Herman Cain

Candidates prepare for months, sometimes years, to get ready. They give interviews in front of huge crowds of people to gain support. Intense focus is allocated for raising money through sponsors to pay for supplies for the long journey ahead. Entire staffs of people dedicate themselves to image control and maintenance: all outfits are picked out, every hair is in place and more time is spent on grooming than ever before. The competitors go against each other until, one by one, they’re forced out. Eventually, only one winner will survive.

No, I’m not talking about the movie with the biggest opening weekend for a non-sequel, The Hunger Games. The seemingly post-apocalyptic future described above is actually a depiction of what’s going on in this year’s Republican presidential primary race. The original field of nine — Tim Pawlenty, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney — has narrowed itself down to three contenders. Really it’s more like two because who still thinks Gingrich has a chance?

As soon as things got bloody at the Cornucopia, Sarah Palin and Donald Trump were some of the first to go. They spent too much time slinging barbs at everyone else and not enough enough time gaining supporters. Pawlenty is another one that was ousted early, much like the girl in the woods minding her own business that was killed by the Careers.

And then, there was one candidate that somehow seemed less clownish than the others, Huntsman. He came in with experience. He didn’t spend time going negative with attack ads. He seemed rational and was the great hope of the entire race. His loss in New Hampshire felt like watching the beloved Rue get stabbed in the chest with a spear all over again.

Bachmann is a good representation of the crazy girl with the knives in The Hunger Games that no one was sad to see leave. Cain was taken out by some tracker jackers — women he allegedly sexually harassed that swarmed and fought back from his past. Perry seemed like he had a good shot for awhile, but was eventually his own worst enemy and poisoned himself, like the berries that killed Foxface, with his constant missteps and blunders.

Paul is an iconoclast and distances himself from the rest, like Thresh’s technique to hide in the wheat field. Also, like Thresh, Paul has strength in his group of ardent supporters; however, it’s not enough to win the election. Gingrich then becomes Cato in this story. Just like Cato, he attacks all opponents and tries to bully his way to the top. Fortunately for all of us, we know the demons from his past, or muttations, will make sure he doesn’t make it much further.

And then we’re left with Romney and Santorum, or Peeta and Katniss. Romney, like Katniss, is the clear stronger candidate left. And just like Peeta and Katniss, can we really trust anything either one says? Or do they only say what they think will keep them alive longer in this Hunger Games style primary race? It’s for this reason that Santorum has made anti-college statements, even though when he was a Senator in 2006 he called for all Pennsylvania citizens to have access to higher education. It’s why Romney derides “Obamacare,” but instituted universal healthcare in Massachusetts, or Romneycare first. Both candidates say whatever they think will get them the most support at the time, and it’s unclear what either one actually believes.

So no matter who’s left at the end, does anyone really win? Or will the candidate be forever haunted by the transformation he underwent to survive this process? And what about the rest of us? Will we elect a hero or someone who can’t keep it together when things get tough like Katniss?

And if this is what the race for President has come down to, are we any better than the people of Panem that tune in to watch the Hunger Games every year rather than doing something to demand change?

Taylor is a Plan II and rhetoric and writing senior. 

ATLANTA — Herman Cain is still campaigning for president. But by most measures, his White House bid is all but over.
His standing in polls is cratering. Supporters are wavering if not fleeing. Fundraising is suffering.

And, these days, the former pizza company executive is less a serious candidate than the butt of late-night comedy jokes after a string of accusations of sexually inappropriate behavior and, now, an allegation of a 13-year-long
extramarital affair.

“His chance at winning the presidency are effectively zero,” said Dave Welch, a Republican strategist who worked on both of John McCain’s presidential bids.

And Republican strategist Kellyanne Conway said: “It’s the daily dose of the wince-and-cringe factor that leaves people wondering what could be coming next,”

As it has since Ginger White stepped forward Monday, the allegation of an affair overshadowed Cain’s campaign for another day Thursday, when he told the New Hampshire Union Leader that his wife, Gloria, did not know he was providing the 46-year-old Atlanta-area businesswoman with money for “month-to-month bills
and expenses.”

