Anita Hill after phone call with Joe Biden: Apology not accepted

Completely predictable, not only that an apology would issue but that it would be deemed unsatisfactory. Biden had no choice but to seek absolution from her for the Clarence Thomas hearings years ago. As opportunistic as it looks, and is, for him to suddenly ask forgiveness in time for a presidential run during which this will be an obvious problem for him on the left, imagine the criticism from progressives if he hadn’t bothered to apologize at all.

And from Hill’s standpoint, why should she grant that forgiveness? If Biden was genuinely sorry he would have offered his apology years ago. All she’d be doing now by accepting is running interference for a political campaign. Besides, her #MeToo-martyr status has made her a sort of icon for the movement. It’d be foolish to give that up to absolve Biden when there’s no reason to believe he’s even sincere in his remorse.

They each did the rational thing, him checking the box with a personal “sorry” and her dismissing it with a “not good enough.”

Ms. Hill, in an interview Wednesday, said she left the conversation feeling deeply unsatisfied and declined to characterize his words to her as an apology. She said she is not convinced that Mr. Biden truly accepts the harm he caused her and other women who suffered sexual harassment and gender violence.

“I cannot be satisfied by simply saying I’m sorry for what happened to you. I will be satisfied when I know there is real change and real accountability and real purpose,” she said…

“The focus on apology to me is one thing,” she said. “But he needs to give an apology to the other women and to the American public because we know now how deeply disappointed Americans around the country were about what they saw. And not just women. There are women and men now who have just really lost confidence in our government to respond to the problem of gender violence.”

I wonder if she’ll campaign against him. “I was the victim of two men,” she might say, “Clarence Thomas and Joe Biden.” Imagine Uncle Hairsniffer trying to answer that.

The bit about her refusing to describe what he said as an apology is interesting. (Biden’s spokesman claims he expressed his “regret.”) Biden is often accused of engaging in an apology tour on the left for his past sins but he’s been careful in certain cases not to admit actual wrongdoing. When Lucy Flores and other women spoke up last month about him touching them in ways that made them uncomfortable, he made a point of saying that he was sorry for not understanding their discomfort but not sorry for his intentions, which were pure. His public comments about Hill and the Thomas hearing have made a similar distinction — he’s sorry for what she had to endure but in the end, despite presiding over the hearing, there was nothing he could do. “I wish I could have done something,” he’s mused.

Exactly what the left wanted him to do differently at the hearings can be hazy, and may depend on who you ask. Some say that Biden should have called expert witnesses to explain to the committee why victims of sexual misconduct often keep it to themselves for years. Others think Biden gave Republicans like Arlen Specter too free a hand in attacking Hill’s credibility. Others wanted him to call some of Hill’s colleagues at the EEOC to speak to the office culture.

But mainly, I think, this is being viewed through the lens of the GOP blocking Merrick Garland. The bottom line in the Thomas hearings is that Hill handed Biden and the Democratic majority material they could have used to bork the nominee and they whiffed, cowed by Thomas’s famous complaint about a “high-tech lynching for uppity blacks.” It’s unthinkable today that the Judiciary Committee, controlled by one party, would vote to confirm a Supreme Court nominee from the other when there’s something as explosive as sexual-misconduct allegations on the table. (It’s practically unthinkable at this point that one party would vote to confirm a nominee from the other whose record was spotless.) Needless to say, with a Democratic Senate, Brett Kavanaugh would have been finished the moment Christine Blasey Ford spoke up, assuming he hadn’t been voted down already for having the wrong party affiliation. Thomas has been tormenting liberals on the court for nearly 30 years now. Why didn’t Joe stop him when he had the chance, young lefties may be wondering, as if Biden had that power singlehandedly.

Which reminds me: Biden and Hill did manage to find common ground last year when they separately endorsed the idea that a Supreme Court nominee accused of rape should have the burden of persuasion in a hearing. An allegation which would rightly drive someone from polite society if proven true should supposedly be taken as true absent compelling evidence to the contrary because, hey, it’s just a job interview. The two of them deserve each other.

Via the Free Beacon, here’s Biden earlier today promoting his campaign message of making America great again — ah, I mean, “America is coming back like we used to be.” Progressives are not enthused at the idea.