Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Is Cain Able? Herman Cain's Problems With The Truth About Sexual Harassment.

As the 2012 Presidential campaign picks up steam, it is fair to say that the confidence level of most Americans in politicians and our overall political system is at an all-time low. One of the key drivers that undermine our confidence in our political leaders is a belief that most politicians will lie to us and do so frequently and without shame. Yesterday, a behavioral assessment by QVerity experts suggested that Presidential candidate Herman Cain went a long way to confirm our assumptions when he addressed recent allegations that he had sexually harassed two women while he was running the National Restaurant Association.

While the deceptive behavioral clues are numerous in this case, there are a few that are particularly revealing. The first clue that Cain might be dissembling on this issue was his inconsistent statements on the matter. While speaking to the National Press Club, Cain said he was “unaware of any settlement” made as a result of his sexual harassment of two unidentified women. Just hours later, in a Fox TV interview, Cain admitted that he was aware of a settlement and that the settlement involved giving the complainants “maybe three month’s salary, something like that.”

When allegations are levied against someone and the facts are not their ally, so to speak, because all or part of those allegations has merit, the individual targeted by those allegations will often go on the offensive. We saw this happen before our very eyes yesterday when Cain said he was “falsely accused” of sexual harassment and that the allegations are “totally baseless.” The clear message here is that the individuals levying these allegations are lying. Really? Then why does Cain specifically fail to deny that he sexually harassed the two women at the heart of these allegations. It is true that Cain has made what behavioralists term as non-specific denials, such as “I never sexually harassed anyone.” Such denials seem compelling and on the surface appear to adequately cover the allegations in question, however, in reality, such non-specific comments are often a reflection of a psychological reluctance to verbalize the lie in very specific terms. In short the issue is the two women not “anyone.”

Finally, and perhaps most revealing, is an unintended message, identified by QVerity experts, that is tantamount to an acknowledgement by Cain that the allegations levied against him are most likely true. When speaking on Fox, Cain made the following statement “I’ve never sexually harassed anyone and yes, I was falsely accused while I was at the National Restaurant Association. I say falsely because it turned out after the investigation to be baseless. Never have I committed any sort of sexual harassment.”

When Cain says, “I say falsely because it turned out after the investigation to be baseless,” it appears to reflect his underlying knowledge and belief that prior to the investigation those allegations had plenty of merit. His statement is the equivalent of a person being asked directly if they had robbed a bank and responding by saying “I’m innocent, because the jury says I’m innocent.”

While we know that the truthful person has no problem making the direct denial - “I didn’t rob the bank,” Cain’s failure to directly deny sexually harassing the two women, coupled with his unintended revelation that prior to the investigation the allegations had merit are behaviorally damning.

Perhaps the real moral of this story is that, when given the chance, Cain has done nothing to either bolster our confidence and instead has miserably failed to dispel our assumptions that our politicians are willing to lie frequently and without shame.


  1. I always thought this guy would hit the wall and now it has happened. When you run for Prez you cannot keep skeletons in your closet. Nice analysis.

  2. Another career you want to tear down? What's the matter, do your masters in DC not want a straight shooter as president? People are accused of sexual harassment all the time by people out to make a buck. Do you ever think about the people you hurt?

  3. Great analysis and very interesting, messages within messages. PLEASE keep it coming, we need someone to keep the candidates straight.

  4. @Anonymous: The melodramatic response to this article is merely inflammatory and distracting to those who actually want to gain some insight by reading it.
    Peter isn't tearing anyone's career down. Cain is doing a fine job of that himself. He is merely pointing out the types of deceptive behavior that we should all be aware of when we are deciding who is a worthy candidate for office. If you read the post here then you would clearly be able to see that Cain is blatantly lying about what happened while trying to save face. The point of detection of deception is to educate others about what types of behaviors are red flags. Knowing when someone is lying or withholding the the whole truth allows for voters, and citizens in general, to make an informed decision when it comes to voting for political candidates. Instead of turning this entire situation around on someone who is merely pointing out the facts (and who has the expertise to do so), it is logical to conclude that the QVerity analysis is spot-on (with plenty of evidence) and that Herman Cain is another disappointing example the type of politicians that continue to get elected despite their poor [read: immoral/dishonest] behavior.

    Great article!

  5. These peoples are just try to bring down man because he is success and will make them to account. Women can always say man make sex advance to me and he is then must defend himself and peoples presumed that he is guilty.

  6. I think you have done an excellent job of describing the deeply troubling way Cain has chosen to handle this situation.

    I give Cain some credit for discussing the issue rather than burying his head under the sand as Perry did for roughly a week and a half in response to the questions surrounding the racist name of his family's hunting grounds. However, you're right in describing the way Cain chose to confront the issue as inadequate especially in light of the fact that a reporter revealed on the Rachael Maddow show recently that he began contacting the Cain campaign regarding this story during the summer. Cain has had plenty of time to ponder their response to the facts of this matter yet, as you note, very recently Cain publicly "said he was 'unaware of any settlement".