Via the Free Beacon, this is true. Can’t hang a man over one unproved claim, especially when his alleged behavior even in that case was weird and uncomfortable but perhaps not exactly sexual.
Now, show of hands: Who thinks Lucy Flores’s story is the last one we’ll hear during the primaries of a woman feeling not quite at ease around Joe Biden and his busy hands? It’s nice of Stephanie Carter to go to bat for him and say that she was never uncomfortable with him touching her but surely not everyone caught in an awkward photo with him feels the same. How many unwanted gropes does Biden need to get called out on before he’s in Al Franken territory?
This has the makings of an interesting #MeToo chapter, as there’s both more and less evidence against him than there is in the average example. Less in the sense that no one to my knowledge has accused him of something obviously inappropriate, as Al Franken was in grabbing asses and supposedly tongue-kissing Leeann Tweeden. More in the sense that there’s so much photo and video of Biden touching women at public events that it’s almost impossible to doubt Flores. Would Joe Biden really grab her shoulders, smell her hair, and kiss the back of his head? Well, yes. I don’t know about the kiss but we’ve seen him do the other stuff plenty of times.
What’s the verdict on a public official who’s “handsy” but never clearly lascivious about it (“he is extremely affectionate extremely flirtatious in a completely safe way,” per Mika Brzezinski) and willing to do it in full public view to show that he sees nothing wrong with it? He’ll get a reprimand, for sure. Anything else, like disqualification from his party’s nomination for president?
What if the guy he’d be facing in the general election has been accused of much worse?
It’ll be fascinating to see how his Democratic opponents navigate this subject, particularly if Biden gets a strong bounce after he announces and seems like a prohibitive favorite to win. Obviously they’ll attack early — but if, after a month, the #MeToo talking point against Uncle Joe isn’t denting his numbers, maybe they’ll conclude there’s just not enough obvious prurient intent on Biden’s part to give it traction. Imagine Kirsten Gillibrand, who’s running as the candidate of female empowerment, having to decide whether to go all-in on giving Biden the Al Franken treatment or holding off for reasons of self-interest, expecting there might be a cabinet appointment in it for her eventually from President Biden if she doesn’t make his life too difficult. What does she do about all this?
One thing she might consider when deciding is whether a #MeToo offensive against a politician — any politician — is likely to be successful at this point in time. Warren Henry writes:
If Biden is a version of President Trump, the woke might consider Trump is president in part because he was willing to tough out any number of serious accusations against him and his campaign. Although the woke are empowered by the 24/7 outrage cycle on cable news and digital media, the incredible shrinking news cycle makes outrages more difficult to sustain in the face of a target willing to ignore them.
Just ask the top elected Democrats in Virginia, all of whom were expected to resign in the face of two blackface scandals and a claim of sexual assault. All three remain in office, and the stories seem like ancient history, despite having broken in mid-February. Outside the media—social and otherwise—riding out the storm often works.
Trump survived, the Virginians survived, Kavanaugh survived. Keith Ellison was dogged for months by abuse claims and got elected attorney general of Minnesota. Joe Biden’s not getting DQ’d for shoulder-rubbing — although he might get DQ’d for other sins against wokeness with the shoulder-rubbing thrown into the bill of particulars just to make the case as comprehensive as possible.