Whether Biden did what he’s been accused of is unclear. Whether Democratic politicians are gross hypocrites about allegations of sexual assault is not.
The bill for the Kavanaugh fiasco has come due. Truth be told, that’s half the reason Republicans have taken such an interest in the Tara Reade allegation. It’s not just that what she alleges is awful, although it is.
It’s that Biden and his party are now being forced to eat every last bit of the expedient #BelieveAllWomen cynicism they dished out during Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing. Says Brooke Rogers:
Something we’re learning right now is how many people actually had a come-to-Jesus moment about Bill Clinton’s history of sexual misconduct and how many were just willing to acknowledge it because he wasn’t politically useful anymore.
— Brooke Rogers 🌻 (@bkerogers) May 1, 2020
This hasn’t been lost on Reade herself:
“It was really devastating when [Kirsten] Gillibrand and Stacey Abrams and Hillary Clinton, all on the same day, just basically implied my story wasn’t true and they believe Joe Biden. I can’t describe to you what that felt like,” Reade said on Thursday, describing herself as a “lifelong Democrat” and in particular a fan of Abrams’, the former Georgia House minority leader who has been campaigning to serve on the ticket with Biden as his vice presidential nominee.
“I just— I’m stunned,” Reade said. “They didn’t just say, ‘Oh, we’re standing with Joe Biden until we hear more.’ They just discounted me. They marginalized me. They said they didn’t believe me. I can’t tell you,” Reade said, trailing off. “I cried for a while because they’re important in my life. They’ve been figures that I looked up to.”
She thought they took this seriously. Little did she know.
This isn’t just about Kavanaugh, though. Andrew Sullivan notes that Biden is guilty as charged according to his own standards, specifically the Star Chamber standards he and Obama set for how claims of sexual assault were to be handled on campus under Title IX. “You can listen to Biden’s strident speeches and rhetoric on this question and find not a single smidgen of concern with the rights of the accused,” Sullivan writes. “Men in college were to be regarded as guilty before being proven innocent, and stripped of basic rights in their self-defense.”
The bill has come due.
Team Trump had better tread lightly, though. Ads like this one are effective because the president and his team are invisible in it. The focus is on Biden and Biden alone. Ranting about the Reade accusation in interviews by White House aides, as Kellyanne Conway did earlier today, is foolish because it inevitably reintroduces Trump into the equation and invites a comparison between what Biden is accused of and what Trump is accused of. (She also insisted that Biden unseal his records as a condition of running for president even though you-know-who continues to fight to keep his tax returns secret.) As a matter of raw politics, the Reade allegation will benefit Trump by deterring Biden from making an issue of alleged sexual misconduct by the president. The more Team Trump flaunts its hypocrisy by targeting Biden over Reade, though, the more Democrats will want to hit back. That’s what’s clever about the ad — it doesn’t go so far as to claim that Biden is actually guilty, merely that he should be judged guilty by his party’s own dumb standards. That’s safer ground.