Gay Patriot Header Image

Herman Cain: Not Prepared to Face Biased Media

While I have devoted most of my coverage of the Cain kerfuffle to discussing what it shows about our biased media, I think the Republican candidate could have done a better job responding to the allegations.  As Michael Barone explains, putting the story into its proper political context:

And it has to be said that Cain and, even more, his campaign spokesmen were unprepared to deliver a single definitive response to a story that they had known was brewing for several days.

Read the whole thing.  Barone is spot on in his analysis.  The candidate seems to keep shifting his strategy as details of the story drip out.  As soon as his team knew the story was “brewing,” they should have developed a strategy to respond.  (As Meg Whitman learned last fall, even a well-prepared response to a a media hit job may not provide adequate “damage control.”)

Simply put, Republican candidates have to be prepared to face a media which covers them more critically than it does Democrats.  It may not be fair.  Indeed, it’s not, but that’s the way it is.  At least for now.

Had John McCain recognized that fact, he might have added a couple more states to his tally in 2008.

NB:  Fixed a whole passel of typos in this post which I originally crafted somewhere between 2:30 and 3:00 AM PST.

Share

19 Comments

  1. It’s also a function of Cain not being a professional politician. Frankly, I’m sick and tired of watching slick politicos recite their canned, focus-grouped talking points. However, I am ahead of the curve in this regard. Most Americans either lack the ability to see through the phoniness of the political class or don’t care. So, this whole episode is going to be a net-negative for Cain… and a net positive for the slick, cautious, never-off-message establishment candidate. And y’all know exactly who I am talking about.

    Comment by V the K — November 2, 2011 @ 8:11 am - November 2, 2011

  2. Dan, re-read for typos… one changes the subject of an important sentence (from “It” to “I”).

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — November 2, 2011 @ 8:45 am - November 2, 2011

  3. from the Q’s for Politico post

    That which does not kill us makes us stronger.
    Friedrich Nietzsche

    Cain is either going to show his ability to shine or he will perish under the hot light. Seems like he was one of those folk reluctant to get the professional handlers needed to navigate a high profile project like a presidential election.

    From Sunday’s first spotlight. . .

    Cain said he has “had thousands of people working for me” at different businesses over the years and could not comment “until I see some facts or some concrete evidence.” His campaign staff was given the name of one woman who complained last week, and it was repeated to Cain on Sunday. He responded, “I am not going to comment on that.”
    He was then asked, “Have you ever been accused, sir, in your life of harassment by a woman?”
    He breathed audibly, glared at the reporter and stayed silent for several seconds. After the question was repeated three times, he responded by asking the reporter, “Have you ever been accused of sexual harassment?”

    Comment by rusty — November 1, 2011 @ 8:46 am – November 1, 2011

    Comment by rusty — November 2, 2011 @ 8:55 am - November 2, 2011

  4. Michael Walsh over at The Corner reminds us that Politco has “effected the Apostle Saul’s famous Rule No. 13: ‘Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.'”

    Cain was given a warning by Politico that an innuendo was heading his way and was asked to defend himself without knowing the details of the innuendo. Politico was chumming. They were inviting Cain to help provide target areas for the sucker punch they were creating.

    Cain decided to wait Politico out and respond to the specifics rather than run around like a chicken with its head cut off. His choice. That is leadership. Apparently, this is such high drama that his choice of strategy seriously undermines his leadership credentials for some.

    Politico and its allies have won. Cain is being distracted from his campaign and he is being forced to hop around defending himself against the nebulous charges. Alinsky was right. This is the beginning of the Palinization of Herman Cain.

    I am not going to argue with Michael Barone. I highly respect his knowledge of electoral minutiae down to what color the curtains of the voting booths in East Dumbskittle are. But I am not sure I recall Michael Barone ever having served any candidate as a chief strategist.

    Furthermore, if Cain is not your candidate of choice, then this is as good a reason to dismiss him as any other. Color him green and say he is not up to “prime time.”

