There is a saying that the third time is the charm. For presidential candidate Herman Cain it is not the third but the fourth time that he has stubbornly denied accusations of sexual harassment and refused to give up his political ambitions.
For a proud liberal like me, it is very disappointing. I had the Machiavellian hope that the pizza man's political rise was not temporary and that, with a little bit of luck, he would end up being proclaimed the official presidential candidate of the glorious Republican Party.
With Herman Cain as the presidential candidate, according to my calculations, the reelection of President Barack Obama was more than probable. The electorate may have doubts about our current president in terms of economic policy, the number one concern of voters in the 2012 election, but can not be so politically blind if faced with an Obama versus Cain option.
But how can we save Cain after this one. The first three women that accused him did not have a name and their statements were made through third parties that echoed events that supposedly took place in the 1990s when he was CEO of the National Restaurant Association (NRA). Now he is facing a woman with a name, Sharon Bialek, and with an explosive story of how he put his hand on her leg, under her skirt, and tried to reach her genitals. When Bialek complained, Cain's answer was: "You want a job, right?"
Cain's behavior does not seem to be an isolated incident. Not only do we have the accusations of four women, but also the statements of a former NRA employee, Chris Wilson, who confirmed that at the office everybody knew of Cain's indiscretions.
William Bennett, a respected leader of the Republican Party, has already suggested that if Cain does not have the ability to appropriately confront these accusations that probably it is time for him to withdraw from the electoral campaign.
The polls clearly show that Cain is starting to lose political ground. One from The Wall Street Journal suggests that the candidate's unfavorable opinion has gone up from 18% to 35% between October and November, when the accusations took place.
With this, my hopes of an easy victory for Obama evaporated.
My previous bets had also failed. Visionary Sarah Palin, who surprised us with her ability to be able to see Russia form her Alaskan home, was my first choice. But the millions that she is making in the speakers' circuit, selling books, and even with a reality show were more tempting.
Another Republican who had also gotten my attention was Donald Trump. In his 15 minutes of political glory he got obsessed with Obama's birth certificate, but when he had to start talking about topics of national importance a pathetic Trump could only boast of his eccentric hairdo.
When Michelle Bachmann won an intraparty poll in Iowa, I also thought that the founding mother of the Tea Party caucus in the U.S. Congress was the chosen one. But Rick Perry arrived and at that point I was certain that I had finally found my candidate. After all, we are talking of a governor of one of the most important states in the country. But in the debates it became clear the lack of substance of this poor man who seems more comfortable communicating through pantomime than projecting an image of a statesman.
So without all these starlets, who have in common that at some point have been supported by the Tea Party and the most conservative sectors of the Republican Party, it seems inevitable that Mitt Romney will emerge as the only realistic option in the party. An alternative that, in the political mathematics of this election, is the most dangerous for Barack Obama.