Why Joe Biden Can Do No Wrong

220px-Biden_2013Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on special dispensation given Joe Biden by members of Congress, commentators, and the media.  We previously discussed the muted media response to false legal comments from President Barack Obama and other Obama officialson the Flynn case. The pattern of media avoidance is more glaring with recent Biden controversies. Notably, the column ran when Biden gave his interview on the radio show “The Breakfast Club” that “if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”  This weekend, I was critical of segments on CNN and NBC’s Meet the Press which quoted Biden but cut off the line where he falsely claimed to have received multiple endorsements from the NAACP.  CNN’s John King derisively referred to controversy as something people are “trying to make hay” out of and then played the interview. However, CNN clipped the tape to leave out the next line where Biden declared “The NAACP has endorsed me every time I’ve run. Come on, take a look at my record.” Despite that invitation to look at his record, CNN and other media routinely cut out the false statement and also omitted any discussion of the false claim linked to the NAACP. On a story about Biden’s claim that all black voters must vote for him (or not be truly black), it would seem material that he also falsely claimed endorsements from the leading organization in the African American community.  However, it was routinely omitted from the tape and Biden has not been asked to respond to the rebuttal from the NAACP.  It is precisely the type of crafting of the coverage to confine damage for Biden that is discussed in the column.

Here is the column:

One columnist declared that former Vice President Joe Biden could boil babies and she would still vote for him. Feminist leaders have said they believe Biden raped a Senate staffer but they still endorse him. Good government advocates have opposed any investigation into prior sexual harassment or corruption claims against Biden. It seems politicians and pundits alike have discovered the glory of the “presidential bull.” In this instance, Biden is akin to a papal indulgence that allows writers, members of Congress and journalists to forgive any sin in a holy crusade to retake Washington.

Urban2_aIn the 11th century, Pope Urban II formalized the use of indulgences, which could be purchased to forgive sins. A papal bull of the Crusade accompanied those who fought in the Holy Land and committed atrocities in the name of a higher order. The practice was defended as essentially drawing from the “treasury of merit” created by Jesus Christ, the saints and the faithful.

Now the 2020 election has become the ultimate crusade, and President Trump’s critics seem to be enjoying indulgences in tossing aside moral and ethical considerations. The freedom that is Biden is nowhere more evident than in a recent column by The Nation’s Katha Pollitt, who wrote about the allegations of sexual assault made by former Biden staffer Tara Reade. Pollitt dispensed with any struggle over feminist or moral qualms, declaring, “I would vote for Joe Biden if he boiled babies and ate them.”

As Pollitt explained, “We do not have the luxury of sitting out the election to feel morally pure or send a message about sexual assault and #BelieveWomen.” Otherwise, Pollitt would have to deal with her column during the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, in which she denounced “some of his defenders [who] seem to be saying that even if the allegations are true, it shouldn’t really matter.”

For years, critics have expressed disgust at Trump’s statement that “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and wouldn’t lose any voters.” Yet they now afford Biden the same immunity even if he turns into the ancient god Cronus and starts snacking on boiled babies. The same indulgence has been claimed by politicians and commentators in dealing with other Biden allegations of sexual assault. Many of them demanded during the Kavanaugh controversy that all women must simply be believed when alleging sexual harassment. Those who questioned the allegations of Christine Blasey Ford were denounced for insensitivity, if not complicity, in the abuse of women.

Today, some of us have said that Biden has the stronger case thus far, but we still support an investigation. Yet many Kavanaugh critics quickly declared Biden to be innocent and opposed any search of his records — including those under lock and key at the University of Delaware — for any allegations of sexual abuse.

220px-nancy_pelosiHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) simply cut off questions by testily declaring, “I don’t need a lecture” when confronted with her prior statements. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) declared she sees no need for an investigation because she knows Biden and believes him, adding that she resented being asked about it as a victim of sexual assault. She cut off questions from CNN’s Jake Tapper by saying, “And you know what? That’s all I’m going to say about it.”

Others have struggled with an answer until they discovered the presidential bull. Women’s rights attorney Lisa Bloom said she believes Biden did rape a female staffer and has lied about it publicly but she still will endorse him for president. She tweeted, “I believe you, Tara Reade … sorry.” To use Pollitt’s language, defending a rape victim is now a “luxury.” Likewise, Linda Hirshman wrote an opinion piece in The New York Times titled “I Believe Tara Reade. I’m Voting for Joe Biden Anyway.” She explained, “Democratic primary voters knew all about Mr. Biden’s membership in that boys’ club when there was still time to pick someone else. Alas … I’ll take one for the team. I believe Ms. Reade, and I’ll vote for Mr. Biden this fall.”

