It's telling that the question is only asked in the wake of a sex scandal -- and not to verify the honesty of broader claims
During Herman Cain's press conference on sexual harassment allegations, Steve Futterman of CBS News asked, "You are basically now in a he-said, she-said situation. She's saying something, you're saying something, they're both diametrically opposed to each other. As distasteful as it might be, would you be willing to do a lie detector test to prove your honesty in something like this?"
"Yes!" Herman Cain replied. "But I'm not going to do that unless I have a good reason." It's a fascinating exchange. The question is dramatic; the answer unhesitating, yet slyly hedged. And what sort of reason, beyond four women making accusations of misconduct, would do the trick?
That's what I thought as I watched the press conference.
As I reflect on it, however, I have a darker reaction. The more I think about the exchange, the more it seems to me a damning commentary on the absurd prominence sex scandals have in our politics. That isn't to minimize the seriousness of superiors sexually harassing their subordinates, or to indict Futterman, the CBS newsman, for asking a perfectly defensible question.