Cosman: Cain’s alleged scandal threatens GOP success

I love the Republican Party, I really do. There hasn't been a group of people as entertaining as the 2012 GOP presidential candidates since "Seinfeld" went off the air in 1998. With the recent reports of sexual harassment charges being levied against former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain, the candidates proved their hilarity once again, displaying their inability to get their acts together.

In case you haven't heard, two former female employees of Cain have come forward with claims of "sexually suggestive behavior" by Cain while he was head of the National Restaurant Association. Politico reported the sexual harassment claims on Oct. 31 and since then there has been no shortage of bickering and in-fighting among the candidates.

Cain's campaign started the finger-pointing, deciding to take some heat off Cain himself by accusing Texas Gov. Rick Perry of leaking the harassment story. "The fingerprints of the Rick Perry campaign are all over this," Cain said at a Nov. 2 town hall meeting.

The Perry campaign, in turn, tried throwing the blame on former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Ray Sullivan, spokesman for the Perry campaign, said he "wouldn't put it past" the Romney campaign to leak the story.

Finally is Congressman Ron Paul, trying his hardest to stay relevant with about a year to go before the presidential election, deciding not to attack a specific candidate but rather the lot of them: "Conceivably it could be another campaign has done this," he said about the leak.  

The beauty of it, to me at least, is while they're all trying to lay the blame on someone else, no one has really talked about what this story means – if the claims are indeed true, the Cain campaign is surely finished.  

It doesn't look good either, considering Cain has gone back and forth on whether the women received monetary settlements after the charges. I'm impressed Cain is doing as well as he is, considering his "9-9-9" plan seems to be dead in the ground. Even with the sexual harassment story, Cain still leads polls in South Carolina with Romney a close second. Maybe the individuals polled hadn't seen the news recently or had time to think about what it really means because I can't believe Cain will remain in the lead once this story develops.

It seems like every week a different republican candidate has a "scandal." First it was Romney with illegal immigrants mowing his lawn, then speculation of Perry giving a speech in New Hampshire while intoxicated (most likely unfounded but the YouTube clips are hilarious nonetheless) and now Cain accused of sexually suggestive behavior.

It doesn't matter if any of these are true – the mere fact that these kinds of stories are coming out does not bode well for the GOP heading into a general election. From the actual story to the finger pointing that followed, none of the candidates seem to be able to hold onto a shred of integrity. At this point all President Barack Obama has to do is lie low for a while and let the GOP candidates tear each other down, and the election is his for the taking.