As I was preparing for bid, this story led the headlines on Yahoo!’s main page: Republican sexual harassment furor boosts Obama:
The longer the Republican presidential hopefuls battle over sexual harassment claims against Herman Cain, the better things look for President Barack Obama as he mounts his campaign for re-election. . . . .
The rare instance of infighting in a party known for its unity comes just as Obama, a Democrat, is gaining some traction in opinion polls and the U.S. economy is showing signs of improvement.
Huh, Republican presidential hopefuls battling over sexual harassment claims against Herman Cain? Infighiting What? The Republicans aren’t battling over this. (Most of the candidates aren’t event talking about it.) About the only “infighting” there is — and the only thing Reuters “reporter” Patricia Zengerle is Cain accusing “Rick Perry’s camp of being behind the story” and Perry denying that claim.
Yeah, there is some modest signs of improvement in the economy, but no indication that we’re enjoying the type of recovering that normally follows a severe downturn. And the traction the president is gaining is in one poll, not some polls — and that poll appeared to oversample Democrats.
That said, maybe Miss Zengerle is onto something. Maybe the folks in the media hope this story will make the Republicans appear to be insensitive to women — while the brouhaha keeps stories about scandals in the Obama White House off the front burner.
UPDATE: Commenting on the same article, Jim Geraghty holds it “offers a somewhat plausible theory without citing much direct data to support that idea“:
Now, it is true that time spent discussing what Cain did or did not do with several former employees is time not spent making an argument against Obama. But if Cain doesn’t get the nomination, this is largely moot — I remain unconvinced that some Cain-backing conservative will stay home on Election Day 2012 to protest how some GOP rival treated this issue — and if he is, it suggests that this story, with all of its remaining known unknowns and unknown unknowns will be a larger factor in voters’ minds than, say, Obama’s performance since taking office.
FROM THE COMMENTS: ILoveCapitalism quips, “So Jonathan Alter was right, after all. The Obama administration is “scandal free”. (Not in reality; but in the media.)”