Another day, another Cain sex scandal

So who knows if this is true or not, but the most interesting thing about this article, which details the claim that Cain had a 13-year affair, is this third-to-last paragraph:

He refused to go into any detail about Ms. White, and also told Mr. Blitzer that he had already informed his wife, whose response was, “Here we go again.”

Pro tip: If your husband is accused of inappropriate sexual behavior so many times that your reaction to him potentially having an affair is “here we go again,” it is maybe time to reconsider that relationship.

Perhaps Mr. and Mrs. Cain have an arrangement where Mr. Cain is allowed to have a decade-long affair and everyone’s cool with it. I really doubt it, because most of the time the wives in these scenarios are totally blindsided and publicly humiliated, but sometimes people have arrangements and that’s fine. And most of the time, I fall into the camp of “people’s personal lives are personal, and romantic and sex lives are particularly complex and tough to judge from the outside.” There are a few exceptions, though, when we’re talking about people running for or holding political office (or other positions of power). One exception is “demonstrates total lack of judgment” (see, e.g., sending cock-shots via Twitter from your Congressional office). Another is “astounding hypocrisy about policing peoples’ sex lives” (see, e.g., being an anti-gay anti-abortion “family values” conservative who sexually harasses women and has a 13-year-long affair). Another is “bad judgment + astounding hypocrisy” (see, e.g., running for president when you have a history of sexual harassment and a long-term affair in your closet). So this alleged affair seems like pretty fair game for media coverage. But if I were that dude’s wife? I would be out the damn door.

About Jill

Jill began blogging for Feministe in 2005. She has since written as a weekly columnist for the Guardian newspaper and in April 2014 she was appointed as senior political writer for Cosmopolitan magazine.
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15 Responses to Another day, another Cain sex scandal

  1. bleh says:

    I would have been out the door quite some time ago, but then again, I probably (hopefully, please) would not marry a sexual assault perpetrator in the first place. I feel bad for his wife, who continues to get bad news about the mate she chose.

  2. Archie says:

    Jill never in a million years would you *marry* a dude like Herman Cain.

  3. Anon21 says:

    This is the thing about non-establishment candidates. Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have been running for President for like 25 years. Even if they were tempted, they would just never do something this dumb. Herman Cain decides one day, on a whim, that he’ll sell more books and attract more listeners if he runs for President, and these are the results.

  4. samanthab says:

    What irritates me here is the difference in the reaction of the media to sexual harassment allegations v.s. the allegations of an affair. It’s not that big a deal to abuse women who dare to try to make an independent way for themselves in the workplace but cheating on your demure wifey/household possession is completely unacceptable? Fuck you, media. I disapprove of your biases and incompetence every bit as much as you disapprove of my penis-lessness.

  5. Anon21 says:

    @samanthab: Yeah, that x10. I think probably most of the media morons are too stupid to know they’re doing it, too. They just know there’s something “controversial” about the very concept of sexual harassment–and they’re right, in the sense that large segments of the American right deny that there’s a problem with powerful men coercing female subordinates and colleagues into unwanted sexual relationships, or just straight-up assaulting them. Whereas these same segments of the “moral” right are dead set against consensual extramarital affairs.

    I honestly don’t get it. It seems too simple to say that they’re reacting against the idea of a woman actually getting something out of the interaction in the consensual affair case. But it’s hard to escape that impression when you have numbskulls like Erick Erickson (http://www.redstate.com/erick/2011/11/29/herman-cain-and-the-big-picture/) going out of their way to say things like “The woman — not a lady” with reference to Cain’s paramour.

  6. zuzu says:

    The other thing I find really annoying about all these cases is that people act like the fact that these women are coming forward now means something other than nobody cared about this until Cain decided to run for office.

    I mean, the women who had accused Cain of sexual harassment and then settled with him were under a gag order; they didn’t bring the accusations to light, someone digging up dirt on Cain did. It was only then that they came forward, whether to get their own stories out there accurately now that the allegations had surfaced or simply to confirm rumors so people would stop calling them at work asking about it. Ginger White came forward about the affair because it was just about to be revealed and she probably wanted to forestall jockeying for tabloid scoops. Yet everywhere I go, I see people acting as if all these women are independently trying to bring him down for no reason other than hatred — which of course means they can’t be trusted, and by extension, no woman who accuses a man of such things can be trusted.

    The fact that political operatives and reporters are out there *looking* for these kinds of stories seems to escape many people’s notice.

  7. Bitter Scribe says:

    Also, we’re now seeing the inevitable counterattack about how she has had “financial difficulties,” as if that automatically makes her a liar.

    Successful men often hit on financially insecure women because they’re perceived, rightly or wrongly, as more vulnerable.

    Nonetheless, I think Cain is toast. The only question now is whether he’ll get to be the Fox News House Negro.

  8. Brenda says:

    I agree with Jill’s idea that if a woman was in this scenario she would be publicly humiliated but when a man’s in this situation it’s like yeah whatever let’s move on. To me that is very sexist and feminist in some ways. Women should be treated as equals with men regardless of the situation.

