Austin Communications
Political Consulting Media Affairs Crisis Management Curson & Austin Advertising Store Contact

ROBB AUSTIN'S TURN

Country Can Do Better than Herman Cain

November 2, 2011

Many will argue that the political process these days has hit an all-time low; that a prolonged discussion about real issues is nearly impossible.

There’s merit to that thinking.

Take the recent discussions going on about Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain. For months he touted his 9-9-9 economic plan, designed to overhaul the tax code, and he says will make things much simpler for everyday Americans.

Well, it wasn’t until a Florida Tea Party straw poll vaulted the former Pizza CEO into frontrunner status that his plan received much attention from the press, or his Republican opponents. Only then did the details of his plan, along with some analysis, come to light.

For months Cain had been dismissed as a nice guy but someone who had no chance of being nominated. All that changed with the results of the Florida straw poll.

Now there are revelations that sexual harassment charges were made against him by two women he worked with at the National Restaurant Association in Washington DC during the 1990’s. His message and talk of his 9-9-9 plan have been shelved ever since.

There is a steady drumbeat of “he said, she said” and full scale media speculation since the story broke, with conservative analysts coming to his “rescue” of sorts, while others remain skeptical.

The question of whether Cain has been wrongly accused of acting inappropriately in the workplace is immaterial to me, and to the vast majority of voters. The troubling part is that he knew these charges were out there when he announced his candidacy months ago. Still he was not ready with an explanation when they became public.

The country remains mired in a deep recession, unemployment remains high, home mortgages are underwater, and people are fearful of losing their homes, and/or their job. The country wants someone to handle our economic problems.

Whatever the outcome of the workplace issue, Cain has shown he is not the man to lead the country. He claims to have forgotten the details of the alleged incident. Oh sure, who would remember being sued for sexual harassment - especially someone who wants to be a candidate for President of the United States.

By his own admission he botched the initial response about the allocations, despite being given a 10-day notice by the news outlet investigating the accusations, and they told him the story would soon break.

This should have been a relatively easy matter for Cain to address to everyone’s satisfaction. After all, fixing the economic problems will require a much steadier hand, and someone who isn’t thrown off course the minute a tough situation arises.

The fact that he was unsure of the details of the incident, and wasn’t straightforward (he repeatedly changed his story) was especially bothersome to many, and for me, a disqualifier.

Something is fundamentally wrong with the Cain candidacy, and we can’t afford another misstep in selecting our next President.

The country needs a steady hand in the White House, and while many argue we don’t have such a person in there now, Cain’s mishandling of the workplace allocations tells me quickly, he isn’t the answer.

I’ll take his word that he was wrongly accused at the National Restaurant Association. But I’ve seen for myself how he handles serious problems.

I don't like what I have seen.