Damon Linker says that there’s more confirmable substance to Tara Reade’s accusations against Joe Biden than Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations against Brett Kavanaugh — and that’s very bad news for the presumptive Democratic nominee. Linker says that Biden can probably still have the nomination if he wants it, because even if these allegations are true, he’s still going to have the support of the party’s base. But it will be a great gift to Team Trump. Linker writes:
On substance, Trump will have zero moral ground to stand on. But he won’t be taking a stand in the name of treating women with respect. Neither will he be accusing Biden of being a sexual predator. Instead, he and the entire Republican noise machine will constantly, relentlessly hammer Biden, leading Democrats, and the media for flagrant hypocrisy and double standards. The moral content of the issue won’t matter one bit. What will matter is that Biden has set himself up as a moral arbiter on issues of sexual harassment and violence, insisting we must “believe all women,” and that in the fall of 2018 he and many other members of his party sought to destroy the reputation of Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh for allegations of sexual assault that were less convincingly corroborated than those Reade has lodged against Biden.
The Democratic nominee for president and his party are ruthless political operators who seek above all else to destroy their enemies and help themselves, all the while setting themselves up as impartial moral authorities. This will be the message, driven home over and over again: that claims of purity and impartiality are pretense, transparent fakes. Democrats might posture like they’re better than Republicans, including the president, but they aren’t. They’re every bit as bad. They’re just more dishonest about it.
Read the whole thing. Linker mentions Tara Reade’s mother calling Larry King, and he mentions her friend (a self-described “strong Democrat”) going public to say that Tara told her about Biden’s alleged sexual assault at the time. I had heard about those, but until seeing Linker’s column, I had not heard about the 2008 Alexander Cockburn column in the left-wing web journal CounterPunch mentioning Biden’s reputation. Cockburn wrote:
Biden is a notorious flapjaw. His vanity deludes him into believing that every word that drops from his mouth is minted in the golden currency of Pericles. Vanity is the most conspicuous characteristic of US Senators en bloc , nourished by deferential acolytes and often expressed in loutish sexual advances to staffers, interns and the like. On more than one occasion CounterPunch’s editors have listened to vivid accounts by the recipient of just such advances, this staffer of another senator being accosted by Biden in the well of the senate in the week immediately following his first wife’s fatal car accident.
I think Linker has it exactly right. If you have forgotten about how enraged the Right was over the way the Democrats and their media allies treated Brett Kavanaugh, you may be certain that conservatives haven’t. (I wrote about it a lot back then — see here, for example — and I made it clear that I did not know whether or not Kavanaugh assaulted Ford on that night over thirty years ago; what I objected to was the kangaroo court assault on Kavanaugh by tribal ideologues of the Left. This stuff is primal with us conservatives. We saw the way the Democrats and the media treated Kavanaugh, and we saw that they could and would do that to any one of us.
If I were a Republican operative, I would start making the Biden-centered ads now about the #MeToo hypocrites in the Democratic Party. As Linker says, this is not a matter of pointing out that Biden is less of a sexual creep than Trump. That’s not what’s at stake here.
So, let me throw it to the room: if Biden is persuaded to step down before the Democratic convention, who should replace him? Who will replace him?
From a strictly strategic point of view, I think Andrew Cuomo should replace him, and probably will, as long as he chooses Elizabeth Warren as his veep.
If you doubt the potency of this Reade thing as a Republican campaign issue, I invite you to watch this clip of Lindsey Graham’s electrifying Senate committee speech during the Kavanaugh hearing. I remember exactly where I was when I heard it. I bet many of my conservative readers do too.
UPDATE: From the Daily Beast:
Women’s groups and prominent feminist figures have remained almost universally silent over a former staffer’s accusation of sexual misconduct against former Vice President Joe Biden—including those individuals and groups who came to express regret for how the Democratic Party handled similar accusations made against President Bill Clinton in the 1990s.
The collective non-response from mostly Democrat-aligned groups comes as potential female running mates struggle themselves in responding to the Biden allegation, which has the potential to upend his campaign against President Donald Trump, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by dozens of women in alleged incidents spanning decades. And it echoes the division among progressives when the #MeToo movement revived scrutiny of Clinton’s own alleged sexual misconduct.
The Daily Beast contacted 10 top national pro-women organizations for this story, including Emily’s List, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and the National Organization for Women. Most organizations did not respond to a detailed request for comment about the allegation by Tara Reade, a former staff assistant in Biden’s Senate office who has accused the former vice president of forcibly penetrating her with his fingers in the early 1990s. Others replied and did not provide a statement.