1. That Herman Cain is a sexual harasser.
2. That Rick Perry had anything to do with the “leak” of “information” about sexual harassment complaints against Cain to Politico.
3. That Mitt Romney was behind the “leaks” either.
4. That the mythical ability to silence baseless innuendo, or spin it and come out smelling like a rose, or avoid it altogether, is a qualification for being president of the United States.
5. That the left-wing mainstream media act in good faith when they retail these allegations.
6. That media coverage of such allegations and innuendo is some form of vetted professional activity, rather than just a glorified form of slam book smears and middle-school cafeteria gossip.
7. That it is incumbent on any of us to take the endless effluvia of the media smear machine seriously.
8. That it is a sign of intelligence to thoughtfully consider these charges-without-evidence, rather than simply dismissing them.
9. That the whole circus matters to our choice of president, in terms of illuminating for us the character or abilities of any of the candidates.
10. That any of these cheap-allegation dramas is even about the candidates, rather than about us, and whether we have any judgment or discrimination when it comes to what we let the media fill our heads with.
If a competent prosecutor can indict a ham sandwich, today’s media can smear one – and then make it look like some innocent ham sandwich over there behind the counter did it. But the media can only do this because we cooperate with them, by simply accepting every negative, damning, evil thought they suggest to us.
Keeping the barrage up is virtually cost-free for them. They are not going to stop, no matter how conclusively it is proven that they are full of shinola. Accepting their cues, and spending day after day discussing things on their terms, is the actual problem. And that problem starts with us.
There is no corrective for this problem in the mechanics of politics or the media’s M.O. Politics and the media aren’t going to change. Period. We have to decide what our characters and priorities will consist of. Do we have the strength of mind to say this? – “Don’t bother me with your innuendo about Herman Cain. I want to talk issues. We need to cut spending, reduce regulation, and undo all of Obama’s dangerous executive orders. We need to restore a constitutional balance of power in the federal government. And that’s just for starters. Iran is closing in on a nuclear weapon. China is menacing all of Asia. European security is in jeopardy, and so is ours. That’s what I want to talk about. The future of the republic is at stake.”
Who cares if “they” think we’re stupid? Are we seriously going to let this election degenerate into a suicidal snark free-for-all because someone might think we’re stupid, if we don’t bite on every worm the media dangle on the hook?
Any one of us could be in Cain’s or Perry’s position – or Bachmann’s, or Palin’s, or that of any conservative front-runner past or present. Ronald Reagan himself wouldn’t have triumphed over this kind of media attack. He would have looked every bit as caught off guard and flat-footed. One thing the blogosphere does is amplify cheap, off-the-cuff opinions and send them echoing back to us in chorus, as if “everybody” now thinks Candidate X is toast and his character is in shreds. Is that really true? What obliges us to think so, other than the kind of fearful, triangulating approach to our personal opinions that we should have overcome by the time we got our high school diplomas?
Herman Cain hasn’t been convicted of sexual harassment, nor have charges been filed against him. It would be public record if these things had happened. It is not a sign of intelligence or moral discrimination for conservative voters to feast on vague allegations against our candidates, which we are told by third parties were made by persons whose names we don’t know, and which never resulted in prosecution or sanction. As a rule for life, that’s no way to think about morality, law, society, or other people’s characters.
And Cain’s not even my preferred candidate. But this applies to all of them. If we wait for cheap “bad news” about other people to cease flowing, we’ll be stuck obsessing over it for all eternity. It doesn’t have to be true or significant; it will just keep coming. How much we are preoccupied with evil allegations is up to us. We only think it’s the media doing this to us. In reality, we’re doing it to ourselves. We have the power to say no: we’re not playing any more. Until we do that, the MSM will have us by the short hairs.
Oh, and one more thing I don’t believe:
11. That Americans are too foolish and weak-minded to figure this out.