And, Cain said, his wife also didn’t know of what he called a friendship with White until she said publicly that she had a casual 13-year affair with Cain that ended about eight months ago.

It is the latest chapter in a saga that has played out in recent weeks as his campaign has been rocked first with allegations of sexual harassment and, now, White’s
affair claim.

Over the past month, Cain has watched his standing in polls sink. He acknowledged his fundraising took a hit after White came forward, and political experts predict that his ability to take in campaign cash will evaporate now that he is re-evaluating whether to remain in the race. If he decides to continue running, Cain would face another big hurdle: the loss of grassroots support, which has provided the core of his base for his anti-establishment campaign.

Atlanta Tea Party Patriots co-founder Debbie Dooley typifies the falloff of support. She had been vigorously defending Cain as the sexual harassment allegations trickled out. But White’s accusation proved too much.

“I don’t know what to believe,” Dooley said. “I just think he needs to get out now and focus on
his family.”

Charlie Gruchow, one of Cain’s earliest and most devout supporters in Iowa, has said he has moved his support to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, because he doesn’t think Cain can survive politically.

“I still don’t believe all the allegations,” he said. “But it’s really damaged him.”

Even Cain’s supporters acknowledge his odds have grown even steeper with a cloud planted over his campaign and just weeks before voting gets under way in Iowa.

“I’m still backing him, but I definitely think it’s a bigger and bigger mountain to climb,” Florida state Rep. Carlos Trujillo said Tuesday, the day after White emerged. “It’s going to be difficult to make up that ground in so short an amount of time.” 

ATLANTA — Herman Cain is still campaigning for president. But by most measures, his White House bid is all but over.

His standing in polls is cratering. Supporters are wavering if not fleeing. Fundraising is suffering.

And, these days, the former pizza company executive is less a serious candidate than the butt of late-night comedy jokes after a string of accusations of sexually inappropriate behavior and, now, an allegation of a 13-year-long extramarital affair.

“His chance at winning the presidency are effectively zero,” said Dave Welch, a Republican strategist who worked on both of John McCain’s presidential bids.

And Republican strategist Kellyanne Conway said: “It’s the daily dose of the wince-and-cringe factor that leaves people wondering what could be coming next,”

As it has since Ginger White stepped forward Monday, the allegation of an affair overshadowed Cain’s campaign for another day Thursday, when he told the New Hampshire Union Leader that his wife, Gloria, did not know he was providing the 46-year-old Atlanta-area businesswoman with money for “month-to-month bills and expenses.”

And, Cain said, his wife also didn’t know of what he called a friendship with White until she said publicly that she had a casual 13-year affair with Cain that ended about eight months ago.

It is the latest chapter in a saga that has played out in recent weeks as his campaign has been rocked first with allegations of sexual harassment and, now, White’s affair claim.

Over the past month, Cain has watched his standing in polls sink. He acknowledged his fundraising took a hit after White came forward, and political experts predict that his ability to take in campaign cash will evaporate now that he is re-evaluating whether to remain in the race.

If he decides to continue running, Cain would face another big hurdle: the loss of grassroots support, which has provided the core of his base for his anti-establishment campaign.

Atlanta Tea Party Patriots co-founder Debbie Dooley typifies the falloff of support. She had been vigorously defending Cain as the sexual harassment allegations trickled out. But White’s accusation proved too much.

“I don’t know what to believe,” Dooley said. “I just think he needs to get out now and focus on
his family.”

Charlie Gruchow, one of Cain’s earliest and most devout supporters in Iowa, has said he has moved his support to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, because he doesn’t think Cain can
survive politically.

“I still don’t believe all the allegations,” he said. “But it’s really damaged him.”

Even Cain’s supporters acknowledge his odds have grown even steeper with a cloud planted over his campaign and just weeks before voting gets under way in Iowa.

