Master liar

The Thinker by Rodin

I’ll give Herman Cain one thing: he is a great liar.

Of course, I cannot say for certain that Cain is lying about denying incidents of alleged sexual harassment and, more recently, denying an alleged 13-year on-again, off-again affair with an Atlanta-based divorcee. On the latter allegation, Cain at least admits a friendship with the alleged other woman, Ginger White. He admits giving her money from time to time. From the voluminous cell phone logs provided by Ms. White, it would be hard to deny they traded a lot of text messages, including one at 4:30 in the morning.

That’s quite a “friendship” you have there, Herman. Can I get in on this act? I suspect though I would not qualify for your offer because I am inconveniently a male and thus not quite the sort of “friend” you are looking for. I’d be glad to take your free money for being “friends”, as long as you don’t expect me to answer text messages at 4:30 a.m. Ideally, we’d be just Facebook friends.

My gut though tells me that Cain is just another in a long line of serial philanderers and sexual harassers so full of themselves they believe they are God’s gift to humanity, and in this case, the United States too. If I were in the top one percent like he is, maybe my ego would bloat up too, like a giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man in a Thanksgiving Day parade. Then maybe I could lie convincingly like Herman Cain. To lie like he does, you first have to be shameless. He seems to have all the qualifications there. This is, after all, a guy who feels free to berate the 99% for being failures because they are not among the 1%. It is much easier to imagine this than all these women being shameless too in order to get a day in the national news. If so, they probably had a terrific mentor. Unfortunately for Cain, there are all sorts of corroborating evidence: phone logs, overly personal handwritten notes in books that he has signed and memories of intimates of the accusers when these incidents happened. So as much as I might want to give Cain benefit of the doubt, the evidence suggests, if a fire never happened, something sure is smoldering.

I imagine learning to lie convincingly takes practice. It requires acting, although in Cain’s case he may have done it for so long that it has become like a second skin. One of the reasons I am so bad at lying is because I have so rarely attempted it. There are many reasons for this, but most likely it is because in my formative years I learned that lying was a sin. I learned this not just on my pappy’s knees, but also from various Sisters of Charity with long yardsticks and a flair for inflicting corporal punishment. So whenever I have lied I felt guilt. But more often I felt shame, which was painfully easily read on my face.

African Americans like Cain may have an advantage here: their darker faces make it easier to hide a flushed face. Or perhaps he never learned to feel ashamed about lying. Regardless, the art of lying convincingly requires no fear. Raise that chin. Look the camera directly in the eye. Do not hyper-blink. Be the person you want to project. This probably becomes easier as you rise in the corporate world. People learn to fear you, or at least act in a submissive fashion. The world should move around you, rather than the other way around. This approach has the “virtue” of providing an element of doubt. If you can charge fearlessly ahead in spite of these allegations like Cain, it is easier to give the benefit of the doubt to the candidate, particularly if you are inclined to vote for him anyhow.

I do wonder what would happen if there were incontrovertible proof. If Cain and White did have sex, there may be DNA evidence lying around. This certainly was bad news for Bill Clinton but at least he was already president at the time. Cain might regret his absolute denials. Meanwhile the Cain campaign is hedging, saying it is “reassessing” his candidacy. An untimely withdrawal from the race may be as close as we get of an admission of guilt.

I would not be surprised, as in the case of Jenny Sanford, if some weeks after Cain’s withdrawal from the race we learn that his wife Gloria has filed for divorce. Then, instead of people remembering Cain for his 9-9-9 plan, his fortunes reversed, we may remember 666 instead: the Number of the Beast.

Seriously Jenny?

The Thinker by Rodin

In case you haven’t noticed, I just love news stories about politicians that cannot keep their zippers zipped. One rarely learns anything new from these news stories, but they always amuse and entertain even though they are heart-wrenching experiences for the aggrieved spouse and family. It seems that cheated ex-wives (and ancillaries who facilitated the cheating) are competing with each other for Amazon bestseller status. There has been a whole rash of books lately. Elizabeth Edwards recently released Resilience, her tell all book about her marriage to John Edwards. Also hot off the presses is The Politician by Andrew Young, the former myopic and masochistic aide to John Edwards wherein we get all sorts of details we probably did not want to know. These include that Edwards’ bit on the side, Rielle Hunter, couldn’t be bothered to clean up a pot of spilled coffee. Why bother when there are maids for these sorts of things? Anyhow, perhaps John would have commanded Young to lick it off the floor. If pretending to be the father to Rielle Hunter’s love child was not beneath him, licking up spilled coffee off a hotel room floor should not be either. God, what a sap.

