"Here we go again," Herman Cain told Wolf Blitzer yesterday, right after he denied having a 13-year-long affair with "acquaintance" Ginger White. Both Cain and political pundits are putting White's story under the same scandalous umbrella as those pesky sexualharassment charges, with Cain describing White's story as "accusations" and likening them to a "smear campaign." But let's get one thing straight: A steamy, consensual affair and a creepy, unwanted sexual advance are two different things. In fact, they're pretty much opposites.
'Tis the season for sex scandals. More possible victims of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky are coming forward, and Herman Cain's sexual harassment allegations remain in the headlines. Earlier this week, New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan took pains to acknowledge Penn State's scandal, which has echoed the Catholic Church's ongoing problems with sex abuse. At a news conference, Dolan said “we once again bow our heads in shame" and reminded listeners that sexual abuse is a universal problem plaguing most institutions.
There's a hot new meme making its way around the internet, but this one is far less innocent and cuddly than Keyboard Cat and Hipster Ariel—much less funny, too. This one's a political meme, and it blends Herman Cain antipathy with old-fashioned racism. Apparently, it's now en vogue to call Cain, the embattled GOP candidate for president, an "Uncle Tom." Get it? He's bad at being black!
Yesterday we presented Herman Cain with a 10-step path to redemption after a sexual harassment scandal, but we seem to have forgotten one important step: The "stand by your man" routine. “You will meet my wife publicly, in an exclusive interview that we are currently planning and anticipating,” Cain advertised on Fox News yesterday. Not only is Gloria Cain, Herman's wife of 43 years, going to stand by her man, but she's going to speak for him, too.
By this time, it's a well-worn cliché: No matter how successful or media-shy, the good wife makes an appearance at the press conference to validate her man's claims of innocence (or contrition). There are some exceptions, of course—Huma Abedin was conspicuously absent from the podium during Anthony Weiner's sexting scandal. But when claims of sexism are involved, a hard-line conservative like Cain has no choice but to convince the public that if a woman—his loyal wife, no less!—believes him, we should, too.