Posted on | November 2, 2011 | 47 Comments
While I was at the American Spectator gala Tuesday night at the Capital Hilton in D.C., I learned that one of the women who accused Herman Cain of sexual harassment has been interviewed by the Wall Street Journal:
A woman who complained about Herman Cain’s behavior when he was president of the National Restaurant Association wants to be released from a confidentiality restriction so she can respond to his statements on the matter, her lawyer said Tuesday.
Washington lawyer Joel P. Bennett said the woman disagreed with Mr. Cain’s public comments about reports that two female employees of the restaurant trade group had accused him of sexual harassment in the late 1990s. Mr. Cain said this week that he had been “falsely accused” and that the complaints were “baseless.”
“My client disputes Mr. Cain’s claims that he never sexually harassed anyone, and that the claims had no merit,” Mr. Bennett said.
A second person, who had knowledge of the woman’s complaint about Mr. Cain, said it entailed more than one incident “and continued over some period of time.”
And I say, let’s hear the whole story — the sooner, the better — directly from the accuser. No more “sources say.” No more anonymity.
No more vague second-hand descriptions that can neither be wholly believed nor entirely refuted. That the accused is a man very much in the public eye, while the accuser is concealed behind a rampart of anonymity, is grossly unfair both to Cain and to the American people. Until the identity of the accusers is made public, and the full account of their accusations can be heard and evaluated, we have no way of judging the credibility of the charges or severity of the alleged offenses.
I predicted from the outset that the press corps would swiftly identity the accusers, that their names would become public and their stories would be heard. Reporters are now staking out the home of one accuser, who is staying with relatives to avoid media scrutiny.
The path down which this story must now go is not a path any decent person would wish to see a political campaign have to travel. But news organizations which are currently protecting the anonymity of Cain’s accusers are merely delaying the inevitable. They will be named, and every fact of their lives that can be learned by reporters (or by private detectives) will be known, most of it probably within a matter of days. Anyone who thinks otherwise is a damned fool, and those editors and reporters who now refuse to name these women will find themselves scooped by someone. Bloggers, the British tabloid press, the National Enquirer, MSNBC — it makes no difference, somebody is going to put their names out there, and PDQ.
It is absolutely impermissible for a leading candidate for the presidency to be publicly accused of sexual misconduct by anonymous accusers. We have been told that the women themselves did not push this story to the press, and they would have preferred that the matter remain confidential. But now that the accusation is public, how can the accusers remain anonymous?
And to hell with a confidentiality agreement at this point. Anyone who thinks it possible to enforce a confidentiality agreement now, when descriptions of these cases have already become front-page news everywhere, needs to wake up to reality.
If you believe Herman Cain’s denial of these accusations, you should demand nothing less than complete disclosure of the entire story, in confidence that he will be vindicated. Whatever the truth is, no one can pretend that there is anything to be gained for anyone by continued secrecy and anonymity.
Meanwhile: A blogger is reporting that the man who followed Herman Cain as CEO of the National Restaurant Associations is — wait for it — a Mitt Romney donor.
Personally, I’d still bet money it was the Rick Perry campaign that pushed this story to the media. A couple of reporters I was talking to at the Spectator gala last night pointed out that Politico‘s Jonathan Martin obviously has very good sources with the Perry campaign.
But I don’t think we’ll know for sure where this story came from until after the GOP convention next summer, and then only if (a) it was Romney whose campaign pushed the story, and (b) Romney wins the nomination. If it was Perry’s campaign that pushed the story, we’ll only find out the truth if the scandal destroys Cain. Then the liberal media will blame Perry for the “racist” destruction of Cain, so that Perry is destroyed in turn, thus ensuring Romney’s nomination. On the other hand, if Cain survives the scandal and wins the nomination, we’ll never know where the story came from.