There aren’t a ton of synonyms for the word “hypocrisy.” I’ve become aware of this problem ever since I began writing about the Tara Reade–Joe Biden situation. I keep gravitating towards phrases such as “despicable hypocrisy,” or “partisan hypocrisy,” or “unconscionable hypocrisy,” but you can only go to the well so often. Really, though, I’m not sure how else to describe the actions of someone like Senator Dianne Feinstein.
You might recall that it was Feinstein, the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, who withheld Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh from the Senate so that it could not be properly vetted, in a last-ditch effort to sink the nomination.
Feinstein knew that Ford’s credibility was brittle — the alleged victim could not tell us where or when the attack occurred, hadn’t mentioned Kavanugh’s name to anyone for over 30 years, and offered nothing approaching a contemporaneous witness.
At first, Feinstein did not want to provide Ford’s name, or a place or time of the alleged attack, or allow the accused to see any evidence against him, denying him the ability to answer the charges.
Henceforth this brand of justice could be referred to as “The Joe Biden Standard,” since it’s exactly the kind of show trial the presumptive Democratic nominee promises college kids via Title IX rules.
When finally asked about Reade yesterday, Feinstein responded: “And I don’t know this person at all who has made the allegations. She came out of nowhere. Where has she been all these years? He was vice president.”
To put this in perspective, when Ford came forward “out of nowhere,” Feinstein said: “Victims must be able to come forward only when they are ready.”
During the Kavanaugh hearings Feinstein noted that “sharing an experience involving sexual assault — particularly when it involves a politically connected man with influence, authority and power — is extraordinarily difficult.”
Is Biden not a politically connected man with influence, authority, and power? Feinstein is now arguing the opposite: She is saying we should dismiss Reade’s allegations because she failed to come forward against a powerful man earlier.
But to answer Feinstein’s question about what Reade has been “up to” the past 27 years: Well, she’s been telling people that Biden had engaged in sexual misconduct. She relayed her story to her former neighbor, her brother, her former co-worker, and at least two other friends. It is also likely that her mother called Larry King Live asking for advice for her daughter the year of the alleged attack.
Yesterday a document uncovered by local journalists in California — somehow missed by Barack Obama’s crack vetting team — shows Reade’s ex-husband bolstering her claim in 1996 divorce proceedings: “On several occasions [Reade] related a problem that she was having at work regarding sexual harassment, in U.S. Senator Joe Biden’s office.”
The reaction to the divorce papers has been extraordinary. Biden defenders argue that because Reade alleged “sexual harassment” — a catch-all term used in the 1990s when men were getting away with despicable behavior far more often — it proves her story has changed. Biden, through his deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield, alleges that “more and more inconsistencies” come up every day.
Even if Reade didn’t tell everyone everything that allegedly happened every time she mentioned the incident, that doesn’t definitively prove anything. If it did, none of us would have ever heard the name Christine Blasey Ford.
Indeed, at time of Ford’s evolving story, there was a slew of journalists taking deep dives into the unreliability of memory and trauma and complexities of relaying assault allegations. I assume that science hasn’t changed in two years.
Let’s also not forget that, despite Ford’s inconsistencies, Biden still argued that Kavanaugh should be presumed guilty. Why shouldn’t he?
It is also quite amazing to see Biden’s defenders implicitly contending that Reade is only credibly claiming that she was sexually harassed for nearly 30 years, so her story must be politically motivated.
Even if we concede that Reade is a wily Sanders operative or Putin stooge, what political motive could Reade possibly have had back in 1993 — after working for Biden — to smear the senator? What motive did she have to repeat that story to her family before Sanders was a candidate or Putin was running Russia?
By the way, liberals have never argued that political motivations should be disqualifying. Ford came forward, by her own admission, because she did not believe the man who had allegedly assaulted her in high school should be given a seat on highest court in the land. Reade says she doesn’t want a man who allegedly assaulted her — when he was in his 50s — to hold the most powerful office in the world.
Feinstein, of course, isn’t the only one to engage in this kind of transparent double standard. When asked about Reade, the idealist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, said, “I’m not sure. Frankly, this is a messy moment, and I think we need to acknowledge that — that it is not clear-cut.”
Where was all this hand-wringing and caution over the messiness of sexual-assault claims when nearly every Democrat and all their allies in the press were spreading Julie Swetnick’s alleged “gang rape” piece? Nowhere.
AOC, whose position on Biden has evolved, invited Ana Maria Archila, the women who had famously cornered a weak-kneed senator Jeff Flake in an elevator and yelled at him about Kavanaugh, to the 2019 State of the Union address. Archila now says, “I feel very trapped.”
People point out that there are numerous sexual-misconduct allegations leveled at Donald Trump. Indeed. If they haven’t yet, news outlets should scrutinize and investigate the credibility of those allegations, as they did for Biden but not for Kavanaugh. But it’s important to remember that Trump accuser E. Jean Carroll was given immediate and widespread coverage on cable news, while Reade reportedly wasn’t asked to tell her story by any major network — save Fox News — until this week.
Of course, most Biden defenders are being purposely obtuse about the debate — Mona Charen’s recent column is an excellent example. The problem isn’t that Biden is being treated unjustly, or that he should be treated unjustly; it’s that he is being treated justly by the same people who treat others unjustly. Democrats have yet to explain why Biden is afforded every benefit of the doubt but not Kavanaugh, and not millions of college students.
Public figures such as Biden have every right to demand fair hearings and due process. Voters have every right to judge the credibility of both accuser and accused. Many women are victims. Many women are victims who are powerless to prove it. And some women are frauds. You can’t keep demanding that our political system adjudicate similar incidents under two completely different set of rules. It’s untenable.