Herman Cain's "flailing blame game" has devolved into an utter mess, says Michael Gerson at The Washington Post. Facing years-old sexual harassment allegations that are threatening to derail his campaign, the GOP presidential hopeful has pointed his finger at many, many suspected culprits over the last two weeks while proclaiming his innocence. "I have never acted inappropriately with anyone, period," Cain said this week in a closely watched press conference. Who's behind the recent resurfacing of these (allegedly bogus) allegations? The Cain campaign has several theories. Here are five:
1. Rick Perry
When the story broke, Cain blamed the report on "factions that are trying to destroy me." One top Cain aide pointed the finger squarely at GOP presidential rival Rick Perry. "The actions of the Perry campaign are despicable," Cain's chief of staff, Mark Block, told CBS News. "Rick Perry and his campaign owe Herman Cain and his family an apology." Shortly thereafter, lacking proof, Block backtracked: "We want to move on with the campaign. Let's get over these things that don't mean anything to the American public."
2. The liberal media
Cain says "dishonest" journalists are making something out of nothing. After federal employee, Karen Kraushaar, revealed that she was one of the women who accused Cain of sexual harassment in the 1990s, Block told Fox News' Sean Hannity that she was the mother of a journalist at Politico, the news outlet that recently uncovered the old allegations. The Cain campaign wants to pawn off this scandal as "a liberal media conspiracy," says Alex Pareene at Salon. But "Josh Kraushaar, the reporter Block is referring to, no longer works at Politico." And he's not Karen Kraushaar's son.
When Chicago-area single mom Sharon Bialek told the press this week that Cain had groped her after she sought his help finding a job in 1997, Cain found a new enemy to blame. Cain labeled Bialek a "troubled woman" who was being used by the "Democrat machine" to derail his campaign with false accusations. Of course, jokes Frank Michels at Open.Salon, everyone knows a "secret Democratic cabal" called the "Democratic Strike Force" is "using science and espionage techniques to destabilize the Republican Party...."
Early on, a pro-Cain political action committee said "radical" liberals were out to bring down Cain, says Michael D. Shear at The New York Times. "This is what the Left always does," wrote Jordan Gehrke, the campaign director for AmericansForHermanCain.com. "They hated Clarence Thomas. They hated Allen West when he ran in 2010. And now they hate Herman Cain. The Left spews such hatred at black conservatives because they know that if the G.O.P. ever breaks the Democrat stranglehold on the black vote, they are done as a party."
5. People who hate businessmen
One of Cain's latest suspects, say Christopher Palmeri and Lisa Lerer at Bloomberg Businessweek, are unnamed political insiders trying to prevent a businessman from being elected to the presidency. The American people want someone from the business world to run the country, Cain said, but professional politicians are trying to make sure one of their own gets the job. "The machine trying to keep a businessman out of the White House is going to be relentless," says Cain.