“I’m still backing him, but I definitely think it’s a bigger and bigger mountain to climb,” Florida state Rep. Carlos Trujillo said Tuesday, the day after White emerged. “It’s going to be difficult to make up that ground in so short an amount of time.”

ATLANTA — Herman Cain told aides Tuesday he is assessing whether the latest allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior against him “create too much of a cloud” for his Republican presidential candidacy to go forward.

Acknowledging the “firestorm” arising from an accusation of infidelity, Cain only committed to keeping his campaign schedule for the next several days, in a conference call with his senior staff.

“If a decision is made, different than to plow ahead, you all will be the first to know,” he said, according to a transcript of the call made by the National Review, which listened to the conversation.

It was the first time doubts about Cain’s continued candidacy had surfaced from the candidate himself. As recently as Tuesday morning, a campaign spokesman had stated unequivocally that Cain would not quit.

Cain denied anew that he had an extramarital affair with a Georgia woman, Ginger White, who went public a day earlier with allegations they had been intimate for 13 years.

“It was just a friendship relationship,” he said on the call, according to the transcript. He went on: “With this latest one, we have to do an assessment as to whether or not this is going to create too much of a cloud, in some people’s minds, as to whether or not they would be able to support us going forth.”

Saying the episode had taken an emotional toll on him and his family, Cain told the aides that people will have to decide whether they believe him or the accuser. “That’s why we’re going to give it time, to see what type of response we get from our supporters.”

White’s accusation of an affair prompted New Hampshire state Rep. William Panek, who endorsed Cain at a news conference earlier this year, to pull his endorsement. Panek said he rethought his position when White showed evidence that she traded 61 text messages and cell phone calls with the candidate.

“I felt like we were being lied to,” Panek said. “I’m putting my name in New Hampshire as a state rep behind him and I just didn’t like the way it was being played out.”

In Iowa, Cain’s campaign has lost some precinct-level supporters in light of the new allegations, Steve Grubbs, Cain’s Iowa chairman, said during an interview with CNN.

“If people make contributions, then we’ll keep the campaign doors open and be able to keep paying people,” Grubbs said. “Otherwise, Herman Cain will have to make a decision whether he can afford to keep moving forward.”

Printed on Wednesday, November 30, 2011 as: Accusations force Cain to reassess run

For the past few months, names such as Rick Perry and Herman Cain have been ubiquitous in every news publication. Most of the coverage deals with scandals, sound bites and gaffes as opposed to any policy platforms. Over the years, around election time, the American electorate shifts its focus from considering candidates’ platforms and credentials to scrutinizing personality traits and partaking in gossip. While this provides for highly entertaining Saturday Night Live sketches, it detracts from our understanding of what these candidates are actually promoting.

For instance, many accredit Perry’s infamous “oops” gaffe at the CNBC debate to how his entire campaign will be remembered. In Perry’s latest debate faux pas, when questioned about the three areas of government he would cut, he failed to remember the third governmental department and sealed his fate with a simple, “Oops!” Indeed, this mistake was unprofessional and elucidates Perry’s severe lack of public-speaking skills. Yet so much attention was paid to his forgetting the third department that the comprehensible part of his answer, that he would eliminate the departments of commerce and education, was ignored.

More attention should be paid to the fact that Perry called for the elimination of the Department of Education despite the controversial state of our public education system. As highlighted by political pundit Fareed Zakaria, America has drastically fallen behind many other countries in terms of educational proficiency. Furthermore, teachers are facing job uncertainty as states implement budget cuts. Perry’s education policy requires greater attention than a simple lapse of the mind. After all, past debates have demonstrated his lackluster public speaking skills.

Cain is facing a great deal of media attention for the sexual harassment allegations that seem to increase in number each week. Undoubtedly, sexual harassment is morally repugnant and furthers a system of misogyny in our society. These allegations should be noted, but the extent to which the allegations have been debated and reported overshadows Cain’s policy platforms and eligibility to serve as president. And with the rousing scandal and easy-to-digest sound bites including “9-9-9,” many are ignoring Cain’s glaring lack of knowledge about crucial governmental issues, particularly foreign policy.

