Monday, October 31, 2011

The drama's done

As Herman Cain is learning the hard way, the media giveth and the media taketh away. Sooner or later the USS Cain was bound to take a torpedo or three. Well, they got hit amidships over the weekend and Team Cain never saw it coming. According to POLITICO, Cain was accused of sexual harassment by two female employees while he headed National Restaurant Association back in the day. Five-figure payouts (in the form of legal financial settlements) were made to both women to allegedly keep them quiet. Needless to say, the media smells blood in the water and are all over the report like frenzied sharks. (You know you're in deep kimchi when the New York Times headlines the story.) Given the sensational nature of this affair, it's a safe bet that the Hermanator is doomed to founder on the shoals of his unchecked vanity. Cain says the allegations are baseless. (Predictably playing the Clarence Thomas card, he's now calling the press reports a "witch-hunt.") It doesn't matter. Without incontrovertible proof, his words carry the same import as rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. This is all about perception. In a presidential race, even a whiff of sexual impropriety is enough to consign candidate Cain to the briny deeps. But let's keep this real: Cain was always doomed to lose the GOP nomination. And he was always destined to end his quixotic bid in one of two ways: He would either scuttle his ship at the right moment and throw his support to the real GOP frontrunner -- or he'd be blown out of the water and sink with all masts aflame. The second option became inevitable when Cain started drinking his own Kool-Aid. Riding high in the polls, I suspect he became enamored with the White Whale. Maybe getting to the Oval Office wasn't a pipe dream after all. So instead of steering his Pequod out of harm's way, Cain lashed himself to Moby Dick with the obsessiveness of Ahab who came to believe that "the path to my fixed purpose is laid with iron rails, whereon my soul is grooved to run." We know how this movie will end. As Melville would put it, the drama's done.

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