Political candidates are nowhere until their ethics are challenged, their morals are questioned, or their character is assassinated. No one can be considered a viable candidate for elected office until they’re targeted for destruction. Judging from this week’s news, Herman Cain has arrived.

A story that began with two women alleging “inappropriate behavior” has grown to include a third woman, female staffers from a conservative talk radio show in Iowa, and hush money from the National Restaurant Association. Yet the details about what occurred, if anything, have thus far been silenced, if they’re known at all. With each “revelation” the Cain saga seems more and more like Clarence Thomas’ confirmation hearings.

If you’ll recall, Anita Hill offered no credible evidence of “inappropriate behavior” on the part of Thomas. It was a case of “she said” so “he did.” The seriousness of the charge trumped the nature of the evidence. But at least we knew the accusations against Thomas, and his accuser. All we know about Cain is that anonymous women once accused him of misconduct, which could mean anything from a passing compliment, to a wink, to a grope.

No claim against Cain has, as yet, become public. But the lack of details hasn’t prevented the media — namely Politico — from running with the story. Funny how the public’s need to know is quickly served whenever scandal descends on a conservative, especially when that conservative’s popularity has been steadily rising.

The media had little interest in Bill Clinton’s sordid and sundry escapades. Juanita Broaddrick was treated like a stalker, Paula Jones was dismissed as trailer trash, and media outlets had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the Lewinsky affair. Reporters and anchors marveled at Clinton’s uncanny aptitude for misrepresentation. The dominant media also ignored John Edwards, at least until the National Enquirer broke Edwards’ sleazy story and it grew too big to cover-up.

Not even the civil rights activists will come to Cain’s defense; he’ll have to exercise his demons alone. If he were a proper black man, one firmly planted on the leftist plantation, he could play the race card. But as a black conservative, Cain isn’t black enough to charge racism. He’s fair game. Assassinating a conservative’s character is always in season, regardless of their race.

I’m not necessarily defending Herman Cain’s innocence or endorsing his candidacy. But he does exhibit some likable qualities. For example, he’s a Washington outsider without political experience. We need another politician with experience in creating trillion dollar deficits and multi-trillion dollar debt like Eliot Spitzer needs a dose of Cialis.

 Everyone has skeletons in their closet. A political candidate’s skeletons are held in reserve until said candidate gains momentum. There’s simply no need to waste time and effort demeaning an also-ran. The fact that Herman Cain is the eye of a media storm means he’s now considered a viable candidate.