A nation run by eight-and-a-half-year-old boys


Last night, in what Rachel called the worst analogy enactment in TV history, we attempted to render one of Herman Cain’s defenses against the multiple allegations of sexual harassment: That thousands of women he has worked with wouldn’t say they saw that kind of behavior from him.

But perhaps the most shocking response from the Cain team has come from his lawyer, who told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that any women considering accusing Mr. Cain should “think twice.” Slate legal editor Dahlia Lithwick told us the chilling effect of that remark is horrifying:

It’s just amazing – you know, that here we are in 2011 and we’re having a conversation that we thought we put behind us decades ago. I think the most striking thing is if you think about the architecture of sexual harassment law in this country, it used to be the case that it was impossible for a woman to come forward and say, “I am the subordinate, someone powerful and important harassed me.” It would ruin her life.

It is amazing that we’ve put into place an entire legal system that encourages her to come forward, that protects her from being called a hooker and a gold digger for coming forward, and yet still she’s a hooker and a gold digger despite this legal architecture.

So it’s really an amazing thing, that having acknowledged that we have a problem, we put into place a legal system that’s supposed to protect women. Now, when women come forward, men are still the victims. They’re more the victims than ever before. And women are subjected to the exact kind of completely hideous, insulting, sexist, stereotyping that used to happen 50 years ago before we even talked about this.

Dahlia asked if it didn’t sometimes seem “like the entire country is run by eight-and-a-half-year-old boys?” It might explain Herman Cain and the Pokemon thing, but that one’s for you.

(Adding: H/t Talking Points Memo)