Cain lashes out at accuser

Herman Cain doesn’t remember what happened with his female accusers in the 1990s, but he nevertheless knows they’re lying.

Not only is Herman Cain flatly calling his accuser, Sharon Bialek, a liar, he says he doesn’t even remember her at all.

“I reject all accusations,” he said in a defiant interview with ABC/Yahoo. “I don’t remember that. And also I don’t remember knowing her.”

In [the interview[, Cain repeatedly stressed that he couldn’t recollect anything about Bialek, saying he didn’t even have a glimmer of recognition when he saw her take the podium at her press conference on Monday. He denied that he has acted improperly with women in the workplace at any time in his career despite reports that the National Restaurant Association settled two sexual harassment complaints against him in the 1990s. […]

Asked whether she was lying, he replied: “yes.”

Of course, if recent history is any guide, Cain may change this story a few hours from now, so it’s probably best not to take any of this to the bank.

Cain added that there’s a conspiracy working against him: “There’s an element in this country … that does not want to see a businessman succeed. They really don’t want to see an unconventional candidate who is connecting with the people.”

Apparently, these same people have access to a time machine, and convinced women in the 1990s to accuse Cain of misconduct. That’s quite a conspiracy.

In related news, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) told CNN that “if, in fact, there is substance to the claims,” Cain’s chances at the nomination “are gone,” and he should drop out of the race. She’s the first Republican senator to say this publicly.

And as long as we’re on the subject, T.A. Frank, an editor here at the Monthly, wrote a great piece on the Cain campaign for the New York Times Magazine. My favorite part:

[T]o say that Herman Cain has an imperfect grasp of policy would be unfair not only to George W. Bush in 1999 but also to Britney Spears in 1999. Herman Cain seems like someone who, quite frankly, has never opened a newspaper.

But I suspect Cain’s flubs are unrelated to intelligence. In 2010, Julian Sanchez of the Cato Institute set off a lively debate by suggesting conservatives had fallen prey to “epistemic closure,” a fancy way of saying that they were getting all their information and opinions exclusively from one another. This may or may not be true of the conservative movement. But it is certainly true of Herman Cain.

“I can honestly say that if I hadn’t been on the radio, I wouldn’t have been as familiar with the issues as I am now,” Cain has written. “I believe that having that program was God’s way of forcing me to understand the critical issues confronting our nation.”

In short, Cain’s briefings on politics came from heated right-wing callers on talk radio. “Epistemic closure” is probably too mild a term for such conditions.