Herman Cain's road to the White House keeps getting harder for the GOP presidential candidate to navigate. Obstacles include sexual harassment allegations, stumbles with the media in response to those allegations, and a recent interview episode getting widespread Internet attention where Cain appeared confused when asked to describe how he disagrees with President Barack Obama's handling of the Libyan revolt.
I got to go back and see, I've got all this stuff twirling around in my head, Cain said in a meeting with the editorial board of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, when asked about how he disagreed with Obama's handing of Libya.
It's understandable that Cain's mind is a jumble after his recent whirlwind months, in which he bolted from the back of the GOP presidential candidate pack with a win in the Florida Straw Poll and surged to the top of many polls before life in the leadership position became difficult, to say the least.
The media began to pick and parse his each and every word. Political opponents who previously let him glide along as a friendly bystander came on the attack. Reports of sexual harassment claims in the past were pushed into the present. He's been asked to explain himself, and his positioning, at every turn and step along the way. And many times in response, he has talked like he did in that interview -- as if he's got all this stuff twirling around in his head.
He doesn't recall. He needs to go back and see.
As a result, his political star is sinking as fast as it rose. And that's saying something.
One could argue that it is all terribly unfair, the toll of the political trail so significant that it renders a man who was fast gaining power virtually powerless, politically speaking, in a matter of mere weeks. Opponents aren't fair. The media isn't fair. Those claiming sexual harassment aren't fair.
Nobody ever said running for President of the United States is easy. In fact, the road is hard and long for good reason, since serving as president is a difficult task that requires performance under the most difficult of conditions.
Under normal circumstances, we could feel sorry for Cain, who has never before held political office. If he were still just a businessman, it would all be horribly unfair. But Cain is more than that now, for the moment at least. He became a legitimate contender for the highest office -- President of the United States. With that comes the terrible trail, the one candidates must must be able to navigate like carefully stepping through a mine field with 1,000 pounds on their back if they hope to reach destiny.
In the White House, the pressures of the job and the relentless demands of the media are far more intense than what Cain is facing now, as a GOP candidate. Obama can attest to that. So can George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and others. The scrutiny never stops. And the challenges are far more intense.
Thus, if a candidate suffers so much fatigue at this point that stuff is twirling around in their head, what might we see in a national or global crisis when the heat is really turned up?
So while it isn't always fair, and at times it is even unreasonably hard, the road to the White House is difficult for a reason. It's a test that helps determine above and beyond ideology who might be able to survive the rigorous pressures and challenges of the job they are seeking.
As for Cain, he's shown signs in recent weeks that he's quite the weary traveler, struggling on the tough road that may be more than he can handle.