Herman Cain may be quietly reconsidering what to do next with his campaign, but some of his most ardent defenders on the right have already made up their minds.
Consider Laura Ingraham, the former Clarence Thomas law clerk and conservative talker who was among the most vocal on the right attacking the women who accused Cain of sexual harassment.
Here’s what that sounded like:
“We have seen this movie before and we know how it ends. It always ends up being an employee who can’t perform or who under-performs and is looking for a little green,” she said on her show.
“How much money did it take for you to swallow your principles?” she continued. “‘Oh, I was so offended.’ So in other words, you lose the fact that you’re offended if you’re paid money? Does anyone understand that? If something was truly horrible, then why wouldn’t you just stand up, ‘I want to be known, my name — I want my name to be out there.’”
That’s not what Ingraham’s saying now after the latest Cain sex scandal (albeit much different from the others as it is about consensual sex rather than harassment) broke.
“If you’re talking about Herman Cain you are wasting your time,” Ingraham tweeted Tuesday. “He’s not going to be the nominee. Neither is Ron Paul.”
The Paul slight aside (Ingraham is certainly not the first to say such a thing about the libertarian), the tweet represents a just bit of foam on a huge wave of conservative sentiment flowing away from Cain all of a sudden.
Alex Burns reports that powerful conservative voices from Mike Huckabee to Sean Hannity — who Cain’s campaign had relied on to provide free press and open the fundraising spigots — are expressing concern about the man they once praised.
This loss of Cain’s all important media base began not with the sexual harassment stuff — if anything that got him more positive press on the right — but with Cain’s cringe-worthy flub about Libya recently. That was the moment things started to turn for Cain, who was already falling in the polls after his 999 plan went from the Next Big Thing to the Next Big Thing Everyone Thinks Is A Bad Idea.
In the middle came the sexual harassment scandal and Gloria Allred. Cain weathered that, raising more money than ever and solidifying his base among the electorate and the conservative press eager to turn Cain into the next Clarence Thomas.
But if Cain quits, it probably be this loss of the conservative commentariat that does it. Without any campaign staff to speak of and too hot to handle for many politicians to endorse him, Cain rose to the top of the field on the positive press he could get. Now it seems that avenue to success is closed off.