It wasn't a great week in presidential politics for the Party of Tea, the party formerly known as the GOP. The party's failures come at a bad time since the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary are less than two months away and Americans start to focus on the Tea Party candidates.
Four different women have now come forward to accuse the party's front-runner and Tea Party favorite Herman Cain of inappropriate sexual behavior. But the conservatives at last night's debate cheered Cain on. The Tea Party crowd will have even more to cheer about next week when more female victims come forward to confront candidate Cain. After his campaign is over, Cain can make a mint by starring in a reality show in which he is left on an island alone with the angry women who have accused him of harassment. That would be must-see TV.
Polls show that the party that can't shoot straight is already in trouble with female voters, and this scandal will make the situation even worse. Because Cain can't effectively deal with the media, he has been digging his hole deeper and deeper. Dealing with the media is a big part of the president's job and the Hermanator is in over his head. If Cain can't fight a posse of wimpy reporters, how will he ever be able to stand up to tough guys like Vladimir Putin of Russia? Herman Cain will keep on fighting and he will take the POT down with him.
Meanwhile the POT candidate with the best chance of beating the president, former Gov. Mitt Romney, can't overtake the scandal-plagued Cain in the polls. If he can't overtake Cain after the former Godfather's Pizza CEO has been beaten up for over a week, the former Bay State governor is in deep mitt. Tea Party activists run the party lock, stock, and barrel, and they just can't trust Romney. And I don't blame them. If Romney wins the nomination, he will turn on the Tea Party faster than Kim Kardashian dumped Chris Humphries.
Then there's Rick Perry's classic debate performance last night. It was a poor performance, but at least Perry has perfected the deer-in-the-headlights look that former Vice President Dan Quayle made famous. Perry's own spokesman, Ray Sullivan, put it best when he said, "It's a good thing he is wearing his boots because he really stepped in it." It's one thing to forget what's in your opponent's debt reduction plan, but when you can't remember what's in your own platform, it's time to turn out the lights.
On Tuesday, progressives kicked right-wing butt. A bad week for the Tea Party turned into a horrible week after the ballots from Tuesday's election came in. Voters in Ohio nullified John Kasich's attempt to stiff working families by a 2 to 1 margin. An attempt to ban all abortions failed in Mississippi, one of the most conservative states in the union. Mainers killed a right-wing attempt to make it more difficult for people to vote. In Arizona, Russell Pearce, the president of the state senate and the architect of the state's racist anti-Latino law, was thrown out of office by his former constituents.
The progressive victories on Tuesday are a product of many factors. Around Labor Day, President Obama started pushing back against conservative attempts to derail the president's efforts to create new jobs. The Occupy Wall Street protesters have started a national dialogue about the dangers of POT support for federal freebies to bankers and billionaires. Finally, conservatives have pushed their extremist agenda too far and now they have to deal with voter backlash. Ohio is a great example of overreach. An Election Day poll showed that 2 of every 3 Buckeye voters favor collective bargaining for public employees.
If the Party of Tea has many more weeks like this week, conservatives will be in what the first President Bush called "deep doo-doo."