Thus far, the Republican primary campaign has been a strange sequence of trips and blunders. It seemed like Mitt Romney would be "next in line" until conservatives and Tea Partiers revolted. Then it looked as if Texas Gov. Rick Perry would be the True Conservative standard-bearer, until America discovered that his debate performances make George W. Bush look like Ronald Reagan in the eloquence department.
Soon the flavor of the day appeared to be that most successful businessman Herman Cain. He has no political experience, but as he pithily pointed out regarding our usual habit of electing career politicians, "How's that working out for you?"
Having elected an inexperienced career politician is not working out well at all. With unemployment as it is, the thought of electing a man who has in fact personally put many thousands of people into profitable work has great appeal. While race shouldn't matter a whit, we all know it does; the Democrats can call the black Mr. Cain a racist all they please, but they'll have a hard time making it stick to him.
No, some other way had to be found to take down this potential potent conservative. In their desperation, the left reached back to some decade-old incidents.
Apparently, way back in the mid-1990s, a woman or two (or three?) accused Herman Cain of sexual harassment. The cases were settled cheaply, confidentiality agreements signed, and the whole thing forgotten even by the lawyers involved - until Politico decided to publish more than 90 stories about it.
What's bizarre is the total lack of anything verifiable. What was in the settlement or underlying investigation? We don't know; it's all covered under confidentiality agreements and the lawyer involved doesn't even have a copy anymore.
Were there any witnesses to anything overt and demonstrably criminal? Not that anyone's ever mentioned.
Who even are these women? Well, one of them has come forward - only to describe a relatively minor (though crude and inappropriate) incident to which there were no witnesses. All this from many years gone by!
We're previously written how the justice system is totally incapable of determining the truth of incidents like this. Predictably, though, the left-wing media rushed in where the cops knew better than to tread, declaring MR. Cain manifestly unfit for public office or polite company.
Mr. Cain's poll ratings rose.
The scribes of America may be scratching their heads as to why their best efforts at character assassination brought Mr. Cain's candidacy the kiss of awakening, but over in England they've figured it out:
Despite the maelstrom, Cain’s accusers remain anonymous and the details of the allegations oddly vague. With many conservatives believing that sexual harassment lawsuits are an industry and that frivolous cases are often settled to avoid more expensive litigation, there was a growing sense that Cain was being treated unfairly...
With the case against him thin and the accusation so incendiary, Cain’s predicament is prompting more sympathy than opprobrium. [emphasis added]
You see, the mainstream media may have persuaded large chunks of their audience that Mr. Cain's character is questionable, but how many MSM readers vote in Republican primaries? For sure, next to none of the journalists themselves do.
Mr. Cain doesn't have to worry about persuading all of America to like him; that's a problem for another day. For right now, all he has to do is convince core Republican grassroots folks, the kind who actually turn up on primary day in a New Hampshire snowstorm or to those oddball caucuses in West Cornfield, Iowa, that he's their man.
What better way could there be to prove his conservative credentials than by being so venomously hated by the same liberal media that, as Republican core voters devoutly believe, hates them, their way of life, and all they hold dear from guns to religion to giving birth instead of having abortions?
Winston Churchill once said, "If Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favorable reference to the devil in the House of Commons." Mr. Cain may or may not be the Devil, but the conservative's Hitler in the form of the mainstream media has definitely declared war on him. If he's got them that upset, hey, he must be a pretty decent fellow!
No, it's not Herman Cain that needs to be worried about the media frenzy; it's Mitt Romney. The more the media talks Mr. Romney up, the more Republican primary voters will spew him out in disgust.
The lesson for would-be Republican candidates is this: favorable treatment by the media is the kiss of death; media attacks are the kiss of life with primary voters. Anyone loved by the media stands revealed for all the world to see as a phony and a closet liberal; anyone hated by the media has a decent chance of being Our Guy.