Then there is commentator Karine Jean Pierre, who declared three years ago that sexual misconduct allegations alone should disqualify candidates from running for office. In December 2017, she told CNN’s Tapper, “I think we’re at a point in time in this country where the ‘Me Too’ movement has really gotten some traction. We’re finally listening to victims … and I think if you’re running for office, you can’t have been accused of sexual harassment or assault.” She just joined Biden’s campaign as a senior adviser this week. The fact is that, without political indulgences, Washington’s thick, sulfuric hypocrisy would choke the life out of the city.

After his work on the atomic bomb, scientist Robert Oppenheimer observed that “the physicists have known sin; and this is a knowledge which they cannot lose.” If commentators have known sin (whether mortal or venial), it is in the abandonment of facts for a true faith. For legal analysts, the cardinal sin is the distortion of the law to fit a cause rather than apply the law to a given case.  Many are still twisting the criminal code to come up with new crimes against Trump, regardless of future implications.

Some have said that Trump’s recent tweet about withholding funds from states over the use of mail-in voting is a crime in the making. Former prosecutor Richard Signorelli described the tweet as “the crime of extortion in plain sight” and the basis for a “new impeachment” — no matter that such an extortion charge would be utterly absurd and directly contradict controlling case law.

In the age of echo chamber journalism, legal experts are now selected according to their willingness to consistently declare that Trump or his associates are committing criminal or impeachable offenses. Any such theory, no matter how unhinged or unsupported, finds easy access to the pages of The Washington Post or segments on CNN or MSNBC. Most recently, allegations of prosecutorial abuse or judicial overreach in the Michael Flynn case have been ridiculed.

Some legal analysts have even encouraged the judge in that case, Emmet Sullivan, to take his own liberties with the law and use his courtroom to deliver a blow against Trump. The Los Angeles Times ran a recent column by former United States Attorney Harry Litman advising Sullivan how to “make trouble” for the administration. Litman admitted there is “very little leeway to reject the government’s decisions to dismiss charges” but encouraged Sullivan to “accomplish what Congress, multiple inspectors general, and a majority of the electorate have not been able to do — hold the president and his allies accountable for their contemptuous disregard for the rule of law.”

The liberating element of a presidential bull is that it relieves the bearer from justifying the means to the ends of a crusade. All sins are forgiven for that higher purpose. The defeat of Trump is that higher purpose: You can expressly support someone you believe to be a rapist. You can distort the criminal code or encourage raw forms of judicial activism. With the presidential bull, Biden will simply declare, “Ego te absolvo” — “I absolve you” — on Jan. 20, 2021, and all will be forgiven and forgotten.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can find his updates online @JonathanTurley.

109 thoughts on “Why Joe Biden Can Do No Wrong”

  1. Can or should attorneys involved in this current investigation being conducted by USA Durham, if not found to be involved criminally, but have lied or pushed something known to not be truthful, at least be disbarred? Aren’t attorneys to be held to a higher standard? I’m talking about FBI agents, past or present, who are attorneys and members of the DOJ.

  2. Song from the past. With one change:

    Well, you Joe decal won’t get you into Heaven anymore.
    It’s already overcrowded from your dirty little white.
    Hey Zuez don’t like killing.
    No matter what the reasons are.
    Your Joe decal won’t get you into Heaven anymore!

  3. Simplistic rubbish. He “ain’t” perfect but the accusations noted here are not verified and they have been all over the media. What silent media are you referring?

  4. They hypocrisy of the #MeToo movement was shown before in the rape of Juanita Broaddrick by Bill Clinton, protected by his wife.

    Most of the famous men who have been abusing women the most in the last few decades have bee Democrats, not Republicans. And Trump’s boasting tape was made in 2005 while he was a Democrat. From wiki:

    Trump registered as a Republican in Manhattan in 1987 and since that time has changed his party affiliation five times. In 1999, Trump changed his party affiliation to the Independence Party of New York. In August 2001, Trump changed his party affiliation to Democratic. In September 2009, Trump changed his party affiliation back to the Republican Party. In December 2011, Trump changed to “no party affiliation” (independent). In April 2012, Trump again returned to the Republican Party.[3]

    Many Democrat men have been able to abuse women with impunity, as long as they support legal abortions.

