KC Johnson caught it right away.
While others (like me) were still reading and processing the new Title IX regs, the Washington Post was already up and running with the story and, to its credit, sought comment from presumptive Democratic presidential nominee and target of Tara Reade’s accusations, Joe Biden. And “his campaign did not reply.”
Curious, given both the fact that it was widely anticipated that the new Title IX regs would be released and that a fellow of presidential timber would be sufficiently capable of preparing his comments to them, even if it was limited to the need to review and consider them before commenting. Then again, given Biden’s miraculous pivot in favor of due process when he addressed his own situation, there was some hope that he might have come to the realization that college men, just like Democratic presidential nominees, deserve a chance to meaingfully challenge their accusers.
Nope. Joe says it ain’t so.
The old Joe came back in The Hill, promising that, if elected, he will reverse the new Title IX regs.
In a statement, Biden said the new rule was an effort by the Trump administration to “shame and silence” survivors of sexual assault.
“It’s wrong,” Biden said. “And, it will be put to a quick end in January 2021, because as president, I’ll be right where I always have been throughout my career – on the side of survivors, who deserve to have their voices heard, their claims taken seriously and investigated, and their rights upheld.”
See what he did there? The words “and investigated” got tossed into his salad, the non sequitur notwithstanding.
Biden said the DeVos rule “gives colleges a green light to ignore sexual violence” on campuses and would “strip survivors of their rights.”
“It lets colleges off the hook for protecting students, by permitting them to choose to investigate only more extreme acts of violence and harassment and requiring them to investigate in a way that dissuades survivors from coming forward,” Biden said.
If this seems somewhat confusing, contradictory, hyperbolic and flagrantly hypocritical, Biden isn’t done yet.
“Survivors deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and when they step forward they should be heard, not silenced. Today, Betsy DeVos and Donald Trump published a rule that flies in the face of that belief and guarantees that college campuses will be less safe for our nation’s young people,” he added.
It appears that Biden’s comment is not only bizarrely nonsensical in light of his own “credible and convincing” denials of guilt. as characterized by his now-supporter and former rival, Elizabeth Warren, but devoid of any substance whatsoever.
There was a distant hope that Biden’s experience of being accused, together with his inability to do anything more than deny it happened, would inform his views that mindlessly believing accusers, (“…but investigate”?) was not an adequate substitute for due process. Apparently, the calculus was that Biden will do better to conclusively prove himself to be a hypocrite than to not pander to the feelings of his most hysterical female supporters.
And it might very well be the right political call.
Perpetuating the “survivor” delusion, even in the face of his demanding exactly the opposite for himself mere days ago, seems to be calculated to appeal to his unduly passionate Democatic base. And as Sandy Knauer suggests, he can rape as much as he wants and still suffer no electoral consequences.
To the extent anyone hoped that the alternative to one candidate for whom neither integrity nor sexual misconduct mattered a whit would be someone not full of shit, the message is clear. Joe Biden has staked out his position, and the due process he and his supporters would demand for him does not extend as far as your sons, brothers, spouses or fathers.
Much as it’s unclear what impact the new Title IX regs will have on campus, what they did make clear is that Joe Biden’s concern for due process ends at Joe Biden, and beyond that he’s right back to the insipid Believe the Women and burn any guys who aren’t Joe.