I don't mean, "so what difference does harassment make to women who are targets of it?" I've experienced harassment; I know that rejecting sexual advances can hurt your career, although I also believe that laws should not prohibit merely offending people or making them uncomfortable. I do mean, "so what difference should these charges make in the current presidential campaign?" Cain's allegedly puerile workplace behavior does not make him any more unfit for the presidency than his evident ignorance about foreign policy, his contempt for poor people and the unemployed, or his tax code gimmickry and failure to answer critiques of his 9-9-9 gambit with anything more than nonsensical references to apples and oranges. Of course, Cain is not unskilled: he has an obvious knack for marketing and making money and may have been an effective lobbyist for restaurateurs. But it has long been clear that he is utterly unqualified for the presidency, for reasons having nothing to do with an alleged history of harassment.
But while Cain has come under attack for his tax proposals and incoherence on abortion (which has naturally troubled the radical right), his campaign has been most threatened by the harassment story, which is already spawning stories about the story -- analyses of Cain's inept and inconsistent responses to the allegations, anticipations of responses to his responses by the alleged victims, race baiting and references to the Clarence Thomas debacle. This isn't surprising: only a minority of voters understand the tax code well enough to debate it, or know much more about foreign affairs than Herman Cain, while nearly everyone is able, willing, and eager to talk about sex. But it is discouraging and reflects poorly on popular feminism as well as politics.