Recently, the news magazine Foreign Policy released an interview fumbling over a basic question about Libya, one of the central issues of foreign policy at the moment. Reporters asked Cain whether he agrees with the actions Obama took in Libya, referencing American support of the NATO-enforced no-fly zone. After struggling to recall what exactly the issue in Libya was, Cain produced a muddled and unconnected response, clearly illustrating that he had little to no knowledge of the situation.

In addition, Cain implied that knowing the president of “Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan” was irrelevant to presidency, calling details about foreign policy details “gotcha questions.” Admittedly, I don’t know the president of Uzbekistan, but I also am not running to be president of the United States. To serve as a leader of the free world, one must be well-versed in foreign relations, including crucial international issues involving the United States such as the Palestinian Right of Return. Cain belittles the importance of foreign policy, and at the moment, all the media attention he is generating equally belies his lack of foreign policy knowledge. Though the sexual harassment allegations must be evaluated, his supporters and critics must give greater attention to his credentials for presidency than they are right now.

The misallocation of media attention can be attributed to the fact that political discourse has become too personal. The electorate places its focus on personality and scandal as opposed to substance and policy, leading to an overemphasis on Michele Bachmann’s “crazy eyes,” as opposed to her policy positions. CNN will host yet another Republican debate Tuesday, focusing on foreign policy and national defense. Hopefully, viewers will gain a better understanding of the candidates’ policies rather than material for bad jokes.

Waliany is a Plan II and government senior.

The current front-runner in the race for the Republican presidential nomination is embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal that allegedly involves several women and at least $70,000 combined in settlements. When most politicians are caught in similar situations, they confess and apologize. Instead, presidential candidate Herman Cain has defiantly insisted that the allegations against him are either untrue or unimportant. Cain is changing the way sex scandals are viewed by the American public, and that’s not necessarily a good thing.

In the recent weeks, Cain has likened the allegations of sexual impropriety during his tenure as head of the National Restaurant Association to a “witch hunt.” Though it is still uncertain what exactly happened between Cain and his accusers, he has been caught lying about basic factual information that is easy to disprove. He initially claimed the accusations were “totally false,” then backtracked when more substantial evidence was brought forward. He initially claimed he had “never met” one accuser but then admitted the “remote possibility” that he did know her. To compensate, the presidential hopeful and his campaign have latched onto overly hostile and derogatory tactics to undercut the allegations.

While Cain simply dismisses the claims as the irrational focus of media scrutiny, his advisers and supporters are taking a more hostile tone. His lawyer has been attacking the allegations with particular energy. He threatened women considering coming forward by saying they should “think twice” before doing so, according to The New York Times. In another intimidation tactic, his campaign distributed “Who is Sharon Bialek?” — an email that itemized instances of opportunism in one accuser’s past, according to CBS News.

Cain’s hubris is deplorable. He has laid unsubstantiated blame on everyone from the “Democratic Machine” to the media to Rick Perry to the women themselves, but he is unable to see the hypocrisy of his own accusations. Adding insult to injury, conservative pundit Rush Limbaugh said last week that one accuser has a “pattern of whining” because she filed a complaint at a subsequent employer. Reporting sexual harassment in the workplace is a legal right, hardly “whining.” The acrimonious, threatening discourse broadcasted by Cain’s supporters seems conducive to a culture of silence. That culture of mute acceptance is echoed in Cain’s reaction to the scandal.

“At some point during a career like this,” he said in a long and bizarre email to supporters, “someone will complain.” The statement is a tacit admission that accusations of sexual harassment are inevitable when you have a long career, which is patently untrue. There are men with much longer careers than Cain without allegations of sexual harassment, including his main competitor, Mitt Romney. Cain’s defiant handling of the situation can be compared to Sarah Palin’s “gone rogue” strategy deviations. Cain self-professedly “refuses to play by [the] rules.”

