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    Post hoc justification, Cain edition

    Post hoc justification, Cain edition

    Via The Hill, and about a thousand other outlets:

    Herman Cain told members of his staff that he is “reassessing” his decision to remain in the race for the Republican presidential nomination following new allegations that he conducted a 13-year-long affair with an Atlanta businesswoman.

    “Cain told senior staff this morning that he is “reassessing” whether to stay in race. Will make final decision soon,” Robert Costa, a reporter for the National Review, tweeted Tuesday.

    That report was then confirmed by campaign manager Mark Block to ABC News.

    National Review has the transcript of the call.

    This will all be used to justify Politico’s original reporting, but nothing could be farther from the truth.  The issue never was whether the settlements or allegations of sexual harassment were fair game; I took the position at the very beginning that they were legitimate vetting issues but that the public was entitled to facts as to the allegations, not just Politico’s characterization.

    Early on I also suggested that what Politico really was doing was trying to smoke out other accusers, and that in fact was the effect.  We’ll never know the truth of what happened, and for most of the accusers we don’t even know their names or what the accusations were, but it worked.

    Is it bad that it worked?  Well, the result is that a candidate who may (I repeated “may” not “does”) have skeletons in the closet likely will be forced from the race.  That’s not bad.

    But next time the broad characterizations, anonymous sources, and media fishing expedition may be directed at a Republican candidate who does not have skeletons in the closet, it just will be made to look like he does.

    Update:  Shortly after this post, Jim Vandehei posted his justification of Politico’s reporting.  It’s pretty much what you would expect.  He uses the volume of complaints — most of which he fails to acknowledge remain anonymous and unspecified to the public — to justify the use of anonymous and unspecified accusations.  Those which were specified had nothing to do with Politico’s reporting.

    Politico’s chicanery is exemplified in this passage:

    He needs voters to believe that Karen Kraushaar is a liar, too — that she was so  sensitive or so vindictive that she marched into the NRA’s human resources  department in 1999 to file a bogus sexual harassment complaint against Cain,  then her boss. Cain says the only thing he recalls ever saying to her was that  she was the same height as his wife.

    In fact, Kraushaar never has revealed what her accusations were despite being released from a confidentiality agreement, and the public never has seen a shred of evidence to support the unknown accusations.  Yet Vandehei acts as if Herman Cain needs people to disbelieve Kraushaar; how can we believe or disbelieve that which we don’t even know?

    We are so far down the rabbit hole that there isn’t even any light.

    And, good post at Neo-Neocon, Cain and the women: what constitutes enough proof?

    Shouldn’t we (or reporters) demand somethingelse—besides a couple of friendly but non-intimate inscriptions in a book, which she alleges Cain made?  A compromising note would do; it’s not necessary to have a semen-stained blue dress. Did White not save an especially tender text message or voicemail recording, as lovers often do?  Were there no sweet-nothing emails?

    And who was sending most of those 61 calls or text messages that Smith’s records provided: Smith herself, or Cain?


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    workingclass artist | November 29, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    Primaries…they get ugly and there it is.

    JohnInFlorida | November 29, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    It is a sad day and a damning indictment of this country when NOTHING BUT accusations, innuendo and the howling of the media is enough to cause the departure of a candidate from a Presidential race. Perhaps he’s guilty, I don’t know and we may never know. What I do know is that in future, good men and women will decide that it’s not worth the torture that will descend upon them if they try and serve. We will pay from now on for what is happening here. I’m ashamed of us.

    It is the congruency of Herman Cain’s accusers which should cause all to question their claims. All of them have filed for bankruptcy, been evicted from a home and claimed sexual harassment. All of the alleged improprieties stem from the narrow two-year range of his life in which he was affiliated with the NRA. Until Ms White came forward none of them had any actual evidence to present to support their claims and I consider her cell phone records to be weak due to the possibility of data manipulation.

    The fact that Cain returned a call from White’s cell phone makes me more inclined, not less, to believe his denials. He knew there was another bombshell coming. Wouldn’t he have been wary of calling someone back who might be holding the detonator?

    What we have is a string of unsupported accusations foisted on people who seem to be all too willing to believe the worst of anyone. Witness these comments here:

    “we all know that he has not a shred of credibility.”

    “He knew about all this from the beginning and thought he could hide it.”

    “where there is smoke, there is fire.”

    “we’re better off that this came out now”

    And my personal favorite: “Lots of Cain’s righteous defenders have egg on face this morning.” That’s what Cain’s detractors are doing…throwing eggs and stones and rotten tomatoes. Far from wiping the egg off my face I am even more resolved to stand for Herman Cain in the Iowa caucuses, if only to spit in the face of the prurient media. Give me one shred of evidence that these claims are true and I will reconsider. I haven’t seen that yet.

    As it stands at this moment a good man is being removed from our consideration for no reason other than the fact that some women said bad things about him. JohnInFlorida is right. That’s shameful.

    Milhouse | November 30, 2011 at 3:05 am

    In this “court of public opinion,” most of us regard what one of the two people in a sex affair say about it as pretty good proof all by itself.

    Really? So if I were to claim that you and I have had an affair, you think people would believe me?

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