Neither you nor I have the slightest idea about whether Herman Cain ever committed acts of sexual harassment when he was head of the National Restaurant Association. Reports are coming out now that say two women who said he did that to them were given 5-figure settlements, and left the trade group under a strict order not to discuss anything about the case.
But that doesn't mean he did it! For real. Lawyers like to use a pet expression, "You could get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich," although they won't generally charge it with having too much mustard. People can say what they want; it doesn't make anything true. There are plenty of harassers who never get in trouble, and there are plenty of people who get in trouble who never harass anyone.
So where does that leave us? These matters are usually she-said-he-said, and I have never said anything to Herman Cain, nor he to me, so I just do not know. What I would like to say to him is that this is not the way to answer questions about such allegations, however scurrilous:
“Inside the Beltway media have begun to launch unsubstantiated personal attacks on Cain. Dredging up thinly sourced allegations stemming from Mr. Cain’s tenure as the Chief Executive Officer at the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s, political trade press are now casting aspersions on his character and spreading rumors that never stood up to the facts.” That's the release put out the other evening by his smoking spokesman, who thinks the whole thing is a drag.
On Sunday, Mr Cain was approached by a reporter from the blog site that first reported this whole brouhaha, and the reporter asked him three times if he had ever been accused of sexual harassment. His answer: "Have YOU ever been accused of sexual harassment?"
Herman, Herman, Herman. OK, that might have been a little better than saying, "Wouldn't YOU like to know?" or "That's for me to know and you to find out," but it's time to deal with this thing. Nip it in the bud, as Barney Fife would say. You take any group of people who can tell a person how to run for high office, and you ask 'em! They're all in favor of bud-nipping!
There are a lot of ways to go with this thing. As I say, for all I know, these charges are totally made up and the people who made them just did so in order to get a sweet payoff and a comfortable exit. In that case, say so, Herman!
On the other hand, it's possible that he was a rake, a roué, a debauchee. In that case, say goodbye, Herman!
But just tell the truth. Repeating the question is not answering it.