Everyone is now calling Herman Cain toast because of poorly-handled revelations that the apparent GOP presidential front-runner was the object of a couple of sexual harassment lawsuits that were apparently settled back when he was a lobbyist in the 1990s.
This, of course, comes on the heels of everyone saying Cain has no chance because, well, he’s Herman freaking Cain, who has no organization, no apparent campaign strategy, sports a ridiculous wide-brimmed hat and hired a chief of staff who doesn’t think twice about puffing a cigarette in a web ad for his candidate.
In other words, this is a guy who the political establishment didn’t ever take seriously. Some Republicans are as scared (I would think) as some Democrats are craving the prospect of a Cain presidential nomination. It’s just like when some damned with or without faint praise other Tea Party favorites like Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry in the secret (or not so) hope that someone who actually could appeal to a wider electorate would get the nod (hint: Mitt Romney) without getting too beat up by allies before enemies had their opportunity.
I say everybody, but Nate Silver of 538 has it right: There is a difference between impossible and improbable. A huge difference. Just like the biggest leap is from zero to one, since going from nothing to something is always more disruptive than going from something to more. There is enormous power in the Power of One, even in the Age of the Internet.
The early “defense” put up by/on behalf of Cain is to link him to another very conservative black political figure who rather more defiantly and directly told his attackers to screw off. By using the loaded phrase “high-tech lynching” Cain defenders are saying their guy is being persecuted as much as Clarence Thomas was.