In the relativistic polarization of the current political climate there's no agreement on any set of facts. Regardless of the issue involved a process remarkably similar to jury selection takes place and the two sides march inexorably backwards to the first principles of their respective realities. Pick the right jury get the right verdict; gerrymander the election boundaries to predetermine the election; suppress voters to increase your odds; bind legislators with external pledges to nullify avenues for compromise; and whatever the subject, lie, spin, obfuscate, change topics, and abandon principles to get re-elected, get off... win. It's disgusting.
Nothing is more emblematic of how poisonous this has all become than Herman Cain's behavior regarding his harassment settlements. I don't believe Mr. Cain's protestations of innocence-after-the-fact but I'm equally disappointed in the media... a media, even given its accepted partisanship, leaves me dumbstruck at its inability to articulate insightful questions.
Cain claims the "accusations" are baseless and fabricated, but no one seems capable of staying focused on the fact settlements were made, and Cain was unquestionably party to them.
There's already plenty of comical contradictory evidence from Cain's own mouth that proves his selective memory defense is nonsense, but why is the recall of twelve-year-old events important?
If we accept his word that he was innocent of the behavior that led to the settlements, it follows he would be acutely aware of every detail. Why? Because being wrongly accused of sexual harassment triggers an intense process of review and reflection where honor and necessity demand a detailed reconstruction of words and actions. Were Cain actually innocent, the stakes for a high-profile Washington lobbyist (which is what he was at the time) were considerable.
Organizations settle harassment claims when their internal investigations or the legal discovery process makes it apparent they'll a) lose in court or b) spend a lot more money defending themselves than it will cost to settle. When the individual charged with the harassment is a proud, principled man like Herman Cain I find it improbable to believe he would choose to settle a baseless claim.
Remember these proceedings are intensely personal. Any assertion that a person so accused would simply defer to counsel and think nothing more of it is implausible. If Mr. Cain was in the right, would he not bring the full weight and resources of the National Restaurant Assoc he led to bear on the matter?
However let's entertain the possibility that he was asked to swallow his integrity for the sake of organizational and PR expediency to settle. Is it believable that a man of Mr. Cain's character would stomach another "unjust" settlement? Who could possibly convince him to suffer that kind of character humiliation a second time?
The only circumstances I could imagine where forgetting these two settlements would be possible is if this happened routinely to Mr. Cain. Since that couldn't possibly be true, his initial answers and subsequent accusations just don't add up.
If Mr. Cain is a principled man here's what his first utterance on the subject would have sounded like.
Ladies and Gentlemen, in response to your questions regarding the two settlements made by the National Restaurant Association regarding claims of sexual harassment leveled against me in the 90s, I'm happy to see both matters reopened and I'm acutely aware of the details. Am I guilty... no I am not.
At the time I was vehemently opposed to the advice of legal counsel that we settle the claims during my tenure as CEO of the NRA. The settlements were made in the interest of organizational expediency and PR. I am prepared to defend my integrity against these claims and wave my right under the non-disclosure provisions of those agreements in the interest of setting the record straight. I hope the NRA releases the women in question from their obligations so I can reclaim my honor and refute their baseless accusations. In other words I want my day in court.
Have we heard anything like this from Mr. Cain? We have not. Instead we have a disingenuous round of finger pointing that denies the facts that ARE on record, and insinuates there's a vast conspiracy at work to fabricate more. The regular cast of apologists, liars and paid experts is rolled out to erase history. It used to be that we were judged by a jury of our peers, these days it seems we're only accountable to the jury we choose.
It's a sad, pathetic indictment of our system that truth is just another political commodity.
Media please concentrate on the settlements as fact and not accusations. Why did the NRA decide to settle? What was the timing of the two settlements; were they in close proximity to each other? Did the two women work at the NRA concurrently? Did Mr. Cain object to the settlements? Did either or both of the complaints lead to legal discovery or was the decision to settle arrived at after purely internal investigations?