There is also Jenny Sanford’s recent book Staying True. Jenny is of course the soon to be ex-wife of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, who earned his day of infamy last June when he was supposed to be hiking the Appalachian Trail alone but was instead in Argentina crying over losing his mistress. Good news, Mark. Within a few weeks, you will be legally able to marry your soul mate. Some how I’m betting she won’t let you come within a hundred clicks of her.

Staying True seemed like a good name for the book, for there are few things that women like to read more than stories of courageous women who take their vows seriously. Jenny may have had a philandering husband, but at least she was faithful to her vows: score! It’s hard to feel sorry for any philanderer and I certainly felt no sympathy for Mark when I learned of his indiscretions. That is I didn’t until yesterday when I read this news article.

South Carolina’s first lady says her wedding was a “leap of faith” because Gov. Mark Sanford, who famously cheated on her with a woman he described as his soul mate, did not want to include a vow of fidelity in their marriage ceremony.

Not having a vow of faithfulness “bothered me to some extent, but … we were very young, we were in love,” Jenny Sanford tells Walters. “I questioned it, but I got past it.”

In her memoir, a copy of which The Associated Press obtained Tuesday, Sanford writes that her groom was worried “in some nagging way” that he might not be able to remain true.

“With the benefit of the knowledge I have about Mark now, I could point to this moment as a clear sign of things to come,” she writes. But at the time, she found his honesty “brave and sweet” and thought he just had cold feet.

The first time I read this I thought, “This has to be a joke.” Apparently not. Here is the aggrieved soon to be ex-wife of the conservative South Carolina governor writing a book called Staying True for crying out loud wherein she gets to proclaim how justifiably aggrieved she is. She gets to say how important fidelity is to her in a marriage and yet she went into the marriage knowing that her husband could not promise fidelity. She found his honesty “brave and sweet”.

Oh kay… Jenny, you must have been high on something at the time and I will be charitable and say it must have been the love hormones that made you temporarily lose your mind. I applaud you for your honesty with this admission but really, anyone who bought your book should demand their money back. Yep, your soon to be ex-husband is still a philanderer and a snake. But it’s not like he didn’t warn you. Most philanderers leave their spouse in the dark until the evidence becomes impossible to ignore, you pick up a STD or they mysteriously move out in the dark of night. Here Mark told you up front that he wasn’t sure he could be faithful to you and you married him anyhow.

Now I haven’t read the book to know if there is more to this but if fidelity is so important to you that you write a book called Staying True, for crying out loud, don’t you think you should have made it a requirement before agreeing to take the marriage vows? Granted, the Guv’s stepping out on you was not right. I hope you at least had the understanding that his extramarital relationships would be in the sunshine. But it’s not like he was not up front about his feelings before marriage. Basically, the Guv was saying he too had doubts about marrying you, but when he disclosed how he was honestly feeling, you swept an issue of such critical importance under the rug.

We all make mistakes in our marriages and I know I have made plenty. This one though was a whopper. You absolutely should not have married the guy if fidelity was important to you. And you certainly should not be writing a tell all book called Staying True saying what great character you have in contrast to your soon to be ex-spouse. Maybe it should have been titled, God, I was such a Putz.

The Guv told you he was a snake. Snakes bite. You married him it appears on the expectation that through the course of marriage you could change this. Smile sweetly, raise a bunch of healthy kids and perhaps your hope was that all such concerns would simply vanish. It sounds like you projected your feelings about fidelity onto him once the marriage was underway. He probably snuck around in part to spare your feelings. Granted it was a stupid thing for him to do, but no more stupid, in fact a lot less stupid than you were for marrying him. His behavior after marriage was not decent, but at least he was decent up front about it before tying the knot.

I haven’t read what you plan to do with the profits from the book, but here’s hoping that you at least donate the money to a good charity. Here’s a spouse abuse shelter I can recommend that desperately needs your money. I’ve given them quite a handful this year as the D.C. government greatly reduced their contributions due to the recession. Perhaps this would be a way to atone for your serious lack of judgment thirty some years ago.

If you ever decide to remarry, I hope this time that you will have the good sense not to marry the dude without making sure he first agrees to a sexually and emotionally exclusive marriage with you and you alone.