As Mitt Romney Looks On

I don’t wish to seem too indignant, but why is the Cain campaign now accusing Perry’s campaign of outing this story about sexual harassment allegations and settlements about Cain?  It’s not that Perry’s campaign wouldn’t have any motive, but I’m going to need to see more evidence, just as I’ll need to see more evidence on the allegations about Cain before forming any judgments.  Earlier in the day, there was an equally plausible story about Cain’s successor at the National Restaurant Association, now a Romney supporter, who may have been in a position to have known some details about the Cain story, and then it was revealed that Karl Rove and Karen Hughes had connections with the same fellow, Chris Wilson, the pollster who was interviewed on KVOT in Oklahoma and said several things about the Cain allegations.

Why, with all of this, would Herman Cain’s campaign leap out there and make these accusations against Perry’s camp?  Do they have any more evidence to which we are not privileged?  Or is it something else?  You folks know by now that I am a bit cynical about all of this, and that my own speculations are based on reading the same information widely available to everyone, but what you expect is that I will consider things from a different perspective, and I have done so knowing I am challenging conventional wisdom at times, but that in lieu of evidence to the contrary, we ought to consider all the possibilities.  Some wondered early on if Herman Cain’s campaign was a shell operation because there is so little organization or firm foundation there.   Dana Milbank seems certain that his campaign was never supposed to go anywhere, as she absolutely rips him in the Washington Post.  Cain at times has seem ill-prepared for questions, and at times his answers have been unfocused, vague, and self-contradictory.  Cain was the immediate beneficiary of Christie and Palin bowing out, and none other than Rick Perry was passing his peak in the polls as Cain started briskly upward.

Honestly, I’ve had some doubts about Herman Cain, and they are born of an observation about his campaign, and his preparedness.  At times, I haven’t been alone in wondering if he wasn’t simply trying to secure the VP slot.  It’s entirely possible that I have misread Cain, as he is genuinely likable and seems a good-hearted man, but his tendency at times to align with Romney have left me to wonder how serious about the presidency he has been. Some have suggested that he knew all along these allegations would be coming, and ought to have known they could wreck his campaign.  I don’t know about that, but what I do know is this:  An allegation of the sort Cain’s campaign is now making against Perry could be the fatal blow that sends Perry home to Texas, whether founded in facts or not.  For their part, the Perry campaign is flatly denying the charge.

So who is the beneficiary if Cain is taken down a notch or two, and Perry is delivered a knock-out blow?  This is all speculation, but one could just as easily link these allegations to Romney as to Perry.  While all of this goes on, who is sitting pretty, safely out of the fray, as the opponent he really worries about – Rick Perry – takes a black eye he may not deserve?  That’s right.  Part of the problem in all of this is how it reveals the incestuous nature of Washington DC politics.  For all of his bluster about being a sort of outsider, Cain worked as the CEO and President of the National Restaurant Association in DC.  According to Wikipedia:

The association lobbies for the restaurant and foodservice industry and represents the industry on Capitol Hill.[15] It was the largest food and beverage political action committee contributor to both the U.S. Democratic and Republican Parties in the 2004 election cycle.[16]

Now that puts a little different light on the subject, and a little different light on Mr. Cain, the “outsider,” doesn’t it?  That’s sounds vaguely like it could be a part of that whole beltway-insider system we keep hearing about.  It would be apparent to the various GOP establishment operatives that they would have to defend Romney from the outset if they were going to get their chosen candidate across the finish line.  They must have known that Romney’s RINO skin would begin to show through the paper-thin conservative veneer with which they had covered him.  How better to defend him by preventing him from having to do battle at all?  As Machiavelli might have observed, what better way to be sure your candidate prevails than to control all the candidates?

For the record, I’m not suggesting that all of these candidates are merely establishment shills, in this campaign only to set things up for Romney or anybody else, but let’s at least be honest in that most of these people do the same cocktail party circuits, know most of the same people, employ the same law firms, lobbying companies, and public relations outfits.  In short, they all speak a different language and have different points of reference from most of us wee folk out here in fly-over country.  It’s the reason why for most of them, it’s impossible to listen to the claim of being “an outsider” while maintaining a straight face.

Herman Cain’s successor at the National Restaurant Association is a Romney donor.  Chris Wilson, the pollster who was on the radio today, worked for Karl Rove and the National Restaurant Association, along with many others, but only recently, for a PAC associated with Perry.  If you go through all of these candidates and compare their lists of donors, contributors, volunteers, lawyers, pollsters, and PR flacks, you’ll find that over time, there have been all sorts of overlapping relationships and linkages.  This is the ugly truth of how the game has been played all these years, and it points out the intractable problem with the desire among so many to “clean up Washington:”  To untangle this spaghetti of associations, connections and relationships is nearly impossible.

When Herman Cain’s campaign comes out with this flimsy link to a pollster who has only recently begun work for a Perry PAC, you must realize that they’re trying to sink Perry, but if they have no more evidence than this, I’d suggest as much or more caution as I had suggested earlier Wednesday.  On the other hand, Perry’s campaign might be behind this, but the sense I’m getting from the reports of the Cain campaign’s charge is that it has less foundation in fact and substance than the already pathetically flimsy allegations Politico published about Cain, and that should give you pause.  Why would his campaign leap to this accusation, particularly on such a flimsy basis?  Do they have more evidence?  Do they have something concrete tying this to Perry?  I’m no Perry fan, and no I wouldn’t be surprised, but let’s just say that something about the way this charge against Perry’s campaign came together makes me wonder.

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