    Perhaps people do not understand the TEA Party. Perhaps they still think that the “party” in that name means political party. Sorry, but that is not the case. The “party” nomenclature signifies the occasion for coming together. Election day is the “party.”

    We TEA Party people are not looking for a candidate who is next in line to be President. We want a person who will take bold steps in fighting the bloat of leviathan government and the complacency of professional pols who have lost all touch with making a small shop on Main Street work.

    Frankly, I expect Cain to profit greatly from this. He has a lot of underdog appeal and he does not exude arrogance. I am sorry to see that his wife now has to come out and “stand by her man.” But, again, that is a decision they have made and I am not in a position to second guess them.

    There is something really disingenuous about focusing on this trifle. However, if it can be made into the mountain that conquers Cain, then its efficacy will be apparent.

    Stay tunes.

    Comment by Heliotrope — November 2, 2011 @ 9:40 am - November 2, 2011

  5. The question is, can he learn from this and be better prepared next time something comes (and it will) out of Left field? (capitalization intended)

    Since the current WH occupant hasn’t shown any capacity to learn from his mistakes, that would be a plus.

    Comment by alanstorm — November 2, 2011 @ 9:45 am - November 2, 2011

  6. Herman Cain is the true underdog while the incumbent fool in the White House pretends he’s the underdog since his policies are rejected by the people. Cain gains from this since he’s not a politician.

    Comment by Sebastian Shaw — November 2, 2011 @ 9:47 am - November 2, 2011

  7. Ahhh. Tis the season for arm chair quarterbacks. I think Cain is a very fast learner. An excellent and necessary quality in a leader. Let’s see how he does from here on out.

    Comment by Stan — November 2, 2011 @ 10:34 am - November 2, 2011

  8. To me, the most damning aspect of this is that the Cain camp had a few days to sort this out before the story broke. The lack of attention on this might have been the result of the smashing success of that smoking commercial. They werfe so busy basking in that success that they neglected to take this seriously.

    Ultimately, here is the question – Lets assume there will be another bump down the road, does this and the next campaign flub automatically mean Cain would not be a good President? I need not remind this crowd at GP – We’ve had a succession of good to great campaigners who have turned out to be mediocre to absolutely horrible Presidents.

    Comment by Sonicfrog — November 2, 2011 @ 11:08 am - November 2, 2011

  9. I have been chewing this over:

    Herman Cain: Not Prepared to Face Biased Media

    It is a conclusion lacking a premise and I am perplexed.

    Just how do you “prepare” to “face a biased media?” Newt Gingrich jumps the media at the first opportunity, but does he score important support in doing so or does he just come off as a cranky smart aleck?

    Richard Nixon invented the “silent majority” that was going to come out on election day and show the media how out of touch they were with the sentiment in fly-over country. They did and Nixon swept the states.

    Cain has a silent majority and a more vocal TEA Party behind him at this point in what is only the opening rounds. So, the question is: does the media bias help or hurt Cain?

    Nonetheless, I would be interested in knowing how one prepares to face a biased media. If there is some powerful three step program that can be used against the Alinsky formula, why don’t we know about it?

    Comment by Heliotrope — November 2, 2011 @ 11:14 am - November 2, 2011

  10. Judging from the media coverage, the Cain story is the most important thing going on. People who get all their news from the MSM or going to have a major WTF moment when they wake up to find that the Greek military has staged a coup triggering a financial panic and bank run followed by draconian seizure of power by the Administration… And all this time, they thought the Cain thing was the most important issue on the table.

    Comment by SoCalRobert — November 2, 2011 @ 12:55 pm - November 2, 2011

  11. To me, the most damning aspect of this is that the Cain camp had a few days to sort this out before the story broke. The lack of attention on this might have been the result of the smashing success of that smoking commercial. They werfe so busy basking in that success that they neglected to take this seriously.

    Not really.

    Politico claims they were in contact with the Cain campaign. About what? What did they share with them in advance? What did they tell them?

    Merely picking up the phone and saying that they were going to run a story on Cain would have fit their description of “contact”. There is no information to the effect that Politico told Cain exactly what they were looking for, or what they had found, or anything of the sort.

