The XX Factor

Is Ginger White Herman Cain’s Accidental Exit Strategy?

Herman Cain
How much does Herman Cain have left in his campaign?

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.

Libby, like you, I also wondered what alternate media universe Herman Cain lived in when he and his lawyer insisted that the revelation of an alleged 13-year extramarital dalliance with an Atlanta mistress was neither the public’s nor the press’s business. It’s true that a consensual relationship between two adults, as Ginger White described her relationship with Cain, is not a crime and wouldn’t make the evening news if it involved just regular folks. But this newest development, coming on the heels of several sexual harassment allegations, goes straight to questions about Cain’s character, honesty, and judgment. Unfortunately, when you’re running for president it is our business. And Cain made it more so by going on CNN and telling Wolf Blitzer about the relationship before it became public. His attempt to do damage control by getting ahead of the story made it fair game for the media to wade deep into his business and get all TMI on him. I admit I squirmed uncomfortably when Blitzer asked Cain if he had sex with White.

Still, Cain had to know that some of this stuff would get out but maybe he figured his winning personality would carry him through, and that his charm with the ladies would insulate him. Why else would he think they would stay mum? I loved how White—in Cain’s telling she’s the long-term platonic friend that he conveniently forget to tell his so-far supportive wife about—took passive-aggressive swipes at his ego and then went full monty on the fact that she didn’t like how he was trying to “demonize” his other accusers.

(Meanwhile neglected presidential candidate Jon Huntsman obviously desperate for some media attention stepped into the fray yesterday and suggested Cain step aside because of his lady problems. He characterized the accusations against Cain by these women as distracting “bimbo eruptions.” I don’t know why, but I expected a man with five daughters to be more sensitive. Dismissing out of hand women who have claimed sexual harassment by Cain is unfair, and characterizing them as bimbos is as, Amanda pointed out, sexist.)*

I was starting to think that Cain’s arrogance had no bounds but he seems to be realizing that his extended 15 minutes of fame is ending. Didn’t he once brag about not being the flavor of the week but a credible candidate headed straight for the White House? Well the flavor may have lasted longer than many political pundits predicted but it apparently left a bad taste in many supporters’ mouths. Since Cain likes catchy sayings he may want to consider this one: “It’s all over but the shoutin’.” We’ll be writing his political obituary soon enough.

*Correction, Nov. 30, 2011: This post originally misspelled Jon Huntsman’s first name.