Fred Thompson Nails the Three Defenses of Cain

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Nov. 3 2011 5:30 PM

Fred Thompson Nails the Three Defenses of Cain

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LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 07: Actor Fred Thompson (C), his wife Jeri Kehn (R) and a guest attend the 137th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 7, 2011 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Last night I identified the three arguments that Republicans are making in defense of Herman Cain. Bully for Fred Thompson: He wheezes out a column that packs all three defenses into three neat paragraphs.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

Argument No. 1: Why, This Is All Just Racist

Cain, a very intelligent conservative, upsets the liberal paradigm of what African Americans are supposed to believe. Many Cain supporters involved in the tea-party movement have themselves been called racists in the recent past.
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Argument No. 2: You Can’t Trust the Liberal Media

[M]ost primary voters intensely dislike the media, which they see as trying to bring him down. I’m not sure Herman will appreciate the reference, but that is one of the main reasons that Bill Clinton survived.

Argument No. 3: There’s No Such Thing as Sexual Harassment

[P]eople are on to the sexual-harassment scam. In typical fashion, Congress took a situation where women had no protection for legitimate grievances and created a solution rife with unintended consequences. Now businesses are regularly making payouts for the flimsiest of reasons. It’s obvious that these alleged victims and their lawyers — no matter what they may say publicly — are champing at the bit to come forward for their day in the limelight and the inevitable book deal. Who can pass up being the new Anita Hill, who to this day periodically receives glowing newspaper profiles?

Who, indeed? My idea of frothy fun would be to make accusations of sexual harassment against a powerful person, become a notorious figure whose life and character came under microscopic examination, and then spend the rest of my life living in a legal system shaped by the man I accused.

Meanwhile, the 9-9-9 Fund -- the independent Super PAC boosting Cain, or trying to, or at least raising money in the hopes of doing so -- turns the "Anita Hill" dial up to 11.

 

Does it help that Cain looks physically like Thomas -- glasses, mustache, melanin? I think it does.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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