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They’ve finally brought forth a female face with a name and a narrative to nail Herman Cain. OK, I admit it was attorney Gloria Allred who did the dredging, but even if it’s the sleaziest member of the team who scores a touchdown, it still counts for six points. I still say Solyndra was better at making solar panels than Cain’s accusers are at making sex scandals. It looks very bad for Herman, even though my wife says, “There’s something weird about that woman!”
Right after Pearl Harbor, when the Japanese were invading all over the western Pacific, an American plane took off from the Philippines for the safety of Australia. When they stopped to refuel in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) they invited some of the Dutchmen to hop aboard, to escape Japanese imprisonment. The American pilots were astounded the Dutch refused to leave.
“This is our land,” they explained. “We will stay and fight.”
“You are doomed,” said the Americans. “Never mind,” said the Dutch. “We will stay and fight.” And they did – and they died or spent five years in Japanese prisons.
I feel like the Dutch about Herman Cain. I’ll stay and I’ll fight.
Cain’s sex crimes, even as alleged, were nowhere near as egregious as Bill Clinton’s. Did Clinton stop when she said “Stop!”? Did he drive her back to the hotel when she asked? That doesn’t excuse Herman Cain if he’s guilty. But it makes me feel less freaky standing by Herman Cain. And none of Clinton’s victims needed Gloria Allred. Some sculptors work in clay. Some work in stone. Allred works in sleaze.
It’s beyond odd how so much in American life has gotten so much more permissive than before. You hear words on radio and TV today that were hard-core cuss words in my boyhood. People dine naked in San Francisco restaurants. I remember when aliens had to have American sponsors to guarantee they wouldn’t become public expenses, and they had to register at a post office every January. In 1951 I was almost fired from a Miami Beach hotel for giving a room to a man and woman who were in town to get married the next day. The hotel owner freaked. They weren’t married yet! I had to go help the woman move to another room. Forty years later in Las Vegas a female desk clerk who was short of rooms begged me to share a room with a woman I didn’t even know who was in town for the same convention I was!
So much is so much looser today, but the sexual harassment rules have swung violently the other way. In the 1970s it was common to come up behind women you hardly knew at their desks and massage their bare shoulders while keeping a conversation going the whole time! “Ooh, that feels good!” was the sharpest rebuke I ever got. When my wife, Sara Pentz, was leaving a big-city TV station, an executive approached her and said, “We’re going to miss your legs around here.” Sara thanked him. She was flattered. Today, either one of those male activities would have called for 30 days in the electric chair. In fact, we’re told one of Herman Cain’s “offenses” was saying a woman in another room was “pretty.”
I had my own “Herman Cain” moment in politics. In 1970 I ran for Congress as a Republican in New York City against the fabled Bella Abzug. Naturally, I would have preferred to win, but in a district 80 percent Democratic, we held Bella to 52 percent of the vote. One day our campaign schedule called for a “Farber Rally” in a downtown apartment jammed with attractive young women who’d told my campaign they wanted to help get out the vote. They forgot to say for whom!
The minute my aide Ira and I walked in they mobbed me. A friendly crowd of them said things like, “Barry, we love you!” as they boldly unbuttoned my jacket, loosened my collar, took off my necktie and splotched lipstick on my shirt. All the while, one of them was taking picture after picture. It was obviously a setup to destroy my campaign. I even recognized a few of the women as far-left journalists. “We’d better get out of here fast,” I told Ira. “It’s too late for that,” he correctly noted. “It’s too late after the first picture. Just enjoy the party and leave the rest to me.”
He then cooperated with the women and even goaded them onward saying things like, “Is there anybody who hasn’t taken a picture with Barry yet?” and “C’mon, Barry. Put your arms around her!”
At just the right “military” moment, Ira deftly grabbed the camera out of the “photographer’s” hands, darted into the bathroom and locked the door. He then opened the camera, removed the film (remember those cameras?), emerged from the bathroom smiling and handed the camera back to its owner with a few dollar bills to pay for the film. The “Farber Rally” was over.
I hope you have some people like Ira around you, Herman.