i’m taking a day off from a focus on Barack Obama because I have been so appalled by the pass Herman Cain has been given on his tax plan and on sexual harassment. I feel a strong need to share my thoughts with others.
Shortly after Herman Cain had unveiled his 9-9-9 taxation plan it became a major topic in the GOP presidential debate. When Cain was asked if the nine percent federal sales tax would be added to any state and local sales taxes, Cain replied, “You’re mixing apples and oranges.” With that reply I knew that Herman Cain is a slippery character who can’t be trusted. Cain was not much more informative about other aspects of his taxation plan, except that he did give his Web site for others to learn about the plan.
When CNN followed the debate with a panel of commentators, I expected to hear a barrage of criticism of Cain’s abortive defense of his plan. Instead, the only commentator who thought that Cain did poorly was David Gergan. The others either thought that Cain had satisfactorily explained the plan or that he needed to do just a little better job the next time.
I was incredulous, because, though not a taxation expert by any means, I have studied the subject more than the average layperson. I knew that if state and local sales taxes were nine percent, with the nine percent federal sales tax, the consumer would pay a 18 percent sales tax. I knew that since the average taxpayer in the highest tax bracket pays about 18 percent of his/her income, that for $1 million in taxable income, the Cain nine percent rate would be a windfall of $90,000. I knew that since many wealthy people get most of their income from capital gains, Cain’s exemption of capital gains from the federal income tax would result in another huge tax break for the wealthy. I knew that the elimination of the estate tax would mean another big windfall for super-rich families. I also knew that a sales tax would hit the bottom 80 percent of taxpayers much harder than the top 20 percent.
Switching to commentators’ reactions to Herman Cain’s responses to sexual harassment charges, I was stunned that the commentators focused almost exclusively on Cain’s need to respond to the charges. That reaction completely missed the most compelling story line, which was what Cain’s responses told usabout his character.
Herman Cain has engaged in reckless character assassination in his responses. While claiming to be the innocent victim of a smear campaign, Cain and his camp have made baseless charges against others for leaking the story. One claim has been that he is being targeted because he is black. The “liberal” media has also been blamed because it can’t stand the fact a strong black conservative is running for president. Later, he blamed the “Democrat Machine” — more on this later. Then, the Rick Perry campaign was blamed, only to be absolved after Perry fired back.
When Herman Cain was specifically asked by a reporter if he had any proof of others leaking the sexual harassment charges against him, he acknowledged that he had no proof.
Throughout, Herman Cain has maintained that the charges against him have been made up, because he has never sexually harassed anyone. Cain has specifically called his first public accuser, Sharon Bialek, a liar, although he said he was doing it in a “nice way.”
The other insight into Herman Cain’s character is the abrupt changes in story after Politico published its account. Before Politico broke the story about sexual harassment going back to the 1996-1999 period, it gave the Cain camp 10 days advance notice of publication. Yet after the story broke, Herman Cain initially denied any knowledge of the sexual harassment charges nor any settlement reached with two women complainants by the National Restaurant Association (NRA), of which Cain was the CEO. Shortly thereafter, Cain quibbled about whether an “agreement” or a “settlement” had been reached in the case. Still later, Cain said he knew about the allegations, but he had referred the matter to the general counsel of the NRA. Next, he said he knew about the settlement but didn’t know about the details. Finally, Cain acknowledged a money settlement reached with only one woman; also, he thought it was for about three months’ salary. Even Herman Cain’s final version does not conform to known facts, because two women received money settlements and one woman received the equivalent of one year’s salary.
Cain’s constantly evolving story, in which the final version is not in accord with known facts, is not the hallmark of an honest man. Besides Herman Cain revealing himself as a man who is slippery with the truth, his and his campaign’s attempts to spin the origin of the published story on a liberal media and on Rick Perry, show him to be a reckless character assassin. It should be noted at this juncture that Cain later attributed the origin of his troubles to the “Democrat Machine.” Using “Democrat” instead of “Democratic” represents a borrowing from Rush Limbaugh, who understands the subliminal association of “crat” and “rat.”
Perhaps the most egregious action of the Cain camp is to try to blacken the character of Sharon Bialek. The Cain camp sent out a long email describing Bialek’s two bankruptcies, her involvement in a paternity suit and other bumps in the road on her life’s journey.
One player who has gotten lost in this sexual harassment controversy now involving five women complainants is Chris Wilson, a long-time Republican operative, who was doing polling for the NRA in the late 1990s. In a radio interview, Wilson said it was “common knowledge” in the NRA that Herman Cain was sexually harassing women. Wilson is now associated with a person working in the Rick Perry campaign.