The Coming Herman Cain Culture War

November 1st, 2011 at 3:52 pm David Frum | 156 Comments |

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It’s only a matter of time before the Herman Cain sexual harassment settlement is unsealed. The exact nature of the charges against Cain will be revealed. They will most likely turn out to be very ambiguous: banter, innuendo, etc.

At that point, here’s what will happen:

People on the left-hand side of the spectrum will gravely insist that the charges are in fact very serious. They will say that those who dismiss banter as trivial are showing insensitivity to women. They will declare: “It’s about abuse of power, not about sex.”

People on the right-hand side will pounce on the perceived hypocrisy and double standard. What about Bill Clinton? What about John Edwards? It’s the biggest deal on earth when one of our guys makes a joke–but it’s “personal and private” when your guys carry on flagrantly?

People on the right will further demand: We are supposed to watch our tongues lest any negative remark about President Obama be seized upon as “racially charged”–yet black conservatives are to be depicted as sexual predators out of Birth of a Nation and that’s not racial?

Unless the accusations against Cain prove both true and objectively heinous, today’s breakthrough fundraising day for Cain may augur many more – and a man unqualified for the presidency may prove brilliantly suited to a new career as ideological martyr.

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156 Comments so far ↓

  • RalfW

    Clinton endured years of hounding and the House successfully voted articles of impeachment. Yes, the Senate didn’t follow through, but David, it’s hard to call that getting off free.

    Edwards is facing charges.

    Gary Hart was out of the running in short order after his Monkey Business.

    So, by those standards, Cain should in deed be facing some tough press examination and disclosures.

  • Scream in My Coffee | Man Are We Screwed

    [...] offender is now the offended, the victimizer is now (and forever) the victim. Herman Cain is now a martyr. The Culture War Industry will now crank up again. And the formerly fossilized like Ann Coulter [...]

  • vishnu

    what about Clinton??? THEY IMPEACHED HIM for heaven’s sake.. (even though, as you may or may not remember, the majority of the people didn’t want that, they wanted him censured, but of course Tom Delay was running things in the House in those days, and the right-wingers and religious fanatics said to him in no uncertain terms, impeach now!! so of course Delay heeded that call and went against what the majority wanted and did instead what the most extreme right-wingers in the country wanted.. it’s exactly the same way Reps in Congress are operating today…)

  • Primrose

    Since Elliot Spitzer and Anthony Weiner were run out of office immediately, and John Edwards is up on charges, you can’t claim that it is a double standard at all.

    And as LFC suggests, there is a difference between sexual harassment and consensual sex.

    And why is it too much to ask that employers reign in what they say to employees? Work is not a bar.