by Ryan Stevens
Until recently, the Herman “Cain Train” seemed to be picking up speed in the race for the Republican nomination, but as of a few days ago, came to a screeching halt. While his campaign is effectively over, a closer examination of his candidacy puts him in a more positive light.
The most common publicity associated with Cain is in regard to the several sexual allegations against him. Initially, those accusations were met with expected amounts of shock and anger, but the facts that deal with the reliability of the claims are surprisingly scarce.
Initially, several women came forth to publicly accuse Cain of sexually harassing them in the workplace during his time as the CEO for Godfather’s Pizza and, later, for the National Restaurant Association. Despite what many of the news media have put forth, that issue has existed for at least 15 years. In the 1990s, some of the same women brought forth the same accusations, which were eventually found to be without basis. Cain’s position then, as it remains today, is that the allegations are false. What is even more suspect is that not only does the primary accuser possess a history of similar behavior with motive for financial gain, but private investigations by CBS News debunked the claims using expensive lie-detecting equipment that backed up Cain’s statements.
Similarly, a woman named Ginger White recently brought forth further accusations (which Cain denied), claiming that he was involved in a 13-year affair with her, and produced cell phone records to prove her point. Those records, however, are not hard evidence. They demonstrate merely that Cain communicated with White via text message. There is no evidence that depicts conversations or actions taken by either party. While a further investigation is necessary, I prefer to give Cain the benefit of the doubt before jumping to conclusions based on questionable evidence.
One of Cain’s defining characteristics was his lack of political experience, which meant that his stances on political issues varied in alignment, to the concern of party partisans. Although many critics pointed to this as a flaw, it could have proved to be a very beneficial strength. Two of Cain’s main selling points were simplicity and transparency, which reflected the interests of the common American. Also, his lack of experience in the political sector gave him a different perspective than most politicians. His ideas, such as the 9-9-9 plan, were bold, yet simplistic in nature. Though details needed to be tweaked if this specific plan was to take effect, the concept emphasized a return to the basic economic principals of, according to Cain, “[making] sure revenues equal spending.”
Cain’s financial prowess came from vast experience in the private sector. As CEO of Godfather’s Pizza from 1986 to1996, Cain’s leadership and fiscal practices rescued the dying company from the grave and turned it into a booming business. Cain, according to Deroy Murdock of the National Review Online, produced similar results with Burger King, having “revitalized [their] 450-store Philadelphia region.”
Overall, Cain had flaws that needed to be dealt with if he were to have been considered a viable candidate. Because of the media and the inconvenient timing of the unproven allegations however, Cain was faced with a choice between his presidential race and the emotional well-being of his family. In a move that perhaps reflects his character, Cain chose to end his campaign in favor of his wife and children. I, for one, would have preferred to give him a chance to show what he had to offer before attacking him, which is something the media never even considered.