  9. Aaron says:

    One thing I hate (with a capital H) is when the cheatin’ spouse drags his wife before the camera as part of a display of family unity, and has her sit behind him, trying not to look too angry or upset, while he “apologizes” for his “mistakes”. Good for Gloria Cain, for not letting that happen to her, and let’s hope that continues if we shift from the present blanket denial to a “truth-telling” phase.

  10. Sheelzebub says:

    “The woman — not a lady” with reference to Cain’s paramour.

    Ugh. A man who fucks around isn’t denigrated. No one hisses that he isn’t a gentleman, since it’s fine to just be a man. But a woman who does it is either slut shamed upfront (slut, whore. etc.) or backhandedly (“not a LADY”). Fuck these hypocrites. Actually, no. I’d rather use a vibrator and invest in batteries.

  11. Avida Quesada says:

    I believe that this woman is hurting us more than nothing. This is why:

    1. She is trying to say that the fact that he has a consensual affair with him is some how a proof that he harassed the other women. I believe the women, but not due to he words.

    2. She is presenting women in a very bad light. It gives the impression that she is in the same position of the other women. So he have this affairs with those women, he did not divorce his wife and now they are coming to hunt him.

    3. Yeah she is defending the actual victims. Sorry I can read, this quote tells a totally different story:
    But Cain’s denial of White’s version of events appears unlikely to kill the story. On Monday White told Fox 5 Atlanta that the affair between her and Cain had ended shortly before he began his run for the presidency. She described a “fun” relationship in which Cain even bought her plane tickets so that they could meet in California.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/29/herman-cain-ginger-white-allegations?fb=native&CMP=FBCNETTXT9038

    4. He help her when she had financial difficulties, and now she is using this against him. She was not a minor when they started. She decided to go with him. Even if it was to get money, it will be a mutually exploitative relationship.

    5. She keep the records, even as she claims the relationship was fun etc. This add to the idea that we turn consensual acts into crimes when the man do not continue to behave as we want. By example by stoping the gifts shower when he is going to campaign.

    So I don’t believe him, I believe the the actual victims. But she is the typical example used by the hatters to promote distrust of women by men.

    Love,

    Avida

  12. Avida Quesada says:

    Just add an example, note how the woman says: “Another woman has come forward claiming a 13 year old affair”

    It’s true that the male reported notes and stress the difference and he probably is not thinking of her as victim, or worse a survivor.

    http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/business-partner-ginger-white-mentioned-herman-cain/story?id=15047698#.TtW7ZWCfvXg

    This remembers me of Gloria Allred (one of us) trying to have Tiger Wood pay damages to the women he sleep with.

    I insist: this actions are not helping people understand what harassment and abuse are.

    The best,

    Avida

  13. Esti says:

    Avida, a few things:

    1) White has been very clear that she isn’t claiming she was harassed or assaulted, and there’s no indication that she got mad at Cain for cutting her off and is trying to get back at him.

    2) When the sexual harassment allegations surfaced, Cain repeatedly denied that he’d ever cheated on his wife or tried to cheat on her. If he did in fact have a 13 year affair with White, then his denials of the other charges certainly become more questoinable.

    3) Cain met White at a National Restaurant Association event and invited her back up to his room. That’s consistent with the harassment described by the other women, and lends additional legitimacy to their allegations.

    4) Once again: there’s no indication that she came forward to get money, to get revenge on him for no longer giving her money, or for any reason other than wanting to support the women who have alleged that Cain harassed them. If you’re reading other motivations into her actions, then I’d suggest you ask yourself why you’re making those assumptions rather than continuing to blame her for things that there’s no reason to think she’s doing.

    5) Yeah, people are going to react to White’s story by assuming she’s lying, or assuming she’s doing the scorned woman thing. And yeah, they may not get the difference between a consensual affair and the harassment allegations. But you know what? People weren’t exactly treating the women who’ve accused Cain of harassment all that well before she surfaced, and I don’t think that anyone who did believe them is having their minds changed for the worse because of White. You’re essentially saying that because some people (including you) will assume she’s a gold digger who’s out for revenge, she should have kept her mouth shut. That’s ridiculous.

    It’s really, really sad to me that four accusations of harassment — several of which have independent verification and none of which were handled well by Cain or his campaign — together had less impact than a single accusation of a consensual affair, but that’s a whole other story. Jill’s right — sometimes, a politician’s personal life is relevant to their candidacy. This, for several reasons, is one of those times. And although I’m really sad that the harassment allegations received the response they did, I can take comfort from the fact that at least Cain’s candidacy looks to be over.

  14. samanthab says:

    Avida, we aren’t on teams. I would hope! It’s not about women who are “one of us” vs. women who are hurting women. We’re all just on this planet struggling. I might think some things that other women do are unwise and likely destined to bring them unhappiness, but it’s not my place to play morality police- I fucking make unwise choices too sometimes. I’m not really interested in how many gifts she got from him, etc. That’s her private life, and she’s entitled to make her own decisions, stupid or otherwise. She isn’t hurting women unless we turn her into an icon, which there’s really no need to do.

    Men don’t expect other men to be Mahatma Gandhi to get treated with a minimum of respect. I think it would be reasonable for women to treat other women in much the same fashion.

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