Sexual assault and harassment are heinous acts. This is not the behaviour expected or tolerated by someone who will “lead the free world”. However, right now these are purely accusations (even the settlements), and should not be tried in the court of public opinion. What voters should be focused on right now is not whether he did commit acts of sexual assault or harassment; but how someone who thinks they are capable of being president could allow all of this to come out without some sort of plan in place, and how the potential leader of a country could deal with such a situation so poorly.
As an outside observer it is often hard to figure out exactly what the President of the United States is responsible for. Due to a largely unfathomable (yet brilliant) separation of powers, it sometimes seems as if the President is no more than a mouthpiece with veto powers and the ability to tap phones. However, one indisputable role of the President is that of a figurehead. Whether the President has powers or not, he is perceived to be powerful, and therefore he should be decisive and intelligent. He should be able to plan ahead, and be truthful to himself and his staff. He should be able to think on his feet, and be diplomatic whether agrees with his opposition or not. He, in other words, should portray qualities the exact opposite of what Herman Cain has displayed these past few weeks.
Whether Herman Cain committed acts of sexual assault and harassment is currently in dispute. However what is not in dispute is that the organization Herman Cain worked for, settled sexual harassment allegations twice on his behalf. It is obvious now that Herman Cain knew about these settlements, despite his earlier claims. So the question arises, why didn’t Herman Cain tell his campaign about these accusations, and why didn’t they plan an effective counter strategy just in case? A serious strategic thinker would have done so. However, that is not all. Once these accusations saw the light of day, why didn’t Herman Cain and his campaign immediately sit down and come up with a strategy? Why did they allow Herman Cain, as well as random campaign operatives, to go onto chat and political shows without a fully established plan and story? Why did they allow Herman Cain to effectively lie, double talk, and contradict himself; and thereby make this a bigger story than it would have been? And why now are they refusing to answer questions, while attacking Cain’s accusers, rather than sitting down and confronting the issue?
Unlike many political scandals this was one entirely predictable for Herman Cain. Unlike Obama and Jeremiah Wright etc., it is fully understood in mainstream America that sexual assault and harassment are not tolerated. While I understand that companies and organizations, as well as people, regularly settle claims such as these (even if they are not at fault) purely to avoid the negative press. That is not what it will look like when it comes out in the media, and Cain and his campaign knew this. Yet they did not act and did not plan. This is not the response of a leader. The only conclusion possible is that Herman Cain is not fit to be President. Even taking the merit of the accusations out of play, and overlooking what they might mean to his conservative bona fides, Cain should have known this was coming and planned appropriately.