Yesterday, we discussed the astonishing tweet from Lisa Bloom that she believes that Joe Biden is a rapist and continues to lie about raping a former staffer, but she still will endorse him for President. Now Linda Hirshman in the New York Times has run an opinion piece entitled “I Believe Tara Reade. I’m Voting for Joe Biden Anyway.” It is a chilling example of how feminist writers are retaining their “women must be believed” position from Kavanaugh and simply declaring that they will support someone they believe to be a rapist. Imagine if a Republican senator said he believed Dr. Ford that Kavanaugh was clearly a rapist but we need a reliable conservative on the Court.
Many Democratic politicians and commentators have struggled with the clearly hypocritical position of declaring Biden innocent while previously insisting that women “must be believed.” The problem is that, if you declare that no one has a right to be simply believed, it requires a full and fair investigation. However, Biden has refused to open up his records to look into any allegations of sexual harassment or sexual abuse by Reade or others. Thus, you can either declare Biden to be innocent without such a review of this papers as has Speaker Nancy Pelosi or you have to call for his records to be reviewed. The alternative is to just accept his guilt as a rapist (thus avoiding the need for an investigation in that and other claims) but say it really doesn’t change anything.
Hirshman declared “Let’s be clear: I believe Tara Reade. I believed Anita Hill, too,” Hirshman added “Democratic primary voters knew all about Mr. Biden’s membership in that boys’ club when there was still time to pick someone else. Alas.”
That “Alas” led to the surprising conclusion: “I’ll take one for the team. I believe Ms. Reade, and I’ll vote for Mr. Biden this fall.”
As with Bloom, it is notable that the nomination still has not occurred, but Bloom and Hirshman are still lining up behind someone who they believe is a rapist and someone who is continuing to lie to the public about his raping a female staff member. That moral flexibility and relativism allows for highly convenient positions but little principle. It is not clear how many women they would have to believe Biden raped to change that calculus. However, since there is no call for a full investigation of all of the Biden papers (including those at the University of Delaware) for any allegations of sexual misconduct by anyone, there is little risk of facing that choice.