The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

‘Signs of Strain Within the Campaign’ UPDATE: You Call This ‘Rumors’?

Posted on | July 3, 2011 | 26 Comments

Politico has a story today about “speed bumps” for the Herman Cain campaign, a couple parts of which I’ll quote:

The move . . . comes after weeks of swirling rumors between Cain’s staff and volunteers in the Hawkeye State accusing each other of affairs, homosexuality and professional misconduct.
“A lot of volunteers, who worked hard for five months, are all leaving the campaign,” said one Iowa volunteer.
Other signs of strain within the campaign are more visible.
One Cain supporter, who attended an overcrowded rally for the candidate, witnessed [Tina] Goff break down in tears when the event flooded into the hallway and was eventually forced to move to a larger auditorium nearby.
Charlie Gruschow, one of Cain’s remaining Iowa staffers, was shocked by the resignations, but that he didn’t think it would make a dent in Cain’s Iowa support.

OK, in order of appearance:

  • Affairs? Homosexuality? Professional misconduct? I find it hard to believe that Politico would just throw those kinds of “swirling rumors” out there without any source or, y’know, actual facts. Exactly who is accusing whom of what? You can’t just suggest stuff like that without any substantiation at all.
  • Tina Goff, who subsequently quit the campaign, “broke down in tears”? Because an event was overcrowded? To quote Tom Hanks: “There’s no crying in baseball,” and I dare say there’s no crying in politics, despite Speaker Boehner’s tendency to get choked up from time to time.
  • Charlie Gruschow is still on board Team Herman. This is important, because Gruschow is one of the key Tea Party people who backed Cain early.

I blogged this situation Thursday, and have continued making inquiries about the story. There has been a perception among some of Cain’s supporters — and I mean people who are 100% pro-Herman — that the work of his campaign staff hasn’t been exemplary, and that some opportunities have been missed as a result. But I hasten to point out that Ronald Reagan had serious trouble with his staff during the 1980 campaign, and Reagan didn’t fix that problem until after the New Hampshire primary. So any Chicken Little sky-is-falling reaction among Cain’s supporters is obviously premature.

UPDATE: OK, the “swirling rumors” were obviously what had to be chased down first. What I have learned is that a former Cain staffer was once reportedly the treasurer of a local gay-pride organization in a midwestern state (not Iowa). So there’s your “homosexuality” rumor nailed. As to the rumored “affairs,” I am told that two former Cain staffers were reportedly boyfriend and girlfriend and were said to be engaged in (horrors) premarital cohabitation.

I’m not sure what  “professional misconduct” is being alleged, but if this is the best they can do on the “homosexuality” and “affairs,” you can figure the rest of the “swirling rumors” don’t amount to much.

Please note (a) both of these rumors involved former staffers, (b) none of these “scandals” — if you can call them such — involved the candidate, and (c) I didn’t get any of this from the Cain campaign, but from independent reporting involving sources of my own.

No names are named, because that’s not necessary. As far as I can tell, these “swirling rumors” were molehills that some disgruntled person (or perhaps opposition researchers for GOP rivals) had tried to pretend were mountains.

For Politico to have reported such nonsense — evidently without even trying to track down the facts — is a goddamned disgrace to the profession of journalism, and if I were the editor of Politico, I’d fire the hell out of whoever was responsible for it.

UPDATE II: Please excuse my profanity. The ability to cuss a blue streak was once more or less a prerequisite in the news business, and I challenge any Old School editor to say that this craptastic Politico “rumors swirling” business does not deserve denunciation in the strongest possible terms.

Also, I was angry, because I’ve been covering Cain’s campaign since before there was even a campaign and to think I’d been scooped — beaten — on something really juicy caused me to spend two hours on the phone trying to track down this “swirling rumors” stuff. Then to realize that it was such utter trivia . . .

Oh, hell, no. You don’t do that to me on the Sunday before 4th of July and not expect me to be angry about it.

Now the delayed reaction: Exactly who was originally responsible for the “swirling rumors”? Was this some disgruntled Cain supporter? Because that would be a really lowdown backstabbing way to roll. Or was this “swirling rumors” stuff spread by another GOP candidate’s campaign? Because if I ever were to find out that a Republican was doing a dirty trick like this to Cain, I will name some fucking names.

Excuse my French.


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