Here come the character assassinations. The lead paragraph in a Politico article says this:
During Herman Cain’s tenure as the head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s, at least two female employees complained to colleagues and senior association officials about inappropriate behavior by Cain, ultimately leaving their jobs at the trade group, multiple sources confirm to POLITICO.
The rest of the article contains…carefully unnamed sources and cynically unsubstantiated “facts.” We get those “multiple sources” from that lead paragraph. We get a “lengthy roster of former board members, current and past staff and others,” also carefully unidentified. We get constant repetition of the original allegation, but oddly, no corroborating facts. We get Cain saying, in response to a interviewer’s question, that he can’t comment “until I see some facts or some concrete evidence” and being accused of being evasive for the dastardly crime of declining to speak in ignorance. And so on. They did bury some identified sources on the last page of their article: “Ron Magruder, Denise Marie Fugo and Joseph Fassler, the chair, vice chair and immediate past chairman of the National Restaurant Association board of directors at the time of Cain’s departure, said they hadn’t heard about any complaints regarding Cain making unwanted advances.” How inconvenient to their thesis.
Is there anything substantive to this matter? We’ll never know from this level of journalism. On the other hand, was the purpose here to reveal critical facts about a man’s character, or simply to create doubt through innuendo?
Another assassination attempt is Roger Simon’s, carried out recently on CNN Live (follow the link, and have your browser allow popups—the video is in one. Simon’s remarks occur at about the 7:10 mark, and sorry about the leading ad):
[W]hy would Perry use [the Birther “issue”] in the primaries…? Well, it’s because being extreme perhaps and a little bit racist perhaps gives you good bona fides in a Republican primary — shows him you’re on the same side as they are.
And there has been for some time, now, the misleading statements about the opposition’s performance. For instance, we have the following from David Axelrod, as he insists that Republicans, generally, are deliberately trying to trash our economy (again, apologies for the leading commercial, and these particular remarks occur about three quarters of the way through the interview).
They don’t want to cooperate. They don’t want to help. …so you have to ask a question, are they willing to tear down the economy in order to tear down the president or are they going to cooperate?
We also have the President and his recently begun drumbeat about do-nothing Republicans. He blames do-nothing Republicans for blocking “jobs” bills, saying, “Over and over, they have refused to even debate the same kind of jobs proposals that Republicans have supported in the past – proposals that today are supported, not just by Democrats, but by Independents and Republicans all across America.” He blames do-nothing Republicans for blocking his $447 billion “jobs” bill. And so on. Of course, he ignores the fact that the do-nothing Republicans passed a budget, in their first month in the present Congressional session, that would have produced jobs and started bringing down the national debt. He ignores the fact that it was those oh, so active Democrats that refused Sen. Mitch McConnell’s attempt to honor Obama’s “Pass this bill now” demand and bring that expensive jobs bill to a prompt vote, choosing instead to wait until they were ready to play their political games with it. He ignores the fact that the do-nothing Republicans have passed jobs bills and jobs-related bills that address the excessive regulations that inhibit small businesses and their hiring. He ignores the fact that every one of these bills, including that budget bill, sit in the activist Democrat Senate being studiously ignored. He ignores the fact that that same activist Democrat Senate has refused even to attempt a budget bill of its own for the last 900 days.
Finally, there’s the just plain silly. We get for instance, Cokie Roberts, on ABC News’ “The Green Room,” extolling the virtues of our present overly complex, loophole-laden tax system (again, sorry for the leading ad):
I think we will see the flat tax crash and burn once again. You know, look – the reason America has used the tax code for social good is because we like the private sector. And so Western Europe has basically embraced socialism to do all of these things. What we have embraced is have business do all our health care and our universities and our arts and all of that, and our housing, with garden apartments for middle class people and all of that. And you know, you might like or dislike that, but that’s a result of the tax code and that is something Americans tend to like a whole lot better than having government do it.
We’re only in the primary season, too. The actual campaign will be…interesting.