Playing by his own rules is becoming increasingly problematic for Cain. In the past week, he has made a series of derogatory comments toward women. Most notably, he ridiculed Nancy Pelosi, the highest-ranking female to ever serve in Congress, by calling her “Princess Nancy” at Wednesday’s presidential debate. Even amid a scandal involving his treatment of women, his campaign only realized the derogatory nature of the remark after posting it triumphantly on Twitter.

The American people have been complicit in Cain’s rebellious treatment of the scandal. A moderator of last week’s debate received resounding jeers when she asked Cain about the allegations. And he is not just receiving vocal support. Cain has raised $2.3 million since the scandal broke, according to the Los Angeles Times. Clearly, Americans want something other than a typical Washington politician. However, our dissatisfaction with Washington should not find its outlet in the support of a candidate with a questionable ethical record.

By definition, an allegation is something that is not proven. It could turn out that Cain was right all along. However, Cain’s defiant and hostile way of handling the scandal is the real problem. The presidency is a serious undertaking, and it is unsuitable for a man with an unforgiving attitude toward sexual harassment victims and women more generally. By trivializing them, Cain threatens to alienate women, purposefully rejecting the attitude one would expect of a president with character.

Katsounas is a finance and government sophomore.

ATLANTA — Republican candidate Newt Gingrich is decrying media coverage of the sexual harassment claims against rival Herman Cain and says that Cain’s tax plans deserve more attention.

Gingrich has told WSB radio in Atlanta on Wednesday that he thinks it’s “disgusting” that the news media has started what Gingrich described as a “witch hunt” against Cain. It was revealed this week that Cain’s former employer, the National Restaurant Association, settled in the 1990s with two women who claimed that Cain had sexually harassed them.

A third woman has told The Associated Press that she considered filing a sexual harassment complaint but never did.

Gingrich says Cain is trying to help a country that’s in trouble and has gotten more coverage for what Gingrich termed gossip than for Cain’s tax policies.

If the 2012 Republican primary were held today, Herman Cain and Gov. Rick Perry would be statistically tied among Republican primary voters in the state of Texas, according to an online survey conducted by the University and the
Texas Tribune.

The survey ran from Oct. 19 to Oct. 26 and included 800 respondents from around the state. The results were part of a much larger survey of political attitudes using a popular online system called YouGov Polimetrix, said government professor James Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project, who co-runs the polls.

According to the poll, Cain led with 27 percent, Perry followed with 26 percent, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul held 12 percent, former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney held 9 percent and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich followed with 8 percent. Michele Bachmann, Jon Huntsman, Gary Johnson and Rick Santorum each received 2 percent or less, while 11 percent indicated they “don’t know.” The margin of error in the poll was listed at 3.46 percent, while for voters listed as Republicans the margin of error was 4.93 percent.

While Perry remains a front-runner, the fact that he is running into such stiff competition in his own state has intrigued pollsters, said Ross Ramsey, executive editor of the Texas Tribune.

“It looks like the Texas governor is in a dead heat in his own state,” Ramsey said. “Cain has risen from his performance in polls and debates through October and voters have clearly taken a notice in him. The wax and wane in the popularity of Republican candidates has created a current lineup that’s very interesting.”

Cain has only recently been given extensive media coverage following his 9-9-9 plan for a simplified, flat tax and success in the Florida straw poll, and this surge appears to correlate with the results from the survey, Henson said.

“I think Herman Cain’s appeal for Republicans is that he seems to use common sense and straight talk,” said Jenna White, chairwoman of the Young Conservatives of Texas UT Chapter. “Rick Perry has performed poorly in the debates and has doubled down on some policies that are unpopular among Texans. I don’t think it’s especially surprising that Cain and Perry are at the top.”

The results differ significantly from polls taken earlier in the year, when Sarah Palin was a popular candidate for the 2012 election, Ramsey said.

“There aren’t a lot of polls going on in Texas, so we do see a lot of distance [between poll results],” Ramsey said. “Here we are a few months down the road, and it looks like we have the whole field.”

