What: "Who???", Hartford Courant
When: November 21, 2011
When Democrats compete to challenge an incumbent Republican president, liberals tend to regard seemingly hopeless candidacies, such as the Rev. Al Sharpton's 2004 run, or even the respectable but wildly unsuccessful effort by former Sen. Caron Moseley Braun, as issue advocacy campaigns.
With the GOP field this year so presently disorganized, it is hard to figure who falls where. In some cases, such as former Sen. Rick Santorum, it is easy enough to figure; he is playing to and for the social conservatives—clearly, barring some apocalyptic collapse of the American political structure, Santorum cannot win. One might suggest the same of Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, if she declares as expected.
Some consider Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty the foremost "serious" candidate, with the adjective taken to mean someone who actually can compete in the general election.
Which leaves a tier of candidates like Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich, who bring leagues of devoted fans and followers to the contest, and certainly have a penchant for headlines—thus posturing them as significant players in the early rounds—who cannot win the general election.
One could easily suggest that these will be relegated to the advocacy tier, but American politics is also so chaotic that Palin or former House Speaker Newt Gingrich could seriously unsettle a candidate like Pawlenty as the Republican Party moves toward its convention in Tampa at the end of August, 2012.
"Tragically," the editorial said, "the more entrenched the jobs shortage becomes, the more paralyzed Congress becomes, with Republicans committed to doing nothing in the hopes that the faltering economy will cost President Obama his job in 2012."
The point was made in passing, but it's nevertheless striking. As far as the editorial board of the nation's most important newspaper is concerned, it's simply accepted as fact that congressional Republicans want to hold back the economy, on purpose, to undermine the Obama presidency.
This comes less than a week after a poll in Florida found that 49% of voters statewide believe congressional Republicans “are intentionally hindering efforts to boost the economy so that President Barack Obama will not be reelected.” The WaPo/ABC poll is, as best as I can tell, the first national poll to consider the same issue.
To be sure, the wording of this new poll isn’t ideal, and is far less direct than the poll conducted in Florida. But the takeaway is still pretty clear: half the country is inclined to believe GOP officials are killing efforts to boost the economy for purely political reasons.
Voters’ understanding of the political process is severely limited, and many Americans likely fail to appreciate the role Congress must play in policymaking. There are no doubt plenty of voters thinking, “Sure, Republicans are sabotaging the economy, but why can’t Obama just go around them?” unaware of the fact that, on a grand scale, this isn’t an option.
"Presumably, under the Cain plan, disasters would be turned off." (Amanda Terkel)
By 1800, the compulsion to do battle over bogus issues had kicked in and, since then, many a campaign has been built on manufactured fear. Campaign 2012 is no different.
Watching the Republicans' serial presidential debates, one would think the most fearsome problems confronting Americans are high taxes that are killing economic activity, onerous regulations that keep businessmen from creating jobs, illegal immigration, gay marriage and a president who is too weak to confront Islamic terrorists and dictators.
Well, if you say something often enough and loud enough, people may begin to think it's important, but, outside the realm of boilerplate conservative applause lines, there are far more worrisome threats facing the country.
At 11:20am on Monday morning, Cain told Fox News, "If the restaurant did a settlement, I wasn't even aware of it." That is essentially the same thing he told the National Press Club not two hours later when he said, "I am unaware of any settlement. I hope it wasn't for much, because I didn't do anything" indicating that he not only had no knowledge of any agreements but that he also had no knowledge of the amount of any agreements if they actually existed.
By 6pm that evening, Cain's story was beginning to change. This time he told PBS, "I was aware that an agreement was reached."
Before calling it a night, Cain appeared on Fox News again at 10pm to completely contradict himself saying, "We ended up settling for what would have been a termination settlement, quite frankly … Maybe three months' salary or something like that."
In less than twelve hours, Cain went from being clueless about the whole affair — pardon the pun — to knowing quite a bit more than he'd let on about.
Don't for a second assume that Cain and his team first heard about these accusations when they read them in Politico — they had been contacted several times over the course of nearly two weeks in advance of the publication of the story by reporters requesting comment in writing and in person.
Since the story broke, a third woman has come forward, telling the Associated Press that she had received "a private invitation to [Cain's] corporate apartment" and that the future presidential candidate had made "sexually suggestive remarks or gestures" towards her.
Few people know exactly what happened between Cain and his female employees and only one person has been free to discuss the story openly: Herman Cain.
Since Cain has proven himself unreliable, perhaps the National Restaurant Association should free these women from their confidentiality agreements so they can tell their side of the story.
Then, and only then, can this blame game end.
The one thing we've learned for sure is that Herman Cain's staff has no idea what Herman Cain has been up to. Really, by now they're probably so numb, you could come up to them and say: "Is it true your candidate was once a pirate?" and they'd just promise to look into it.