Barrett: Herman Cain faced with the Clarence Thomas treatment

Clarence Thomas can't leap, two-by-four in hand, to the defense of fellow Georgian Herman Cain. As a sitting Supreme Court justice, Thomas tries to maintain detachment from presidential politics. Plus he's a class act.

But nobody knows better than he what Cain - a man of humble origins not unlike Thomas' - is being put through.

Thomas was abundantly qualified when President George H.W. Bush nominated him to the Supreme Court in 1991.

He had been chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for the better part of a decade. He was a Yale graduate. And he had been a judge on the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals. He was confirmed to multiple previous positions by the Senate, which now held his nomination in its hands.