Razing Cain: Will he survive scandal?

Here is a principle we’re all supposed to learn in elementary school, right around the time we study gravity and start growing soybeans in paper cups: The rules are different for popular kids.

It’s a simple, universal truth, and yet the pizza baron and would-be Republican nominee, Herman Cain, was apparently out sick that day because this week he got a crash course in this Darwinian stricture. Oh sure, he’d already been pushed around over his 999 plan, but that was just good natured ribbing of an electoral newbie. Now, however, he finds himself in a full-scale “I’ll meet you after school” D.C. smackdown over these allegations of sexual harassment.

First things first: Most serious political analysts would agree that the questions being asked of Cain are valid. Anytime anyone stands even a chance of seizing the nation’s highest office, he or she better expect some skeleton hunters to start digging through the closet. And even if all they find is a couple of dusty bones, a stiff interrogation is sure to follow.

But once such an allegation is raised it gets trickier.  Because if the accused is already a poll-winning, successful Washington insider, he will likely have a broad base of powerful defenders who will automatically take up his cause. Like a popular kid in school, he will enjoy a presumption of innocence that others can only envy, and even if he ultimately admits guilt, they may yet rally to keep him in their pantheon of power. After all, letting an established winner be taken down makes the whole D.C. crowd feel vulnerable, and they don’t like that.

Not so for an outsider. If the accused is not already part of the club, the political elite will only too happily whisper the scandal over and over with a nod and a wink. And the candidate in question will largely be left to fend for himself. It’s like being beaten into a gang. Regardless of the facts, if he survives he is “in,” and if he falls, he is “out.”

So while we await the full story of this incident from Cain’s past, it is worth remembering: The rules are different for the popular kids. And along the Potomac, the popular kids are those who have already won.

– CNN’s Tom Foreman is a regular on “AC360°”/www.ac360.com and “The Situation Room.”
Metro does not endorse the opinions of the author, or any opinions expressed on its pages. Opposing viewpoints are welcome. Send 300-word submissions to letters@metro.us.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

MTA announces service changes for Sunday

The MTA has announced service changes ahead of Sunday's People's Climate March, which will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Riders using…

Local

NYPD launches Twitter account for L train

The NYPD recently launched a Twitter handle dedicated to the L train and its riders. According to @NYPDLtrain, officers went underground Thursday morning to hand…

Local

Bushwick community space offers activists a place to…

A new Bushwick community space offers community activists to meet, create, learn and throw back a few cold ones. MayDay, located 214 Starr Street in Bushwick,…

Local

Activists gearing up for Sunday's "historic" People's Climate…

If all goes according to plan, more than 100,000 people will gather near Central Park West on Sunday morning and march through midtown to raise…

Movies

Kevin Smith makes peace with the Internet

I was thinking about Ain't It Cool News and Harry Knowles last night, wondering if anyone from Ain't It Cool had reviewed my new movie…

Movies

Art imitates life in 'Swim Little Fish Swim'

There's a certain comfort to be taken in finding that young artists are still moving to New York and trying to make it — and…

Movies

Review: Terry Gilliam's 'The Zero Theorem' is better…

Terry Gilliam's latest, "The Zero Theorem," concerns a reclusive malcontent (Christoph Waltz) struggling with the search for the meaning of life.

Music

Esperanza Spalding and a being called Emily get…

Esperanza Spalding is about to spiral off in a brand new direction that may or may include an alter ego named Emily.

NFL

Oday Aboushi ready for increased role, and to…

Oday Aboushi might feel comfortable enough to engage in some trash talk the next time he is on the field.

NFL

Giants vs. Texans: 3 things to watch

The Giants host the surprising Texans (2-0) in what may already be a must-win game for Big Blue.

NFL

Eric Decker misses practice again, could miss Monday

Jets wide receiver Eric Decker missed practice Thursday as he continues to rehab a hamstring injury suffered last Sunday.

MLB

Derek Jeter still focused on baseball as final…

Derek Jeter has effectively hid his emotions for 20 years in the Bronx.

Parenting

A sneaky way to serve kids fruits and…

"My First Juices and Smoothies" gives smoothie recipes for kids.

Style

3 things we love from Day 1 of…

The highlights from Day 1 of Milan Fashion Week.

Sex

Why don't more couples use condoms?

  Call it the “condom moment.” That’s the name the authors of a new study have given to the pivotal conversation every couple should be…

Sex

Need an idea for a first date? Here's…

Picture your idea of a nice first date. Is it dinner and a movie? A visit to an interesting museum exhibit? Instead, an expert on…