Sorry for the lack of posting lately. I’ve been sick these last few days, but I think I’m recovering. Posting should be back to normal soon enough.
In the meantime, don’t you all think it’s sort of odd that one guy is forced to exit the Presidential race for committing adultery, only to be replaced by another guy who committed adultery? I’m not defending Cain at all–I don’t like him or Gingrich–but it doesn’t make sense to me.
Maybe it’s like Thingy said in the comments here, and Cain’s family just made him quit. Although if he cared about his family so little that he cheated, then it’s hard to imagine he would listen about not running for office.
I had thought he might have a decent chance at the nomination, but now it appears that’s over.
I’m really glad he has dropped out, because if any of the stuff alleged about him is true, it means he has extremely serious character flaws. Although, I am kind of surprised he didn’t first try to use the “lots of other Presidents have committed adultery” defense. I mean, he could have tried to argue that it’s not relevant to his ability to do the job, but then again, his relevant credentials don’t seem great to me, either.
Courtesy of Ta-Nehisi Coates, conservative writer John Derbyshire asks:
“Is there anyone who thinks sexual harassment is a real thing? Is there anyone who doesn’t know it’s all a lawyers’ ramp, like ‘racial discrimination’? You pay a girl a compliment nowadays, she runs off and gets lawyered up. Is this any way to live?”
Coates also links to Dahlia Lithwick’s take on this sentiment, which is essentially incredulity that Conservatives are denying the existence of sexual harassment.
There are substantial differences between the attitudes of Liberals and Conservatives towards women, but in the particular case of Herman Cain I think it’s purely political convenience. If these same allegations were made against a Democrat, these same Conservatives would be outraged at him.
Incidentally, this does illustrate a difference in argument style. The position: “we don’t know what happened, but there are allegations of sexual harassment committed by Herman Cain that must be investigated.” is pretty weak vs. the position that “sexual harassment does not exist”.
Some would say that making such a sweeping statement is a mistake in arguing. After all, it doesn’t take much to be proven wrong. I used to agree with that–in fact, I still agree with the “proven wrong” part–but I do wonder if arguing from such a hard-line position offers a tactical advantage in how those who do it are perceived.
Obviously, when people are looking for “consensus” and “centrism”, the approach taken by Derbyshire is a better position to begin arguing from, since you can merely admit that it exists without having to allow the possibility that Cain did anything wrong in this particular case. So, you can appear to be making concessions and refining your case without actually doing it.
UPDATE: Conservative blogger and Herman Cain supporter Robert Stacy McCain says something sort of related to what I’ve said above. His statement basically speaks for itself, I think.
I know he did poorly in the debate last night, but it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Herman Cain were the Republican nominee. His “9-9-9 plan”, based on this Tax Policy Center analysis that Krugman linked to, seems to be the last word in regressive taxation, and his ability to blend nearly Randian contempt for the poor with Christian rhetoric is something to behold.
He seems to me to be the most devout believer in Republican ideology of all the candidates. I hate to quote myself, but I wrote awhile back that “it’s impossible to honestly believe all of the things in the Republican party line without being a rather confused person.” Perhaps “confused” is not quite the right word; but what I mean is that people like Cain, who are capable of fusing the two very contradictory aspects of the party line with total confidence, as if it all makes perfect sense, are unusual and hence, very striking when they show up on the political scene.
Conservative blogger and Herman Cain supporter Robert Stacy McCain actually makes a good point, in passing, while discussing the name of Cain’s website:
“Just like “9-9-9,” the phrase sticks in your mind: Easy to say, easy to remember…”
People have been wondering, now that he’s the front-runner: does Cain have a chance at winning the nomination? I think he actually does, for two reasons.
First, as R.S. McCain says, the “9-9-9 plan” is easy to remember. As far as I can tell, Cain is the only one who has a plan like that. What’s Romney’s plan? It has no catchy name.
Now, of course, until yesterday I knew nothing about the “9-9-9 plan”. Then I read this excellent post by Nameless Cynic, who says:
“[Cain’s] current big campaign promise is the 9-9-9 tax plan (9% income tax, 9% business tax, 9% sales tax). A plan which is basically hated by everybody, Democrat or Republican, except Herman Cain… basically, the rich get taxed less, the poor and middle class get taxed more, and the government gets less money.”
Well, that sounds bad. Unfortunately, I don’t think the typical voter gets down to details like what a plan actually is, or what its probable consequences are. The important thing is that they can, on being asked “what does Herman Cain want to do”, respond readily with “the 9-9-9 plan!” It makes it sound like they know what’s going on.
The second reason is more simple: it is that Conservatives are tired of being accused of racism, and they reckon that supporting Cain makes it harder for that charge to stick.