Thursday, November 10, 2011

Herman Cain's Butterfly Effect

UPDATE: Either Matt Bors and I think alike...or he reads the Playground...

O.k., so Herman Cain argues two things: (1) the sexual harassment and assault claims against him are false, and (2) they are part of a Democratic conspiracy against him.

The first proposition is probably false. You have four completely independent women who did not know each other or of each other who told pretty much the same story. Two of them were given full years' salaries and made to sign gag agreements. One of the others, someone with an Ivy League education, immediately told her physician partner and her lawyer, both of whom have signed affidavits to that effect. These women have nothing to gain, but lots to lose in coming forward. Are they all lying? It is possible, but not likely.

But does the fact that (1) is false mean that (2) is also false? It would be odd for it not to be, but it isn't necessarily false.

Now, in order for the whole thing to be a conspiracy to sabotage his 2012 presidential campaign, the women in the 1990s would have had to known they needed to put themselves in positions to be harassed by a presidential contender. This is tough because, let's face it, just three years ago when an African-American Senator and former constitutional law professor with degrees from Columbia and Harvard ran, folks were shocked he was elected. "I never thought I'd live to see this day..." was heard often. So, twenty-some years ago, an African-American with no legal or public service background who ran pizza restaurants and Burger Kings and served as a lobbyist for the fast food industry would not have been thought to be a real contender for the post of commander-in-chief. So, we can't believe that people in the past were part of the conspiracy.

Further, if you ask Democratic pols and consultants now who among all the Republican candidates they would most like to run against, they'd say Cain. He is seen as the weakest of the bunch from polling data and in term of strategy. They wouldn't be trying to weaken him, but build him up and weaken his opponents. As such, present Democrats would not be conspiring against Cain.

But, Democrats have been here before, wishing they could run against a particular candidate. They did it with Reagan and look what happened. Maybe history is repeating itself. Maybe an unhindered Herman Cain would have gone on to roll through the primaries and become President. And maybe this would come to be seen by Democrats in the future as a dangerous turning point in history...a turning point that would need to be changed. Maybe this long view occurs once science has progressed to the point where time travel is possible. If past or present Democrats would not be the conspirators, perhaps it is future Democrats whose lived experience makes clear the need to send women back into the past to change the flow of history by tempting Cain by repeatedly asking for help finding jobs. Maybe Cain was, in fact, set up by Democratic operatives from the future to save the future.

But, of course, if Democrats had a time machine, Republicans would possess the technology as well. They would realize the plot and see the need to defeat it. They couldn't destroy just the Democrats' time machine, but would need to destroy the time machine project itself. Now, going after just time travel would seem suspect. so, they would need to attack the credibility and funding of science itself, of all science. Hence, they point their time machine earlier than the Democrats and seek do all they can to damage the reputation of all scientific research and theories -- whether it is global warming, evolution, or whatever. Republicans seek to de-fund and discredit science in the public mind in order to stop the progress of science that would lead to time travel.

So, should we believe the women? Yes. But does this mean that what we are seeing is not a Democratic conspiracy? Not by a long shot. Eventually when the truth is told on film, the title of the documentary will, of course, "The Hermanator."