    Let’s use a hypothetical, Sonic. I call you and let you know that in three days I am going to run a story featuring you. Three days later I air a story with zero hard facts, based on anonymous and unidentified sources, about something that happened to you twenty years ago.

    How effective are you going to be at preparing in advance for it?

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — November 2, 2011 @ 1:21 pm - November 2, 2011

  12. ILC, thanks for alerting me to the typos. Since fixed. (At least those I could catch.) 🙂

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — November 2, 2011 @ 1:29 pm - November 2, 2011

  13. I have two thoughts on this;

    1. I doubt Cain “harassed” anyone, despite the overly-PC lens these sorts of things are judged by today…or then. It’s a non-issue

    2. If the “accuser” with the Non-disclosure Agreement wants to talk, let her return the money first. You take the money, you take your chances…

    Comment by Ted B. (Charging Rhino) — November 2, 2011 @ 1:29 pm - November 2, 2011

  14. 8.To me, the most damning aspect of this is that the Cain camp had a few days to sort this out before the story broke.

    Sonicfrog, it may be damning. Cain must have figured that there was a record of the allegation and payments for sexual harassment. These are facts that Cain had first hand knowledge of, even if the allegations were completely baseless. How many other things could there have been (on the negative side) on Cain that could have come up. In other words, without knowing the specifics, a seasoned politician and campaign could have come up with a simple, clear response, especially since (by my guess) the allegations are not true.

    But I do agree with V the K that it is refreshing to have a candidate who is not politically slick (and as a bonus to a leftie), not extreme right wing as far as I know. As such, I wouldn’t expect him to be slick enough to immediately deflect these allegations.

    Cain has a silent majority and a more vocal TEA Party behind him at this point in what is only the opening rounds. So, the question is: does the media bias help or hurt Cain?

    Heliotrope, this story breaking out should not hurt Cain. Republicans are distrustful of the media (and I assume) willing to give Cain a fair shot with these allegations, and it is the Republicans who are deciding what is going to happen with Cain’s candidacy.

    Comment by Pat — November 2, 2011 @ 3:31 pm - November 2, 2011

  15. Politico claims they were in contact with the Cain campaign. About what? What did they share with them in advance? What did they tell them?

    Merely picking up the phone and saying that they were going to run a story on Cain would have fit their description of “contact”. There is no information to the effect that Politico told Cain exactly what they were looking for, or what they had found, or anything of the sort.

    No, they haven’t said what the conversation was exactly, but I seriously doubt it was “Hey Herman, we have a story about your past, but we’re not going to tell you what it is… Can you respond?”.

    What’s much more likely is that Politico contacted the Cain staff (oh, should I say that in light of the allegations?) and asked for comments about the alleged harassment, and the Cain camp clamped down, figuring that the non-disclosure agreements would prevent anything damaging from coming out.

    Comment by Sonicfrog — November 2, 2011 @ 4:18 pm - November 2, 2011

  16. So I’m supposed to be impressed when a Perry pollster says that he saw “it” but won’t say what “it” was, claims that there were other witnesses but won’t say who they were?

    I know I’m not the smartest tool in the shed, but I don’t get it.

    Comment by TGC — November 2, 2011 @ 6:19 pm - November 2, 2011

  17. Innuendo does not harassment make. Where’s the beef, Politico?

    Comment by Sebastian Shaw — November 2, 2011 @ 6:59 pm - November 2, 2011

  18. Hey Seb, can I use that one?

    Comment by TGC — November 2, 2011 @ 9:56 pm - November 2, 2011

  19. FWIW, a female co-worker once made a complaint of sexual harassment against me. She had done this with a couple of other managers prior, and the company had given her raises and other payoffs to keep her quiet. When the HR person informed me of the complaint, I informed the HR person that she would have a tough time making her allegation stick once it came out that I had been the co-chair of the Gay and Lesbian Law Students in college. The matter was promptly dropped, and the woman left the company a few weeks later.

    Comment by V the K — November 3, 2011 @ 8:11 am - November 3, 2011

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.