Biden on "The View": I don't think I treated Anita Hill badly

He’s plenty complimentary of Hill here and he’s careful to say that “I’m sorry for the way she got treated.” But as to his own conduct, “Look at what I said and didn’t say. I don’t think I treated her badly.” It’s weird to me that he’d appear on a show that’s aimed at women, not even a full day removed from the NYT blaring that Hill is unhappy with his refusal to apologize, and … refuse to apologize. This is a friendly audience with a very friendly panel. Joy Behar practically frames the question as a box-checking exercise, inviting Biden just to say he’s sorry and rip the band-aid off so he and they can move past this.

But he won’t do it, knowing full well that progressives were watching this morning to see if he finally would. Why?

If this were a policy dispute, that would be one thing. Biden’s niche in the race is defending centrism from the socialist advance. He can’t go around apologizing to the left for not being as left-wing on everything as Bernie or else centrists will start looking at him funny. But there’s no centrist constituency within the Democratic Party that’s spoiling for a big party brawl over what Biden could and couldn’t have done as Judiciary Committee chair during the Thomas hearings. If you’re looking to show your fans that “he fights!”, in other words, this is odd ground on which to make that stand.

Also odd: Ana Navarro asks him why it took him so long to call Hill and express his “regrets” about the hearing and he seems not to have an answer prepared, even though he was lambasted for that by critics literally yesterday. It reeks of opportunism that he neglected to hash this out with her for decades, until the eve of his third presidential campaign. All Biden could say, though, is that he wanted to give her her space, which sounds like a half-joke about his infamous habit of invading women’s comfort zones. Hill needed her “space” for 28 years? Again, Behar tries to lead him through the answer she wants to hear but he won’t budge. Maybe he figures that, since there’s no way the left will leave him alone about this regardless of what he says, he might as well maintain his innocence. Imagine if he did say, “Yeah, I screwed up. I should have reined in Republican questioning as chairman.” Would progressives receive his contrition by absolving him, or would they turn around and offer it as evidence stipulated into the record by Biden himself that he lacks the judgment to be president?

Trump’s been very successful with a strategy of never, ever admitting wrongdoing or apologizing, not even with the caveat that his intentions were good. Maybe Biden’s taking lessons.

He was also asked this morning, by the way, if he’d pledge to serve only one term as president even though he’d be in his early 80s if he ran for a second term. He declined, which I think was the smart move. A one-term pledge would only underscore his age and turn into him a lame duck before he’s sworn in. He almost certainly wouldn’t run for a second term if elected given how grueling a national campaign would be for an octogenarian, but there’s no reason for him to say that now.