Pollsters are careful to not interpret the results of the poll as indicators of future trends, and another poll will be held closer to the actual March primary, Henson said.

Henson said, for example, the recent allegations that Cain sexually harassed two women when he was head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s could have affected opinion since the poll.

“The poll is a snapshot in time,” Henson said. “What has happened in the past 48 hours may have already changed that. It’s a very open question whether these results will be present in the spring.” 

At a time when nationwide, youth-led protests have focused media attention on college graduates’ mounting student loan burdens, Republican presidential candidates have begun addressing this issue. Their attacks on the federal student loan program fail to pose coherent solutions.

Republican frontrunner Herman Cain pointedly attacked federal student aid programs, arguing that “people living within communities” bear the ultimate responsibility of helping fund their students’ college educations, according to Politico. Essentially, students from wealthy enclaves such as Westchester, N.Y., should have no issue soliciting financing, but where should students from lower-income areas miraculously find their own Daddy Warbucks?

Perhaps Cain could pontificate about getting rid of federal student loans at his alma mater, Morehouse College in Atlanta. CollegeData.com tells us that a whopping 99.4 percent of Morehouse undergraduates applied for such aid, all of whom received it. And when the same site lists Morehouse’s annual tuition at $23,520, who can blame them?

Cain, who habitually touts himself as a self-made man and has said “blame yourself” to Occupy Wall Street protesters for not being rich, fails to note that he went to college at a time — 1963 to 1967 — when tuition was comparatively far lower, even after accounting for inflation. Writing in The Black Student’s Guide to College Success, Cain noted that he got a tuition scholarship to Morehouse for his first year, and “when that ran out, the money my dad had been saving since I was in 10th grade kicked in along with money earned from part-time and summer jobs.”

Could you find someone in your home community willing to help you pay for leftover costs? How about your father? Barring the fortunate few whose parents can cut such checks each semester, I’d make a safe bet the thousands of us on financial aid would struggle under stagnating wages for college student jobs coupled with ever-increasing tuition. What Herman Cain doesn’t get is that we all work hard, yet industriousness alone doesn’t cover the bills.

Another GOP contender, Newt Gingrich, went even further by calling for the entire student loan industry to return to the private sector. But as MSNBC notes, “private loans almost always cost more than government loans, and lenders don’t extend the grace periods, deferments and other accommodations that are built into the federally backed loans.”

And loans for students operate differently than loans for home owners. Americans with toxic mortgages were able to walk away from foreclosed houses seized by their banks. A 2005 federal law pushed by Republicans made it virtually impossible to discharge private student loans in bankruptcy court.

Translation? The folks who give you a private student loan are essentially guaranteed to get their money back from you. If you can’t pay private loans back, the IRS will take out a chunk of your paycheck for your entire working life, and even draw from your Social Security checks, until the lenders get fully repaid. Of course, the law effectively encourages private lenders to offer you money, but you’ll have little recourse from debt relief upon graduation.

Another Republican contender, libertarian Ron Paul, echoed Gingrich’s views on re-privatization, though Paul insisted such an effort to axe the federal student loan program would be gradual rather than immediate. Paul wrote in a USA Today op-ed last week that students would be most helped “by eventually transitioning student aid away from the inefficient and ineffective federal government and back to local governments and private market-based solutions — which simply work better.”

Paul couldn’t be more wrong. Unless you have an impeccable credit history — few 18- to 22-year olds do — you’ll probably need a co-signer such as a parent to get any attractive private loans. Federal loans, on the other hand, are open to all full-time students. Uncle Sam generally won’t consider you defaulted on those loans unless you’ve missed payments for more than nine months. Some private lenders, however, can consider a borrower in default after the first missed payment, according to USA Today.

Student loan reform should be a top priority for government in the next several years, at least because such debts are an increasingly untenable burden on U.S. graduates. Republican candidates should face increasing scrutiny on their proposals that affect so many UT students.

Quazi is a nursing graduate student.