I'm reminded of an old playground game where everyone tacked the guy with the football; it was called Smear the [word that rhymes with smear that can be used as a homophobic tone]. We've got a political version of it with Herman Cain at the bottom of the media pile-on.
So far, Cain's poll numbers are holding up. A Rasmussen poll done Tuesday, well after the free-for-all started, has Cain up in SC with 33% of the vote. Romney trails with 23 and Newt is a surprisingly solid 15% in third.
The question of who pointed Politico on their merry way is still open, but a former campaign aid to Cain's 2004 Senate run, Curt Anderson, is now a Perry guy and Cain's team is pointing fingers his way. It seems that at least the one case that Cain noted (where he claims innocence and that the case was setted by their HR team) was mentioned to Anderson.
One interesting point of all of Herman's hermits fixin' to come out of hiding is that the flap has taken all the oxygen out of the race for the moment. Perry can't do much to get out from under the Pauldoza line except say "No, it wasn't us." Other folks in the pelaton can't gain traction, either, and half to wait to see if this brings Cain back down to earth.
My hunch; this will either knock Cain out of the race or make him a near-untouchable conservative hero.
One analogy that comes to mind is of Nikki Haley leading into the SC primary last year; her foes tried to come up with an adultery rap (with folks affliated with her foes saying she got it on with them) to get her GOP foes ahead of her. It didn't stick and she made it to governor.
Unless someone comes forward with credible evidence of wrongdoing, this could change, but this smells a bit like SC of 2010, where oppo teams want to head Cain off at the pass. I'm not sure if it is Republican foes or liberals at this point; most likely, if Haley's case is the analogue, it may be folks in the Perry or Romney camp wanting to bring Cain down. Left-of-center folks in the media will be happy to go along, but it might well not be a liberal hatchet job, so blaming the Obama camp might not be proper.
However, it is very ugly, and it is hard for me to keep up with things. I'm used to keeping up with current events, but when they become a cesspool of nasty, it's hard.