Joe Biden Accused of Sexual Assault
Democrats should be concerned.
By Phillip | 5/3/20
I remember watching Brett Kavanaugh’s Senate hearings with my classmates. Kavanaugh’s angry face assailed us from various screens and there was a general tang of tension and angst in the air. What has our nation come to, I thought. Now the tables are turned and Democrats (especially women) have presented a united defense of Joe Biden’s character. Finally, after a month of silence, the media is addressing and investigating Tara Reade’s claim.
Republicans and some Left-leaning media are comparing this moment to the #MeToo movement and the Brett Kavanaugh hearings as an example of Democratic hypocrisy:
In 2018, Joe Biden said “for a woman to come forward in the glaring lights of focus, nationally, you’ve got to start off with the presumption that at least the essence of what she is talking about is real, whether or not she forgets facts, whether or not it’s been made worse or better over time.” Now he says “women have a right to be heard, and the press should investigate claims they make. I will always uphold that principle. But in the end, in every case, the truth is what matters. In this case, the truth is: The claims are false.”
In 2018, Kamala Harris asked Brett Kavanaugh, “Do you agree that it is possible for men to both be friends with some women and treat other women badly?” Now she says that “the Joe Biden I know is somebody who really has fought for women and empowerment of women and for women’s equality and rights.”
“Believe all women” was the rallying cry of the #MeToo movement, a statement so straightforward that it's become obvious that Democrats aren’t following it now. Media members have made the argument that the movement went too far, offering up the rebuttal that women (and people in general) do lie. The reality is that only about 10% of rapes get reported and of those only 5% are false. This means that on average the chance that a false rape claim is filed is .5% or 1/200.
I do agree that the problem with “believe all women” is that different cases have different amounts of credibility, and I am not yet sure if Joe Biden sexually assaulted Tara Reade. Her story has been changing over time, but this is common among victims of sexual assault. From 2018-2020, she has repeatedly praised Vladimir Putin, who has an affinity for interfering in our elections. Friends, neighbors, and family have confirmed that Tara told them about the assault contemporaneously. Ten lawyers who vetted Biden for Obama over two months found no evidence of sexual assault in 2008. A call on the Larry King show in 1993 likely from Tara Reade’s mother asks for advice about problems her daughter had been facing working for a prominent senator.
Tara Reade’s accusation is of a different kind than Biden’s previous allegations of inappropriate touching. Newspapers describe it in graphic and malevolent terms, which are far removed from his original defense as a fatherly figure giving a gentle kiss or a nice shoulder massage. Maybe we should have seen these earlier allegations not as an elder statesman connecting with people with touch, but as subtle warning signs of something more sinister. Although the allegations vary greatly in severity, to argue that Joe Biden has no history of inappropriate behavior is reckless.
Democrats have no easy decisions here. Joe Biden’s entire campaign’s promise was based on decency. In many voters’ books, sexual assault does not qualify as “decent” behavior. We ignored the warning signs last April, and the Democratic establishment went all in on Joe Biden after South Carolina despite a clearly flawed candidate who finished first just once (in one of the most favorable and least demographically representative states in the nation). Now we have to deal with the consequences. For four years, everything has centered around beating Trump. Now we may have to answer the question that Republicans answered resoundingly in 2016: are we willing to sell our soul and moral values for political power?
The media have no easy decisions either. If the allegations turn out to be false and we spend months hammering Joe on them, we’ll be making the same mistake that was one of the reasons why Donald Trump won in 2016. That’s why I want to make it clear that I don’t think this issue has an easy resolution: Democrats' response has been hypocritical but that doesn't mean we should believe all women without considering all the evidence, and parts of Tara Reade’s accusation look extremely credible but other parts don’t.
No statement of denial from Joe Biden will completely absolve him, and although he has addressed the allegations, no representative, donor, or citizen should consider the case to be closed. Democrats have been peer pressuring each other to “Vote Blue No Matter Who” in November based on the premise that anyone is better than Donald Trump, but how far are you willing to take this catch phrase. Will you vote for Joe Biden because he “only” has one sexual assault allegation compared to Donald Trump’s 17? What is your tipping point? I’m still struggling with that myself.
Joe Biden, the best thing for your campaign, the Democratic party, and the country is for you to immediately demand an independent investigation. If you are truly innocent like you claim, then it is in your best interest to prove it quickly.