Joe Biden’s appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Friday was an important first step in the former VP’s quest to get out in front of the most consequential scandal to hit his campaign. I say first step, because he’s going to have to do it several more times. That’s how politics works: either you’re out in front of a story, or you’re being overrun by it.
For my part, I thought Biden did a fairly good job. He did the three things he had to do. He issued an unequivocal denial; he did not attack nor demean his accuser, instead reiterating that all women have a right to be heard, and most importantly, he asked the secretary of the Senate to search through the archives to determine whether there were any complaints registered by Reade against him.
Mission accomplished? Maybe. I still think he should’ve made a similar request of the University of Delaware to search his personal files. I understand his concern that those files may contain sensitive correspondence with various heads of state that could be used against him by Trump during the campaign, but, seriously, at this point in his political career, is there anything the world doesn’t already know about Biden? Besides, as I’ve said repeatedly, this election will not be about the issues, it’ll be about temperament.
As for how all this plays out in the electorate, I suspect there will be three camps: those who believe Biden did nothing wrong; those who believe he did what Reade said he did but will vote for him anyway; and those who believe he is the scum of the earth and will never vote for him. The only good thing about the last group is that I doubt many of them were Biden voters in the first place.
What keeps me up nights is the thought that there could be another woman out there who might come forward and accuse him of the same thing Reade did. Professionals who deal with this sort of abuse say that when there’s one there’s usually more. Like Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby, the first complaint sets the stage for the others to come forward. If that happens here, it’s game, set and match for Biden. There’s no way he can survive, not even against someone like Trump. The DNC will have to step in and nominate someone else for the good of the Party.
But regardless of what happens over the next few weeks, I don’t want to hear a peep out of the peanut gallery, better known as Trumpworld. Whatever Biden may or may not have done, the last people on God’s green earth who should be commenting on this are Trump’s supporters. With Biden, you have a he said / she said situation that may never resolve itself. With Trump, it’s a he said / he said again situation.
It wasn’t Biden who on tape bragged about grabbing women’s pussies; it wasn’t Biden who while on the Howard Stern show admitted he went backstage at one of his beauty pageants to look over the contestants while they were naked; it wasn’t Biden who once commented that he thought his daughter was hot; and it wasn’t Biden who paid a porn star $130,000 to keep quiet about an affair he had with her while his current wife was pregnant with his son. Those distinctions belong to Donald J. Trump alone. And on the matter of sexual assault, while there is currently one allegation against Biden, there are more than twenty against Trump. By comparison, Bill Clinton looks like Pope Francis.
Look, I understand that when it comes to sexual assault, even one is too many. And I am certainly not excusing Biden’s past, and rather bizarre, behavior toward women. As I wrote in an earlier piece, his handsy approach was unacceptable and it would’ve been unacceptable 40 years ago. My point is that while Biden has been accused of wrongdoing, Trump is on record as bragging about it. One has to take that into consideration when evaluating both men. Those who refer to Biden as the lesser of two evils, should probably consult the dictionary for the meaning of the word evil.
Maybe that’s the reason Trump, when asked about Reade’s allegation, said that Biden should fight it, and that he too has been “falsely accused” in the past. It’s his way of evening the playing field and dragging Biden down to his level. And the Trump campaign, seizing on the opportunity, is running attack ads against him. The perfect one-two punch. Trump sets the table and his operatives clear it.
I’ve seen this movie before and it didn’t end well. If Joe Biden is to survive this, he’s going to have to be far more proactive than he is used to being. Contrary to a previous piece I wrote last month, he’s going to have to take the bull by the horns and go on the offensive against Trump. Yes it’s risky, but there’s too much at stake for him to sit back and wait till the fall. The Reade story, fair or not, has given the main-stream media something else to talk about besides the pandemic. That means Captain Queeg’s malpractice won’t be the only breaking news on CNN or the front pages of the New York Times and The Washington Post.