Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton allegedly trolled for women, using state troopers as his procurers. As president, mr. Clinton engaged in oral sex with Monica Lewinsky in the Oval Office. He lied about it under oath and was impeached, though later acquitted by the U.S. Senate. Other sexual accusations tainted Mr. Clinton. That "everybody lies about sex" and "it was just sex" and didn't affect his public responsibilities, were just two of the exculpatory statements from Mr. Clinton's Democratic defenders. James Carville slimed Paula Jones, one of Mr. Clinton's accusers, by saying you never know what you'll find "when you drag a hundred-dollar bill through a trailer park."
Many other Democrats in modern times have been caught with their pants down -- JFK, John Edwards. Some paid a political price. Most did not because their policies were favored by the liberal media, which gave them cover.
Now it is Herman Cain's turn, and the rules have suddenly changed. Mr. Cain stands accused of sexually harassing two women more than a decade ago when he headed the National Restaurant Association. Many in the media wolf pack have already judged him guilty because he updated his initial statement denying the allegations. And yet The Washington Post, in association with Politico.com -- which broke the "story" -- routinely updates its online pages when new information comes to light.
Is Mr. Cain, a relative media novice, expected to have instant and total recall of events that may or may not have happened more than 10 years ago?
The way this works is, if you can't give the media immediate and detailed answers to their questions, they "raise new questions" and then when you do provide them additional information they say you should have provided it before and must be covering something up, prompting even more questions.
One cannot say what, if any, political motives the anonymous female accusers might have, or even if they helped bring these charges to Politico. So much of this is subjective. What is known is that a charge of sexual harassment is not proof that sexual harassment occurred.
This story also has a noxious odor of racism about it. Historically, perhaps the worst stereotype directed at African-American men is that they are oversexed and constantly on the prowl for female conquests.
Mr. Cain's candidacy has unnerved the Washington political establishment. I have just finished his book "This is Herman Cain!: My Journey to the White House." In it, I learned that Mr. Cain is a self-made man who achieved success without government and without self-loathing. He is the enemy of big government, and of Democrats' "can't do" condescending attitude toward minorities. Cain exudes a positive and optimistic spirit.
Were Mr. Cain to become president, this "CEO of self" would threaten the political and economic prison liberal Democrats have built to keep disenfranchised minorities down and voting for Democrats for fear their government programs will end. Mr. Cain has a better way, and he writes about it in his inspiring personal story, which is the embodiment of the American Dream.
This is why Mr. Cain is being excoriated by the liberal left. Even some in the Republican establishment wish he would just go away. There will be more on this as reporters and tabloids throw money at Mr. Cain's accusers, seeking to get them to talk in violation of their termination agreements.
If you're wondering why more qualified people don't run for office, consider what is being done to Herman Cain. People don't want every mistake or bad decision they've made trumpeted from the rooftops and so they avoid politics to the nation's detriment.
Mr. Cain may ultimately triumph over these allegations. On Monday he recorded his biggest fundraising day ever, netting $400,000. Still, the best defense is a good offense, and what would be best for Mr. Cain is for him to get all the facts out, immediately, before his enemies do it for him.
Cal Thomas is a syndicated columnist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.