Herman Cain’s attitude toward women is starting to make me sick. Four women have accused him of sexual harassment, and one of them described something more akin to assault than harassment. Two of the women have gone public. Cain, of course, has denied any of it ever happened. That’s all. No evidence, no defense. Just a flat, dismissive denial, as though these women just aren’t worth the time of day, as though he were shooing flies away. If he honestly doesn’t remember the incidents, perhaps it’s because it was customary behavior for him and he never gave it a second thought.
And even though Rick Perry and the Penn State scandal have been dominating the headlines this week, we still heard Cain refer casually to Nancy Pelosi as “Princess Nancy” during this week’s Republican debate. Later he just laughed it off. After all, what does it matter if he belittles one of the most powerful women in Washington? She’s still just a woman.
And the joke he cracked about Anita Hill. Doesn’t matter what he said about that courageous woman. She was, after all, just a woman interfering in affairs of state. You know — important stuff. Business. No place for a woman.
And then this morning I read: “In an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Lin Wood, Cain’s defense attorney, said that any new women who are thinking of coming forward with allegations against the candidate should ‘think twice’ before they do.”
First Cain laughs off the claims, then he cautions that we should be prepared for and ignore any more that might come forward, and now his attorney is warning women (how many?) not to do so. So now he turns to intimidation? If he can refute these claims, he’d better do so now, not in lawsuits against his accusers.
I find Cain’s pattern of behavior toward women disturbing. I’ve probably, maybe, become overly sensitized by the media, but I now see in him an ugly, patronizing attitude toward women in general. If that’s not fair, I apologize. But I can’t help how I feel. The man makes my skin crawl.