Curt Anderson Wins

Anderson, the political consultant accused by the Herman Cain camp of being the source of the POLITICO piece that launched the Cain sex harassment firestorm this week, went on Fox News this morning and gave an awfully strong performance in denying his involvement.

Why are we convinced Anderson has this thing right? Because he laid the cards on the table. He gave a blanket permission for whatever media source he ever talked to about Cain to divulge that.

Meaning that Anderson is saying that if POLITICO got the story from him, he’s telling them to go ahead and say so. Which POLITICO would surely do if they’d gotten it from Anderson, because that would be newsworthy. It would also be the end of Anderson’s career what with all the egg that would be on his face.

POLITICO didn’t get this from Anderson. Cain’s camp looks like morons for having tried to pin this on him.

Later on Fox News today, Mark Block – Cain’s chief of staff/designated web ad smoker – went on and told Megyn Kelly that they’re done discussing anonymous allegations.

Might as well close the barn door. All the horses are gone.

As I said last night, this thing flat-out sucks as a political attack on Cain, and one wishes to sympathize. After all, he doesn’t get to face his accuser, and he also doesn’t even get a specific accusation to defend himself against. Cain could well have addressed this from the start by demanding to know what it is he supposedly did, and had he done so it would have given him a better set of legs to stand on.

His campaign would also have a point in responding to critics, of whom I’ll confess to being one, who say they’ve done a terrible job of handling this thing, by complaining that the media has covered him in cowshit with ridiculous and vacuous allegations, and then judging that he stinks.

Except that the biggest mistake here was when Cain tried to pin this thing on Perry. First of all, it doesn’t matter who slimed Cain with this sex harassment stuff; it was going to come out anyway. Even if the allegations were BS when they were originally leveled on him, he still has to deal with them. Blaming somebody else for doing oppo research isn’t exactly presidential. You fight this stuff by griping about how the media chases meaningless garbage while the country burns, by saying you run an office where folks joke with one another, pick on one another, pull pranks and speak freely, and while your experience is that this is the best way to get things done sometimes the more delicate folks don’t handle it well – and over 40 years of doing business and working with thousands of people somebody who looks hard enough will come up with a handful of folks who have bad things to say about you.

And if you’re asked whether another camp in the campaign was behind the hit job, you respond by saying “probably, but the real complaint isn’t with them, it’s with the sharks in the media who lack the ethics or judgement that would prevent them from scandal-mongering when the future of the country is at stake, and why didn’t Obama get this kind of vetting in 2008?”

There were lots of ways to use this to score points with the GOP electorate. Cain’s camp blew all of them. He looks lousy as a result.

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