Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) says the sexual harassment accusations made against Herman Cain are unfair because of their anonymity. And he speaks from experience.
“In my election, I had an anonymous girl from college — who I still don’t know — make accusations against me,” he tells National Review Online. “I don’t think you should print stuff like that. To libel someone’s character and not put your name on it, I think is inappropriate and shouldn’t be printed.”
Paul adds that fear of sexual harassment suits damages workplace relations.
“There are people now who hesitate to tell a joke to a woman in the workplace, any kind of joke, because it could be interpreted incorrectly,” he says. “I don’t. I’m very cautious.”
UPDATE: Sen. Mike Lee (R., Utah) tells National Review Online that the Cain controversy may encourage Republicans to rally to the candidate’s side.
“With members of Congress and with voters generally, if this turns out to be another racially-motivated attack on an African American conservative that is unfounded, unfair, uncorroborated, and in this instance, based on anonymous sources, I think that’s going to rally people around him, in Congress and elsewhere,” Lee says.
Lee, a former Supreme Court clerk, adds that similarities between Cain’s situation and Anita Hill’s accusations towards Clarence Thomas are relevant.
“There are some parallels here, and to the extent that they played a role in this, it’s very, very offensive, and it’s going to backfire severely,” he predicts.