We have been discussing the hypocrisy in the response of Democratic politicians, media outlets, and many commentators in their response to the allegations of sexual assault by former Vice President Joe Biden as compared to their position against Justice Brett Kavanaugh. This has included an opposition to simply opening up the Biden papers for a search of any sexual harassment or assault allegations made against him. This has included statements from leading figures that they believe Biden did sexually assault Biden staffer Tara Reade but would still endorse him. None however have gone quite as far as Nation columnist Katha Pollitt who has declared that she would support Biden “if he boiled babies and ate them.” Biden has not issued any position on such infanticide but politicians have long opposed the practice since the demise of Cronus. Putting any humor aside, the statement does show how rigid and fanatical both sides have become in this election. While Democrats have long denounced Trump for saying he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue, Biden supporters like Pollitt have said equally disturbing things about their blind loyalty. More importantly, this sense of a mission is manifested in much of the legal and media analysis that we have discussed on this blog on both sides of the political spectrum.
Pollitt joined others is saying that she simply does not care Biden raped a women in his office: “I would vote for Joe Biden if he boiled babies and ate them. He wasn’t my candidate, but taking back the White House is that important.” While she added that simply does not believe Reade, she stresses that it does not matter: “Whether or not you believe Tara Reade … you should vote for Joe Biden if he is the nominee. … We do not have the luxury of sitting out the election to feel morally pure or send a message about sexual assault and #BelieveWomen. That will not help women at all. Or anyone else.”
I have repeatedly said that I still fear that the record strongly favors Biden. During the Kavanaugh controversy, I maintained that women need to be heard and taken seriously in raising these allegations. I have also objected to those who would toss aside due process and simply accept accusations without investigation. Notably, while most are remaining silent and refusing to respond to media inquiries, some Democrats are now adopting that approach for Biden and, rather than saying that Reade must be believed, they are now saying that she must be heard.
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.
For Pollitt, believing women or standing against sexual assault is now a “luxury.” No doubt the same advocates will once again enjoy that luxury when a Republican is accused.
Yet, during the Kavanaugh hearings, Pollitt lashed out against “some of his defenders [who] seem to be saying that even if the allegations are true, it shouldn’t really matter.” She added “While we are thinking of how much responsibility men should bear for the deeds of their youth, let’s not forget the women who don’t get to put their past behind them—even when they are the victim of rape.”
It appears however that rape allegations “shouldn’t really matter” if the accused is a Democrat and an election is at stake.