There is little pressure that can rival the heat of a presidential campaign, and Herman Cain isn’t doing the greatest job of dealing with the scrutiny aimed at White House hopefuls. Cain has great appeal -- he’s a plain-spoken guy who doesn’t apologize for his positions, he has a concept that would radically change the country’s impossibly complicated tax system and he retains a certain populist position that is playing well with many voters during these turbulent economic times. Cain, a virtual unknown only a few months ago, is running neck-and-neck with Mitt Romney in Republican polls.
Cain’s campaign certainly isn’t a typical one, and there’s nothing wrong with that. At times he has seemed to pay more attention to selling his recently released book than in wooing voters. And he doesn’t kowtow to the nation’s left-leaning media, which is refreshing in itself. But many believe he’s gone too far in the “unorthodox” campaign mode. When confronted with figures that his 9-9-9 tax plan will result in higher taxes for low-income people (we aren’t sure how that would work, since 47 percent of Americans pay no taxes at all), he simply dismisses his questioners as being wrong. That will only work for so long.
But his biggest gaffe has been denying that he was ever involved in any kind of sexual harassment incident, when in effect two women accused him of that when he was head of the National Restaurant Association. Whether those charges had merit or not, Cain should have owned up to the fact that there was a controversy about it. He’s operating under a white-hot spotlight, and such things can’t simply be denied and forgotten. We hope Cain has learned that he has to be a bit more forthright, because having a guy like him in the race is good for politics and the country. We doubt he can be elected, but at least he’s refreshing.