Cain Not Able
By MAUREEN DOWD
Published: November 1, 2011
Maureen Dowd is always at her best when there is a whiff of sexual scandal in the air. It's what won her her Pulitzer after all. So the Herman Cain scandal is right up her alley. And this affair has her pining for prim and proper alliterative Austen novels.
It’s the Republican primary. Or “Pride and Prejudice.” Take your pick.Which allows her to put her twist on one of the most famous opening lines in the English language (a gimmick she used on another politician back in 2008):
It is a truth universally acknowledged that it’s not the scandal that kills you; it’s the cover-up. Herman Cain has added a corollary: It’s not the cover-up that kills you; it’s the cascade of malarkey that spills out when you try to cover up the cover-up.And she elaborates the analogy further by placing the actors with the characters:
The Herminator was just a raffish passing fancy, like Mr. Wickham, a place for Republicans to store their affections while they try to overcome their aversion to Mitt Romney’s Mr. Darcy.The eighteenth century landed gentry lived by a strict moral code and Dowd gives us an update useful in the 21st:
It is never right for any boss, especially the president of the United States, to mess with an intern, even if she’s the aggressor.But she says that this particular tale is not a bodice-ripping potboiler, it is something far more pedestrian.
It is the most hackneyed story in Washington — another powerful man who crossed the line and then, when caught, tried to blame the women.And our Maureen has too much sense and sensibility to let anyone get away with that.