In 2007 when she was running for president, Hillary Rodham Clinton told a fundraising event in Carson City, Nev., "I sure don't want Democrats, or the supporters of Democrats, to be engaging in the politics of personal destruction. I think we should stay focused on what we're going to do for America."
Clinton's husband, the former president, used the phrase at the time of his impeachment proceedings for lying under oath about a sexual dalliance in the White House.
The politics of personal destruction is nothing new. It has been around from the beginning of the country when worse things were said about presidents and presidential candidates than have been alleged against Herman Cain.
After more than a week of innuendo, hearsay and rumor about alleged incidents of sexual harassment when Cain was president of the National Restaurant Association, the country on Monday was presented with one woman, a former employee at the NRA's educational foundation, by none other than powerhouse attorney-camera hog-defender of disgruntled porn stars, Gloria Allred.
At a New York news conference, Allred (who, according to the Federal Election Commission, contributed $1,000 to Hillary Clinton and $2,300 to Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign) introduced Sharon Bialek, who read a statement that sounded as though a Democratic Party activist had written it. Bialek claimed Cain touched her inappropriately when she went to him for help in getting her old job back with the educational foundation.
Bialek provided some details that included what she wore during the alleged encounter, what Cain was wearing and the name of the Washington hotel where she met Cain in the bar for drinks. As proof of Bialek's veracity, Allred presented two "declarations under penalty of perjury," which she did not give to reporters, from two people to whom Bialek said she told her story.
The Cain campaign immediately issued a statement calling "All accusations of sexual harassment against Mr. Cain completely false."
When the media and their Democratic Party allies have finished driving a stake through Cain's heart, they will turn to other Republicans who threaten President Obama's quest for a second term. If their effort at burying Cain succeeds, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich will need to watch out. Rick Perry has already felt their heat and if his campaign ever gets off life support the attacks against him will resume.
The credibility of big media continues to erode. The Washington Post reported a loss of $6.2 million for the quarter ending September 30, in part because of "continued deterioration in its newspaper and online publishing division."
The public has found other ways to get its news. The fading establishment media blame the Internet for their decline, but growing numbers of the public -- not only conservatives -- view the onslaught against Herman Cain as unfair, unwarranted and inconsequential, given bigger issues facing the country. The question for many of them is why didn't the media conduct themselves in a similar way with Barack Obama? Why, for example, has Obama still not released his transcripts from Occidental College, Columbia University and Harvard Law School?
Near the end of his inspiring book, "This is Herman Cain!: My Journey to the White House," Cain writes as if he is already president: "In contrast to my predecessor, I am not a community organizer advocating radical social policy with which to manipulate whole segments of the population. I am a community energizer who emphasizes the necessity for individual self-motivation."
In that one paragraph we see what troubles the media and their Democratic Party brethren. If more people currently dependent on government became motivated, self-sufficient and independent of government, it would threaten the foundation of the welfare system that currently has 15 percent of the country addicted to food stamps.
And so, not just Herman Cain, but what he stands for must be destroyed, lest the government "addicts" be liberated and vote Republican.
Even if Cain does not win the Republican nomination (and how about the voters deciding that, not the media?), he's proven that he has backbone. Cain the gospel singer should consider warbling Stephen Sondheim's "I'm Still Here" because he still is, for now.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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