep an open mind and closed principles"...fantastic advice! You ever think of writing a book???!!

I also really valued your thinking on default victimism. I'm rereading MacArthur's The Vanishing Conscience at the moment and much of what you share on this issue resonates with his teaching there.

Thanks for this post Dan. Living in the UK means much of the political detail is lost on me but the principles are the same.

Incidentally, on the subject of books - two copies of TWTG ordered today to work through with a new convert who is coming into membership of the church I pastor. Will let you know how we get on.

DJP said...

Oh, Andrew, praise God. Thanks for making my day. Yes, please do update me.

Robert said...

What is really disturbing to me is that if this is a flase claim, it makes it just that much worse for those who have really been assaulted.

In particular, I can not help but to think of a major case going on in Pennsylvania involving the former defensive coordinator for the Penn State Nittany Lions. To be honest, the particulars of that case have made me sick, enraged me, and brought me much sorrow. And that case should be getting all of the coverage because these incidents have actually been reported over several years and covered up. In fact, there is already an indictment against the man in question on that case. Whereas with Cain's accuser, all we have is some statements and some celebrity lawyer who likes slamming conservatives.

Barbara said...

Well, here's one who's got fewer credibility issues. http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/herman-cain-accuser-identified/story?id=14905460#.TrnkVbKwW3c

Sir Aaron said...


There are two answers. First, they are lying. Second, court requires some evidence. These people can't prove anything. It's she said/he said game. Now they feel they can come out and it's advantageous to them. I find the accusations to be a little weak. Men who ask for sex for favors usually have a long pattern of this behavior. They will also be engaged in other extramarital affairs. I'd expect to see somebody who actually did have sex with him plus loads of mistresses or one night stands. So I'm not convinced there is anything to this.

But I am concerned he has no idea how to deal with these allegations. Foreign policy seems to be really week and nobody knows what type of justices he'll appoint.

Barbara said...

Sir Aaron,

Men who ask for sex for favors....

...at least in the world (as opposed to the church), are in the majority. I have found that the man who doesn't seek "favors" for assistance of any kind to a single woman on her own is a disillusioningly rare breed indeed. I was shocked, 18 years ago, to learn firsthand how suspect the character of a woman is automatically deemed to be as opposed to being a married woman, and there are many, many men who will act upon those assumptions. That's what I mean when I say it's devaluing and demoralizing. There is much, much, much to be said for the need for a woman to be protected by someone who loves her - it is a jungle out there. Being assumed to be a liar and thrown under the bus without a fair hearing is pretty much expected by anyone who would come forward. But it should not be. A high percentage of rapes go unreported for much the same reason: personal shame. It takes a lot of time to get distance from that before one could have the strength to come forward. I think what appalls me even more than this treatment of these women, though, is that as Christians we're supposed to be people of the truth, not people of consipiracy theories. And we're supposed to have heart for those sinners who meet injustice, be they falsely accused or be they made to feel that they should "pay" for assistance with their bodies.

Barbara said...

oopsie -

"...how suspect the character of a woman is automatically deemed to be as opposed to being a married woman, and there are many, many men who will act upon those assumptions."

Should read,

"...how suspect the character of a divorced woman is automatically deemed to be as opposed to being a married woman, and there are many, many men who will act upon those assumptions. "

For the record, having lived with this for all my life is a huge part of why the perfect righteousness and holiness of our God and His faithfulness to His Word is such a rock for me. To come to understand and realize that was almighty for me. Still is. It holds me fast to that Rock because I know that He in the beauty of His holiness looks nothing like the brutal world.

Mizz Harpy said...

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings." Jeremiah 17:9,10

I kick myself when I forget this principle wasting thought and worry on politics and not dwelling on Christ.

I was talking with a friend yesterday about people who think they are basically good. We both agreed that such a person is dangerous because they probably also believe they can do no wrong. I don't know much about Cain but I see too many Republicans and way, way too many Democrats who are like this.

southerngospelyankee said...

I just feel sorry for Cain. Frankly I'm in agreement that this is probably smear tactics. But as others have said, I'm just not sure he'd make a really articulate, capable leader. He seems a little slow on the uptake. Maybe a good guy, but just sayin'... Thomas Sowell he probably ain't.

Sir Aaron said...


I don't doubt what you say. I just don't think a "fair" hearing is in the public media. I'm continually astounded by reports of these things because most professionals I work with are desperately afraid of such an accustation because of the terrible consequences even a false allegation can have.

Barbara said...

I agree that a fair hearing isn't in the public media...which is possibly reason enough for folks to withhold judgment on the matter. The second accuser was outed by the Daily - she had requested confidentiality. But now that she's been outed, what else is there to do but to call for it to be addressed head on? Especially if the two independent reports are "corroborative" as has been reported? Something lurks. Meanwhile, these women have been thrown under the bus. I am nauseated by the response to them that I have seen. Everyday professionals around the women at work aren't the same as men in power dealing with women outside of their work or even subordinate to them. They believe they're above such allegations - the wagons circle around the ones with power, and the powerless are thrown under the bus. It's nauseating.

Even if he is innocent and unjustly accused, the fact that he and his followers make it all about him and only him and how everybody just has it out for him, tells me this man is no leader.

Pastor Pants said...

"People set out to destroy people who make them feel bad about their sin."

Oh, boy, is that true!?! Or "Amen" as we say...

Always Reforming said...

How about just using God's pretty perfect law about perjury?

The double standard is pretty stinkin' annoying because everyone knows about it but nobody cares.