Maureen Dowd, Joe Says It Ain’t So: With partisan goggles, we plunge back into the muck
You may want to read the whole thing. Maureen concludes,
In the end, these moments highlight the hypocrisy of both parties. Each case has to stand or fall on its own facts, patterns, corroborations, investigations — not on viewing it only through partisan goggles.
You could ask if hypocrisy in the age of Trump is antiquated. Why should the Democrats hold themselves to some higher standard of conduct when Trump, a serial assaulter of women according to his accusers and own “Access Hollywood” confession, is wallowing in amorality and refusing to release a scrap of paper about personal finances or conduct?But moral relativism is not the answer. Joe Biden is running — or for the moment, sitting — on compassion and decency, the antithesis of Trump. If he throws that away, he’s going along with Trump’s worldview: We live in a corrupt jungle. Everybody’s down here in the muck. So you might as well go with me, because I’m stronger.From the day Trump was elected, it has always been a race between the damage he could do and the day his term was up. Let’s hope that damage doesn’t include the Democrats sinking to his cynical, miserable level.
Ms. Dowd enlarges upon the theme of how Democrats have brought this situation on themselves—viz. Al Franken, viz. Brett Kavanaugh. That’s true, but it provides us no guidance on how to act now.
Like many others, she seems to be of a mind that it’s unwise for progressives just to say, well, Ms. Reade’s accusations are not particularly credible, so let’s just stop our ears and ignore her. I agree. On multiple grounds. Which is, however, not the point of this post.
Like many others, Maureen has not proposed a specific suggestion about how to proceed. That IS the point of this post, and of one of yesterday’s posts as well. Here, I want to review the bidding.
The Timing of the Allegation—and Its Intended Effect
The alleged event took place 27 years ago. Ms. Reade chose to speak out in March, 2020. She could have spoken out any time earlier. Or, she could have waited and spoken out in, say, September,2020—in which event, one might infer that she was trying to promote Trump’s reelection.
But, no. She chose to speak out in March of this year. A strong, almost irrebuttable inference arises that she was trying to persuade Democratic voters, and the Democratic political establishment, to pick Bernie Sanders over Joe Biden.
The Democrats’ Response—a Question of Strategy
The two possible strategies are (1) ignore the allegations, on one purported ground or another, or (2) investigate the allegations. The latter is by far the better strategy. The gist of the response should be along these lines.
Thank you, Ms. Reade, for bringing these matters to our collective attention. We understand that you are trying to influence our nominating process. Your complaints are addressed to us. Fine, we hear you, and we will conduct a proper investigation.
All that said, you need to understand, Ms. Reade, that we are not only going to investigate the accused, we are also going to investigate the accuser. We will not make up lies to smear your name. We will not try to expose any irrelevant peccadillos on your part. But we will examine all the relevant evidence proffered by you and by your corroborators and by anyone else claiming knowledge of these matters.
And we will expect your full and complete cooperation.
And if we do not receive your full and complete cooperation, we will be entitled assume that you are lying.
The Democrats’ Response—a Question of Tactics
Within the next few days, the Democratic National Committee should hire a very large law firm to begin an investigation. One team should begin interviewing witnesses—from both the accuser’s camp and the accused’s camp—and identifying anyone else who might have relevant knowledge. That would include Joe Biden himself. The witnesses should be asked to provide copies of any relevant documents, including, for example, recent emails bearing on the matter.
The witnesses should be interviewed over Zoom or some similar service.
Affidavits should be prepared based on their stories, and they should be asked to sign the affidavits and have them notarized.
A second team should be charged with tracing down the relevant personnel records, whether they are, in the National Archives or somewhere else.
Then, there is the matter of Biden’s senatorial records at the University of Delaware, said to amount to 200 boxes of paper documents and 400 GB of data. My friend CDT would wait until the above matters are accomplished before taking any further steps, including searching this University of Delaware material.
That is one way to proceed, and it might be the right way. Additionally, right or wrong, Joe Biden, who controls this material, might demand that the witness interviews precede any look at the senatorial materials.
Whenever the Delaware material review takes place, it should be done by a small and highly trusted team within the law firm, and the young lawyers should be charged simply with identifying and pulling out any personnel-related documents. They should be threatened with castration if they leak any embarrassing material not related to the investigation.
I believe that reviewing the paper documents for this purpose should take, at most, 100 person hours. As to the 400 GB of electronic data, presumably it is searchable electronically.
An Investigation Sponsored by the DNC Will be Seen as Biased, Won’t It?
The Democratic Party is the intended audience for Ms. Reade’s March, 2020, complaint, so one could not reasonably object if the Democratic Party chooses to investigate.
Of course, one could unreasonably object, and of course some will unreasonably object. But remember that a DNC investigation does not foreclose any other investigation.
If the Republican National Committee wants to conduct its own investigation, the DNC can’t stop it.
If Lindsay Graham wants to haul Tara Reade and Joe Biden before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the DNC can’t stop him.
If the FBI, for whatever reason and with whatever legal authority or lack of same, chooses to investigate, then that is their affair.