It’s not surprising that Republicans leaped to presidential candidate Herman Cain’s defense after allegations that he sexually harassed some of his employees in the 1990s resurfaced this week, despite the fact that those allegations have neither been proven or disproven. Many Republicans, however, have gone much further — claiming that sexual harassment allegations are, in Rush Limbaugh’s words, “a political tool of the left to get rid of people, or to score money gains.” Americans for Herman Cain blasted out a fundraising email headlined, “Don’t let the media ‘lynch’ another black Conservative.” And the National Review actually published this gem:
There has never in the history of the world been a people better mannered and less inclined to insulting acts of prejudice than today’s Americans, yet we’re supposed to believe that the nation is seething with “harassment” and “discrimination,” women being groped in every business office and crosses burning on every lawn. For Heaven’s sake. Aren’t there any grown-ups around?
Herman Cain’s many apologists are deeply and tragically wrong. A recent University of Michigan study found that nine in 10 women workers will experience “offensive sexist remarks or being told that they could not do their job properly due to their sex,” and the women who only endure these conditions will be the lucky ones. A massive one in 10 women in the workplace will at some point be “promised promotion or better treatment if they [are] ‘sexually cooperative‘” with a co-worker or supervisor.
Yet, despite the fact that the very worst kind of sexual harassment is shockingly common, the GOP’s inability to recognize it is hardly limited to Team Cain. Failed Reagan Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork, who is one of Gov. Mitt Romney’s top legal advisors, recently claimed that women “aren’t discriminated against anymore.”
Speaking on Sean Hannity’s radio show this afternoon, Cain exclaimed forcefully, “Is speaking to someone sexual harassment?! Give me a break!”