    Feminists are mostly choosing to be more partisan Democrat, than honest pro-woman anti-abuse Feminists. One of Trump’s strengths is that he pushes his critics to show themselves more honestly.

    I’m very positively impressed by you, Mr. Turley. Thanks.

  5. Who could read beyond the title above?

    Joke Biden has dementia.

    Joke Biden cannot be let out of his cage or, otherwise, left alone.


    “Chuck, stand up, let the people see you…”

    “Stand up for Chuck…”


    “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re voting for me or Trump, then you ain’t black…,”

    Joke Biden’s “…lights are on but nobody’s home.”

    No matter, blacks corruptly vote as a block for Tytler’s “largesse.”

    “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the people discover they can vote themselves largess out of the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the canidate promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that democracy always collapses over a loose fiscal policy–to be followed by a dictatorship.”

    – Alexander Fraser Tytler

    The American Founders established a restricted-vote republic, not a one man, one vote democrazy.

    The idea was to maintain the import of and control over the vote in order to maintain the very restricted-vote republic itself.

    Turnout in 1788 was 11.6% as “original intent.”

  6. I ain’t votin’ for Joe Biden. As Hotsauce Hillary condescendingly drawled to the black community:

    “I don’t feel no ways tired
    I’ve come too far from where I started from
    Nobody told me that the road would be easy
    I don’t believe He brought me this far to leave me”

    Well, I don’t feel no ways tired of Trump!

    So…you want to stop the Democrats and Joe Biden from taking your vote for granted? Stop voting for them!

    Trump will NOT take our votes for granted, we already know Joe Biden does. You want Joe and the Democrats to EARN your vote? Stop voting for them. Teach Joe a lesson in 2020. Vote Trump 2020!

  7. The reason the Republican Party was taken over by Trump is because the Republican Party has no guts, they lost their nerve and as a party they have no moral compass.

      1. He was a registered Republican from 1969 to 1985 and has bounced back and forth between Republican, non-partisan, and Democrat since then. He actually bears very little resemblance to a New York Democrat, Downstate or Upstate.

  8. Lordy, Jonny, what a sycophant for Trump. For every misstep or misstatement by Joe, there are 100 you could point to that Trump made. Yet you barely raise a comment about the clown in the white house. Are you panicking that with Joe in the white house you (deservedly) have no chance at the appointment to the SCOTUS? What a one-sided bigot you have become.

    1. I’ve listened to folks accuse anyone that points out the hypocrisy in the media as being Trump sycophants or apologists. Why? Is it because you folks also notice the blatant manipulation of the media but are okay with it as long as its a manipulation against Trump? That’s a treacherous slope and I fear its too late to try and change course now.

      I cannot support Trump, I find him wholly unfit as a President and just a despicable person but I expected better from the supposedly better educated, more astute press/media. Personally, I don’t need the network CEO’s and talking heads to determine what information I have access to. I don’t need them to curate facts in such a way that they are spun so hard and fast they blur into personal opinions.

      Folks that point out the numerous times that the media has distorted facts, or have left a particular side of an issue only partially exposed, aren’t always Trump supporters some of us are very much concerned that the media has borrowed a page from Trump’s playbook by assuming THEY have the morale authority to make those decisions for us. I don’t like that, it reeks of ‘state’ media.

      I’ve listened to people rant about Trump supporters being feeble-minded because they believe every word that Trump says. His supporters are mocked and ridiculed for being racists and misogynists, and yet, Democrats/Liberals have, by their willful ignorance of Biden’s continued lies/gaffes, denials and spun facts, proved that it isn’t just people that support Trump that can lay claim to being feeble-minded – they’ve proven that their moral compasses are equally questionable. They have publicly sacrificed their beliefs, their values and their integrity because of Trump. I can’t imagine anyone less worthy of that monumental a sacrifice.

      Let’s hope that the next time the media decides they know what’s best for ‘the people’ that its in regards to someone you support; they’ve spent the last four years flexing their ‘political’ muscles fostering skewed information and the public is eating it up – that would be a power and influence ‘trip’ that most of us would find very hard to call an end to.

    2. rw ziegler is probably a fake user name for one of our usual suspects who presumtuously calls turley “jon” and “jonny” probably the nutter “Natch”

    1. They likely were roughly honest 35 years ago. They had a different business model back then.

    1. “JT, why would we be interested in your not very fair and balanced media coverage?”

      You’re opposed to *every* Turley post regardless of the topic. The only questions that need answering are why do you come here?, how many different aliases do you use?, and do you get paid for all the shilling you do?

