In this line of thinking, Biden is not being sexually aggressive when he rubs women’s shoulders, rubs noses with them, or kisses their hair. He is merely being incompetent, his behavior a relic of an older and supposedly more innocent time when men could touch women without their consent and know that they would face no reprimand.

Again, this is not entirely believable – it paints a picture of Biden as clueless and unthinking that does not align with his other public behavior. But the argument also fails on its own merits. It is unclear, for instance, why Biden has not adjusted to the social mores of this time, or why his persistent ignorance of them is deemed exonerating. If he is not malicious, but merely incompetent, this is hardly a defense, and it is certainly not an argument that this socially incompetent man should be given the most powerful job in the world. The mandate to understand basic social cues, and to adjust to a world in which women’s bodies are no longer available for opportunistic fondling by white men in their vicinity, are basic requirements for much less powerful positions than the presidency.

The argument that Biden’s inappropriate touching of women is somehow innocent also implies that feminists who object to Biden’s brand of touching have set the bar for women’s public dignity too high – especially considering who’s currently in the White House.