What is Biden Hidin’? Progressive Reactions to Fingergate

Handsy Joe

Lots of pundits writing about this topic today. Too many to cite.

I’m thinking of progressives generally, of progressive pundits and Democratic pols in particular, and especially of the Democratic women might aspire to the vice-presidential nomination. How have they been reacting? Many, not so well, I am afraid.

Shuck and Jive, Dodge and Weave, Point to Irrelevant Shiny Objects

Pretty much never a good idea, but that’s what some have been doing. Much better just to respond that you are thinking about what response is appropriate.

Nothing to Investigate, Nothing to See Here, Move On

Utterly unconvincing. And, for what it is worth—maybe not much—it leaves you wide open to the cry of “political hypocrisy.”

I Looked into his Baby Blue Eyes and Saw his Soul, and Lo, It was Good

Give me a bloody break. Remember Clinton and all those folks whose eyes he stared into as he swore he never had sex with that woman?

He’s Good on Women’s Issues, So He Can’t Have Committed Sexual Assault

Utterly unconvincing. A few among us are saints. But the rest, which is almost all us, carry around different personas. We can expect ourselves, and we can expect others, to suppress their darker side. We can expect them not to act on their baser instincts. But expectations are not always met.

Ms. Reade Waited Too Long—the Moral Statute of Limitations, So to Speak, Has Expired

Maybe that argument has some force, as between Mr. Biden and Ms. Reade. For the rest of us, the question is what, if anything, her allegations tell us about Biden’s fitness to govern us.

In the Brett Kavanaugh case, progressives argued that his misdeeds in high school and college disqualified him from high office. A lot of the wingnut pushback revolved around the general notion that boys will be boys, and you shouldn’t hold it against them later. Progressives said, oh, yes you should.

The Tara Reade incident took place—if it took place at all—in the year Biden turned 51.

Ms. Reade Waited Too Long—and Therefore She Must be Lying

This is an unsound argument, flies in the face of the MeToo movement, and invites a charge of hypocrisy.

Ms. Reade Has an Obvious Political Motive to Raise Her Allegations Right Now—and Therefore She Must be Lying

Here, we are getting a little warmer. But the specific timing of her allegations and her obvious political motivation are among many factors going to her credibility. They are not dispositive.

Even if He Did it, I Would Vote for Him Anyway, So There’s No Need to Investigate

There is logic to this two part argument. I find the first part overwhelmingly persuasive. As between Biden and Trump, there is no rational reason to pick Trump. Especially after we have all seen how Trump handles a crisis.

And, logically, if the outcome of the investigation would not affect a rational person’s decision, there seems to be no reason to investigate, only to discover useless information.

However, I see two problems with this argument. The first is that it’s likely to strike a lot of folks as too cold-bloodedly logical.

The second objection lies in the fact that is now May 2, and the Democratic nominee will formally be picked on August 19. There is time to investigate, to gather enough information to make people comfortable, or uncomfortable, with going forward with Joe Biden. If they don’t feel comfortable, I am sure that Amy Klobuchar could be persuaded to step into the void.

The best reaction:

Trust Biden, but Investigate

My next post will serve up some thoughts on how this might be done.