Former GOP Hill Staffer Thinks Cain Should Go

 Republican presidential candidate and former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain addresses the Defending the American Dream Summit on Nov. 4 in Washington, D.C. i i

Republican presidential candidate and former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain addresses the Defending the American Dream Summit on Nov. 4 in Washington, D.C. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
 Republican presidential candidate and former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain addresses the Defending the American Dream Summit on Nov. 4 in Washington, D.C.

Republican presidential candidate and former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain addresses the Defending the American Dream Summit on Nov. 4 in Washington, D.C.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Sophia Nelson is the author of Black Woman Redefined: Dispelling Myths and Discovering Fulfillment in the Age of Michelle Obama.

The Herman Cainwreck (not my word) just got worse. This afternoon Karen Kraushaar, one of the first women to accuse Cain of sexual harassment, made her name known. She joined Sharon Bialek, who held a press conference Monday detailing what she said were Cain's unwanted advances.

Cain and his campaign have now put out an email on just "who is Sharon Bialek?" In this missive, the team assails Ms. Bialek as having a "long and troubled history" both legally and financially.

Wow. Is this 1991, when I was a first-year law student watching the Thomas-Hill hearings, or 1992, when Bill Clinton and his team fought off the so-called bimbo eruptions?

As an African-American professional woman who was a very active and engaged moderate Republican for 20 years, this kind of response, both from the Cain campaign and from the GOP primary voters being polled, disgusts me.

I used to admire Herman Cain. When I was a congressional candidate in the 1990s I met him, and he always seemed such a gentleman.

But I am troubled that the Republican Party acts as if this a political attack, a "high-tech lynching" of a black conservative. In truth, there have been four women who came forward now. Four. And rumors say there might be a fifth, plus a young man who used to work with Cain at the National Restaurant Association who said he "saw Cain" engage in such behavior with women.

How can the GOP stand by and allow Cain to duck, dodge and now attack women who dare to out his behavior? These allegations are serious — Cain has been accused of harassing a woman who came to him for help with employment, reaching under her skirt, and pushing her head toward his lap.

And unlike Clinton (before he was elected), Cain is being accused of sexual harassment charges against women in his employ. The question on the table now is not whether Herman Cain is some guy who likes to cat around with young women. It is a much more serious one that requires the GOP primary voters to make a clear decision about their nominee. Clearly, Cain has done something inappropriate in his past. Anyone who continues to suggest this is made up, is some kind of "lynching" or is a media attack on Cain is in serious denial about what we lawyers call pattern and practice evidence.

Sophia Nelson is a lawyer, columnist and political commentator. i i

Sophia Nelson is a lawyer, columnist and political commentator. Damon Douglas Moore hide caption

itoggle caption Damon Douglas Moore
Sophia Nelson is a lawyer, columnist and political commentator.

Sophia Nelson is a lawyer, columnist and political commentator.

Damon Douglas Moore

The bottom line is this: The Republican Party since the 1980s has claimed to be the "moral compass" of America. It has claimed to be the party of values, virtue and all things sacred when it comes to the family, sexual conduct and faith. If the GOP wants to keep that mantra with any credibility then it had better quickly ask Mr. Cain to step aside and embrace former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Like him or not, Romney is a true family values man and has never been accused of any sexual peccadilloes or impropriety. The GOP must decide if it wants to seriously challenge President Obama in 2012 by putting up a serious candidate like Romney or Perry, or go with a damaged wild card like Cain.

If the Tea Party decides despite these disturbing allegations to push to nominate Cain, it can count on losing the election in 2012. Independent voters, women and moderates like me will never vote for a man who has not only been accused of illegal and immoral behavior but who handled allegations in an unorthodox and arrogant way. Mr. Cain should step aside. He is neither prepared nor morally acceptable to be president of the United States of America.

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