Andrew Sullivan takes a swipe at Biden’s crusader #metoo-ism under the reign of Obama

3 May

Very interesting piece on #metoo’s hypocrises and Biden’s own.

What are the rules? Photo: Michael Brochstein / Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Money quotes with my emphases:

…I tend to believe women on these matters as a starting point. They have to endure all sorts of exposure and embarrassment for coming forward, and their claims should always be treated respectfully, compassionately, and fairly. It’s been a serious gain for civilized life that women are not routinely ignored or universally trashed for protesting against their assaulters and harassers. Some trust for all women is vital.

But just as vital in a liberal society is verification. I believe strongly in due process, especially with grave allegations of sexual assault. Revolutionaries, like those behind the Shitty Media Men list, don’t care if an individual is unfairly accused because, well, in the grand scheme of things, the ends justify the means. In an otherwise admirable attempt to protect women, their respect for liberalism and its frustrating procedures for establishing guilt or innocence was notable by its absence. In fact, it is liberalism that they see as an impediment to their cause, because it is, to them, a mere mask for oppression.

…Biden was especially prominent in the Obama administration’s overhaul of Title IX treatment of claims of sexual discrimination and harassment on campus. You can listen to Biden’s strident speeches and rhetoric on this question and find not a single smidgen of concern with the rights of the accused. Men in college were to be regarded as guilty before being proven innocent, and stripped of basic rights in their self-defense.

In 2014, the Obama administration issued another guidance for colleges which expanded what “sexual violence” could include, citing “a range of behaviors that are unwanted by the recipient and include remarks about physical appearance; persistent sexual advances that are undesired by the recipient; unwanted touching; and unwanted oral, anal, or vaginal penetration or attempted penetration.” By that standard, ignoring the Reade allegation entirely, Joe Biden has been practicing “sexual violence” for decades: constantly touching women without their prior consent, ruffling and smelling their hair, making comments about their attractiveness, coming up from behind to touch their back or neck. You can see him do it on tape, on countless occasions. He did not stop in 2014, to abide by the standards he was all too willing to impose on college kids. A vice-president could do these things with impunity; a college sophomore could have his life ruined for an inept remark.

It seems to me that Biden has a simple choice here. He can either renounce his previous astonishingly broad and illiberal view of “sexual violence” and argue for more nuance and due process so that a case like Reade versus Biden isn’t a slam dunk in advance; or he should follow his own rules and withdraw from the presidential race. He will, of course, do neither.

I’ll vote for him anyway, because Trump. If you’re using sexual assault as a way to judge a candidacy, Trump’s open record of boasting about it, and the long, long list of women he’s abused and assaulted is surely dispositive. But supporting Biden does mean I’ll be voting for a hypocrite who wants to ruin others’ young lives for what he has routinely and with impunity done. I can live with that, I suppose. And it won’t, of course, be the first time. Or, in all likelihood, the last.

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