Perhaps it isn’t too much to hope that a couple of the lessons that have been imparted by current political events, if they aren’t extirpated by inattention during the public health crisis, will inure to the benefit of American society and its mores after the crisis has subsided.
Tara Reade, a former member of Joe Biden’s staff while he was a prominent U.S. senator, alleges that she was sexually assaulted by Biden in 1993. The anti-Trump media and the militant feminist left had two choices in how to handle this story when it finally surfaced.
They could either follow the example of their frenzied assault on the purported wrong-doer as in the case of Justice Brett Kavanaugh two years ago, when unsubstantiated allegations surfaced about drunken groping 36 years earlier, while he was in secondary school.
Or they could revert to the antediluvian era of Anita Hill and Justice Clarence Thomas in 1991, when instead of signing on automatically to any allegation of male misconduct against a woman, no matter how trivial, how far in the past, and how uncorroborated, some balance could be maintained by some Democrats (including, up to a point, Biden, who was then the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee).
During Thomas’s confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court, he was challenged by Hill, a former staff member, and was accused of having employed lewd language in her presence 10 years earlier, and of having referred to a pubic hair on a soft-drink can.
Biden, as his campaign bumped awkwardly along last year, engaged in the sort of self-criticism the left enjoys and requires, by regretting that he hadn’t sandbagged Thomas (who has served on the high court with distinction these 29 years). He retroactively opted for the regime of denunciation—a woman’s unsubstantiated claim of unsuitable conduct or words at any prior time would disqualify the seeker of a high office.
Arbitrary in its absence of due process as this is, Biden’s submission to the current raging feminist infatuation of the Democrats was, compared with its antecedents on the more robust international left, a relatively civilized variant of a humiliating climbdown.
If present trends continue, the Democrats may yet arrive at something a bit peppier than the sort of insipid apologies that Bill Clinton and Biden have made drearily familiar.
While Clinton apologized profusely when he was acquitted in his impeachment, it was understood he was apologizing not so much for apparently lying to a grand jury about his extramarital sex life, but over the indignity, indiscretion, and affront to women and especially his spousal feminist-in-chief affected by his peccadilloes.
In 1991, after Hill had been induced out of the undergrowth with her dubious and irrelevant recollections, Thomas narrowly prevailed by launching a counterattack on another active front of political affirmation: he called the whole proceeding “a disgrace, a high-tech lynching of an uppity n*****.”
He won the match. (Hill is also African American, but the charges against Thomas, as with those against Kavanaugh—apart from being completely unsupported—had nothing to do with the nominee’s competence to serve as a Supreme Court justice.)
Reade’s claim, which Biden’s campaign strongly denies, is a much more serious accusation against him than the piffle launched against either Thomas or Kavanaugh.
Unlike Kavanaugh’s befuddled and implausible accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, Reade can prove that she worked for Biden at the time of the incident, is inviting official and probing investigative scrutiny of her story, to which she has two witnesses who will confirm she told them of Biden’s assault at the time. Meanwhile, a journalist has found further corroborative accounts from co-workers who confirm that Reade left the employ of the senator at that time.
Reade claims to have filed an official complaint, but none has been located. This is a more serious offense alleged to have been committed while Biden was an influential senator, than the drink-taken approach alleged against Kavanaugh in high school and the minor salacities alleged against Thomas a decade before his court nomination.
Those were mere denunciations, and gained momentum because the left was determined to fight the confirmation of anyone to the Supreme Court whom they don’t consider an enthusiastic abortionist and additionally, in the case of Kavanaugh, a believer in the right of the president to rule in large measure by executive fiat without recourse to the Congress.
The Democrats have hidden behind the preoccupation with the current public health crisis and Biden’s low-energy campaign of Skyped verbal stumbles from his Delaware basement, and have effectively ignored the Reade allegations.
Their nominee has encumbrances enough without this, and the Democrats, despite the customary affectation of legal invulnerability and abiding confidence, are evidently apprehensive about what U.S. Attorney John Durham will conclude in respect of the malodorous origins of the Trump-Russia collusion canard.
But the feminist devotees of a woman’s right to destroy careers by denunciation, the Red Queen Terror, have deserted Reade, a lifelong Democrat.
They leaped with bared teeth and full salivation when one of their own servitors, then-Sen. Al Franken, was the subject of a humorous photograph highlighting the breasts of a talk-show host (Leeann Tweeden) when they were touring together to entertain members of the armed forces, even though the complainant is probably a Republican.
They prevented him from being heard by the Senate Ethics Committee; Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi publicly forced Franken to resign, which he meekly did. This was the extremity of destructive nonsense the country has reached.
People might as well be advised in a postcard from Gloria Allred or Joy Behar that their career and reputation are finished. Drop dead. The double standard in the Reade case is striking; The New York Times, Washington Post, and the rest of far-left Hallelujah choristers have been entirely silent, except for terse and trivial summaries and perfunctory outbursts of self-serving hypocrisy.
It may not be a serious defeat for the militant feminists, but it’s at least a distinct embarrassment, and as the election approaches, the president and his campaign won’t allow this, and other Democratic shortcomings, to go unnoticed.
Conrad Black has been one of Canada’s most prominent financiers for 40 years, and was one of the leading newspaper publishers in the world. He is the author of authoritative biographies of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Richard Nixon, and, most recently “Donald J. Trump: A President Like No Other.”
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.