Herman Cain’s presidential candidacy appears to be showing some “initial resiliency” in the wake of allegations that the Georgia businessman sexually harassed three women when he was the head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s. The latest Washington Post/ABC News poll (conducted Oct. 31-Nov. 3) shows Cain trailing former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney by just one point in the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.
However, should Cain’s bid for the GOP nod ultimately flame out, which I suspect it will, political historians will point to this past week as the watershed moment in his campaign.
I’m a fan of Herman Cain, but Team Cain’s slow and erratic responses to the sexual harassment allegations over the course of the last several days have allowed the situation to morph into a bad version of a made-for-TMZ political reality show. Cain is on the verge of becoming the poster boy for a Harvard Business School case study on how not to manage a crisis.
Although I find it comical that Politico has published more than 90 stories on the Cain saga since the publication’s initial article last Sunday night, the fact that a double standard exists in the mainstream media for conservative candidates such as Cain is just short of irrelevant.
Nor does it matter whether another Republican candidate’s campaign leaked the info. Had this not come to light in the primary and Cain had won the nomination, I guarantee that Team Obama would have brought it up. And they wouldn’t have been as nice about it.
Much of Cain’s allure derives from his often-touted experience as a business executive. To be successful, executives have to be good at managing crises, and thus far, Cain has fallen far short of expectations. So, forget the politically charged 3:00 a.m. phone call debate, Cain has yet to demonstrate that he’s capable of answering a 9:00 a.m. phone call.
Hopefully Mr. Cain can rebound and prove me wrong by putting these allegations to rest. Unfortunately I fear the damage has already been done — and Cain and his campaign staffers have no one to blame but themselves.