  9. Oh JT, one reads this article and is like “This makes sense.” But then you realize that the Republicans have been doing this ten fold about Trump for years. Biden is a flawed candidate, but every criticism on him, Trump has done moan times over. You calim media bias on segments on some cable news channels, but Trump has an entire network devoted to him, not to mention all the talk radio shows.

    1. So what you are saying is we don’t deserve an observable difference between the candidates for “we all have sinned” . Hmmmmmm? Which sex offender do I vote for?

  10. Oh, and I forgot to mention that Democrats “shun” and excommunicate people who disagree with them. Like Joe Biden just did with his “you ain’t black” comment, and like fashion magazines have done with Melania Trump. Or like Hollywood has done “black-listing” conservatives.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  11. President Trump is a man of Principle.
    He is steadfast in his beliefs and gets
    Things done.
    We need a strongman in the White House.
    Unless you want to work under Xi Jinping.

  12. Good article! Like I have long been saying, the Democrats have become a faith-based party. They are Democrats for the same reason snake-handling preachers are snake-handling preachers. Democrats have their own “Original Sin”, called “White Privilege”. They have their own “fire and brimstone” apocalyptic ending, called “Global Warming.” They have become violently intemperate like the old Women’s Christian Temperance Union, who busted up saloons with axe-handles. They cannot explain why Open Borders are reasonable anymore than the religious can explain the Trinity. Democrats believe in miracles, and whereas Jesus may have turned water into wine, Democrats believe men and women can turn into each other at a whim. And Missionary Zeal? Oh, they have tons of outreach to the poor helpless minority communities. Not that they go there themselves anymore than the average Christian would have hied away to Darkest Africa, but they are so happy to give others’ money to go minister to them. They even have their own Joan of Arc – some OCD autistic kid from Sweden named Greta the Great! And whereas Christians might blanch at taking the Lord’s Name in vain with a hearty “Goddamm1t!” , Democrats blanch at not calling freaks by their chosen pronouns, being ze, zim, etc., and even using plural pronouns to describe single individuals! Them has come a long way baby!

    Sooo, the article was a very good analogy. The so-called “Thinking Party” has become the “Believing Party.” Whereas the “Goody Two-Shoes” class were once Christians, harping on dancing and drinking, they have become Democrats, constantly harping on racism and homophobia and xenophobia and global warming and how bad Republicans are, and just plain “evils” in general – invading every sphere of life from comic books to movies to the press to libraries with freaky drag queens to awards shows etc. etc. etc.

    The United States has become a Democratic Party Theocracy.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  13. That’s why they demonized trump by saying his followers would love him even if he killed someone. They always accuse others of what they themselves would do.

    1. That’s why they demonized trump by saying his followers would love him even if he killed someone
      Who is the “they” in your comment.
      trump was the one that said his followers would love him even if he killed someone.

      trump said:
      “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters”

  14. The fact that the media is so partisan yet not held accountable for this unprofessional conduct bespeaks the ignorance of at least half of this nation, and willful ignorance it is for sure. Talking about it any further on such sites as this does little alleviate the threat ii is to our constitution and nation. Perhaps we need a more virulent and vociferous means of purging our culture of this stain.

    1. Yep. We need to quit supporting them. Quit seeing SJW-warped super hero movies. Cancel your Disney, and HBO subscriptions. Cancel your NYT and WaPo subscriptions. Quit watching queer-norming TV shows, like the whole CW network. If your library tries to expose kids to freaky drag queens, call them and complain. Quit watching CNN and MSNBC. Turn off the Oscars and the Emmys. Turn off NFL football.

      Above all else, quit voting for any Democrat for any office. Period. After about 10 or 12 years out of power, I think a “new” Democrat party will emerge – one free of Open Borders nonsense and all the identity politics.

      Squeeky Fromm
      Girl Reporter

      1. Done that– Fed up with the propaganda. Cut the cable. Skip most movies. The Hunt turned out to be entertaining in a goofy, low-budget way, though. Liberals decide to hunt conservatives and it goes the way you expect it to go for city dwellers who say they will go into the country and take food ftom farmers if it runs short.

      2. Yes… because only Democrats rush to the trough of ‘celebrity’… no self-respecting Republican would be caught supporting the NFL or watching HBO. Do you even know who the president is? A man that has courted Hollywood for most of his life and admitted that in his dreams that other than being a professional baseball player he wanted to be an actor.


    1. The country can take it fine. If you can’t take it, you’re free to improve the mean level of good citizenship in this country by emigrating.

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