Rod Dreher

Morality, Media, & Tara Reade

And yet, Ms. Reade told me Wednesday that the only offers she’s had to appear on television have come from Fox News, including a call from the prime time host Sean Hannity. She has so far turned them down.

Smith makes it clear that he thinks that most in the media are guilty of a double standard here. He’s right. Biden finally went on national TV — on Morning Joe — to answer these allegations, in an interview with Mika Brzezinski. Whole thing here:

Biden denies the charge, but said he won’t open up his archives at the University of Delaware for inspection. The reason he was asked is that because Reade was working for Biden at the time of the alleged assault, there might be in the Biden papers a record of her allegation at the time.

Andrew Sullivan has a humdinger of a column laying into Biden for hypocrisy on this matter. Sully focuses on the lead role Biden took as Obama’s vice president in advocating for the administration’s draconian campus policies. Excerpt:

On Friday’s Morning Joe, Biden laid out a simple process for judging him: Listen respectfully to Tara Reade, and then check for facts that prove or disprove her specific claim. The objective truth, Biden argued, is what matters. I agree with him. But this was emphatically not the standard Biden favored when judging men in college. If Biden were a student, under Biden rules, Reade could file a claim of assault, and Biden would have no right to know the specifics, the evidence provided, who was charging him, who was a witness, and no right to question the accuser. Apply the Biden standard for Biden, have woke college administrators decide the issue in private, and he’s toast.

Under Biden, Title IX actually became a force for sex discrimination — as long as it was against men. Emily Yoffe has done extraordinary work exposing the injustices of the Obama-Biden sexual-harassment regime on campus, which have mercifully been pared back since. But she has also highlighted Biden’s own zeal in the cause. He brushed aside most legal defenses against sexual harassment. In a speech at the University of Pittsburgh in 2016, for example, Biden righteously claimed that it was an outrage that any woman claiming sexual assault should have to answer questions like “Were you drinking?” or “What did you say?” “These are questions that angered me then and anger me now.” He went on: “No one, particularly a court of law, has a right to ask any of those questions.”

Particularly a court of law? A court cannot even inquire what a woman said in a disputed sexual encounter? Couldn’t that be extremely relevant to the question of consent? Or ask if she were drinking? It may be extremely salient that she had been drinking — because it could prove rape, if she were incapacitated and unable to consent and sex took place. But Biden’s conviction that young men on campus should be legally handicapped in defending themselves from charges of sexual abuse occluded any sense of basic fairness. In 2013, the Obama administration codified new rules for treating claims on sexual harassment and assault, which, according to the civil liberties group, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, abandoned “objective” or “reasonable person” standard, in order to protect young women from young men.

In 2014, the Obama administration issued another guidance for colleges which expanded what “sexual violence” could include, citing “a range of behaviors that are unwanted by the recipient and include remarks about physical appearance; persistent sexual advances that are undesired by the recipient; unwanted touching; and unwanted oral, anal, or vaginal penetration or attempted penetration.” By that standard, ignoring the Reade allegation entirely, Joe Biden has been practicing “sexual violence” for decades: constantly touching women without their prior consent, ruffling and smelling their hair, making comments about their attractiveness, coming up from behind to touch their back or neck. You can see him do it on tape, on countless occasions. He did not stop in 2014, to abide by the standards he was all too willing to impose on college kids. A vice-president could do these things with impunity; a college sophomore could have his life ruined for an inept remark.

Read it all. It’s quite powerful. Sully ends by saying that he plans to vote for Biden anyway, because Trump is just that bad, and if the comparison is between who has treated women worse, well, there’s no comparison at all. Sully: “But supporting Biden does mean I’ll be voting for a hypocrite who wants to ruin others’ young lives for what he has routinely and with impunity done.”

That’s a knockout line, because it’s true — even if Biden is innocent of Tara Reade’s allegation. Can anybody talk about “morality” in politics with a straight face now? All those #MeToo people who are crawfishing about Biden are as hypocritical as all the Christians who had once been appalled by Bill Clinton, but who forgot all about their principles when it came to Donald Trump.

I agree with Sully: it might be the case that a voter holds his nose and votes for Biden — or votes for Trump — because the alternative is worse. If you are a pro-choice feminist, for example, it really does make more sense to vote for a hypocrite like Biden to protect the Supreme Court. If you are a pro-life Christian, the same logic applies, on the Trump-voting side. Life presents us with tragic choices all the time, when there are no good options, only less bad ones.

But I really don’t want to hear lectures about morality in politics from Biden-positive #MeToo feminists or Trumped-out conservative Christians. Or, heaven knows, from the media.

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