As a presidential candidate, Herman Cain is done. He is toast!

In the past, I and many others gave him the benefit of doubt. The sexual harassment claims against him that were settled by the National Restaurant Association appeared frivolous at best. Sharon Bialek’s assertion was a “he said, she said” and appeared to be financially and politically motivated. However, Ginger White’s allegation that she carried on a13-year affair with Cain, backed up with records of telephone and text messages, is troubling. At best, it is a case of poor judgment on his part, and there is no wiggle room in that.

Mr. Cain, in addition to his many business accomplishments, is an associate minister. I have been present when he delivered the devotion. This man knows the Word of God, and the Word says that you are to avoid even the appearance of evil. Also, you are to flee situations that might lead you into temptation.

Like Mr. Cain, I have been married over 40 years. As a broadcaster, I traveled frequently. However, I did not make a habit of dining alone with a member of the opposite sex. While on the road, I ate in my room or with a group. On rare occasions, I have grabbed a quick bite with a colleague in a brightly lit restaurant but would go to the trouble of phoning my husband beforehand to tell him what I was doing and would phone him again when safely back in my room. That is just what you do if you take those admonitions in the Bible seriously!

To add insult to injury, Cain’s attorney, Lin Wood, lectured reporters, telling them they had no right to ask his client about these allegations:

“This is not an accusation of harassment in the workplace … this is not an accusation of an assault … Rather, this appears to be an accusation of private, alleged consensual conduct between adults – a subject matter which is not a proper subject of inquiry by the media or the public.

“No individual, whether a private citizen, a candidate for public office or a public official, should be questioned about his or her private sexual life.”

Wood could not be more wrong!

We are talking about elevating this man to the highest office in the land. We can overlook Cain’s foreign-policy lapses. No one person can be expect to know everything about every issue he or she will encounter as president. However, this is an office where only those people who have demonstrated the highest character and good judgment should apply.

No one has to get married. However, those who do take a vow to remain faithful to a spouse. There is no greater commitment on earth. We, rightfully, put our commitment to our spouse and our family second only to our commitment to God. Now, I ask you, would a person who cheats on his or her spouse be more or less likely to cheat on his or her country?

You know the answer to that, yet we frequently make excuses for philanderers in public office because we bet the farm on them. They are our guy so we bury our heads in the sand and pretend it doesn’t matter.

It does matter!

It is ironic that much of Cain’s support has gone to the thrice-married Newt Gingrich. No one is perfect. We all make mistakes, and to Gingrich’s credit he has been up front about his. However, most people learn from their mistakes and, if they are sincere, they don’t stay in a mistake or keep on making the same mistakes.

Gingrich cheated on, not one, but two wives. Furthermore, while married to wife No. 2, he carried on an affair with his present wife for five long years while speaker of the House – during the impeachment of Bill Clinton.

Little wonder that Gingrich ultimately was forced out of office by his own party!

We have had presidents who were known adulterers, but never a first lady. It could happen. There is no law against it, but, right or wrong, we tend to put our first ladies on pedestals. Would the country accept such a first lady?

You can forget those dream debates. Obama would love to run against Newt Gingrich.

Make no mistake. There is no perfect candidate. Never has been; never will be. However, character and good judgment should be the very least we demand from a man or woman seeking the highest and most important office in our land.

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