“Why, do you think,” I asked my friend, “that Herman Cain's adultery (said with an eye roll and air quotes) brought an end to his presidential bid at the very same time Newt Gingrich is surging in the polls?”
After all, potential GOP presidential candidate Newton Leroy Gingrich—who grabbed his crotch a la Madonna circa 1991 last Thursday and asserted, “I'm going to be the nominee”—has several pages of his curriculum vitae dedicated to the study of fucking women to whom he's not married. While being married.
Rachel Maddow recently suggested that Cain's is a satirical candidacy, a joke on gullible Americans, sort of like Scientology. Contemplating Maddow's theory, Jezebel writer Cassie Murdoch asked, “Are we being punked?”
But my friend, the wonkiest wonk in Wonkville, knows that anything is possible—Bush's second term and Sarah Palin taught her that. Taking nothing for granted, she rubbed her face with both hands in exasperation, took a deep breath and leaned in to offer me her most reasoned answer.
“You know, I think it's because Cain's affair was too recent?” She said this in an uncharacteristic teenager-y way, as if she didn't quite believe herself. “People just can't deal with that.”
While I respect and relate (far too often) to my perpetually outraged friend, this too-recent explanation didn't sit right with me. There had to be something else. Something more—obvious.
But what could that differentiating factor be? I wondered. What could possibly make one of these egregiously offensive men so much less forgivable than the other? I squinted my eyes, pursed my lips and tapped my finger on my chin as I ran through a mental checklist. And, frankly, I was stumped, as the similarities abound.
Gingrich is 68. Cain will be 67 next week. The two are generational brethren and, according to Universal Psychic Guild, the Gemini and Sagittarius together “can accomplish the impossible.” Cain certainly isn't going down because of a youthful indiscretion.
Both are God-fearin' men. Cain is a Baptist who dabbles in gospel singing. Gingrich is forgiven as a going-on-three-years Catholic. Before that, he, too, was a Baptist. Before that, he was a Lutheran. These things—like wives and positions on global warming—can be difficult to settle on. Point is, neither man is an atheist or, worse, a Mormon. No, unproven dedication to the right God is not the culprit.
Both gents are Republicans with boner-inducing wacktastic rhetoric for those on their side of the aisle. Cain has spoken of electrocuting illegal immigrants with an extra-special border fence and called the tax code a “21st-century version of slavery.” And speaking of slavery, Gingrich says child-labor laws are “stupid” and thinks poor kids should replace school custodians. These societal hangers-on would learn what work really is and they would be “dramatically less expensive.” If Gingrich and Cain ran as one ticket, they might prove the Universal Psychic Guild right.
These boys are not the 99 percent, and when it comes to megalomania, they're at the top of their respective games. They think so highly of themselves, in fact, that each thinks he's immune to his problems with the ladies.
Accused by two women of certain untoward behavior, Cain, despite evidence, vehemently denies having perpetrated any unwanted advances. Gingrich, on the other hand, has no record of sexual harassment. He's just a nice Lutheran Baptist Catholic boy who left a wife with cancer for one who got MS. When that happened, he left her for the adulteress who could be America's next FLOTUS. As conservative writer David Frum pointed out, “Anyone can dump one sick wife. Gingrich dumped two.” That makes Newt a special kind of schmuck. It's a level playing field here: Both men are repugnant Lyin'-Ass Bitches.
Gingrich claimed his philandering was due to a zipper-busting passion he has for the U.S.A., which might make him the greater patriot. But Cain doesn't go around trading up for newer models. Married for 43 years to the same woman while diddling another for the last 13, this two-woman man understands commitment and true family values. If only polygamy were legal. He's almost—gasp!—a Mormon. Affairs being shocking is so 20th century; again the two men are on equal footing here.
The only major difference I can see between these two scoundrels is race. Gingrich is white. Cain is black. Sure, this could be the reason the latter lost credibility faster than that which is being generously (repeatedly) bestowed on the crooked, sweaty, arrogant, bloviating, amoral hypocrite who dared lead the impeachment of Bill Clinton. Except, attributing Cain's downfall to race is just my white person's guilt talking. I'm “overly sensitive.”
We all know we're living in a post-racial society.
Duh. We have a black president. Sarah Palin would be just as meteoric had she been a black woman with a black teenage daughter pregnant out of wedlock. Ann Coulter says her blacks are better than your blacks, as evidence of her party's tolerance. And despite the bad rap, the Tea Partiers' rage has nothing to do with race. Those 3,500 Tea Party extremists who sent Questlove epithet-filled tweets after his awesome Michele Bachman serenade have gone rogue. They don't represent the majority of the come-one, come-all movement.
No, it can't be that. My friend was probably right. Cain's demise was probably nothing more than bad timing.