This Is Not A Gaffe

Say it aint so, Joe. 

The case, as it were, against Joe Biden, we thought, had already been made by disaffected progressives. From awkward gaffes to generational ideology. The Hunter Biden stuff, while embarrassing and awkward, was mostly incoming from the Trump campaign. From his years in the Senate, including key chairmanships and writing the Violence Against Women Act, to his Obama years’ vice presidency, Biden was certifiably qualified and vetted, even if past his prime. He was the Democratic Party’s experienced designatee to take down Trump in November. Defeating America’s incumbent existential threat and global buffoon was everything. Just rally the troops–who outnumber the Trumpsters.

And then Tara Reade happened. For more than a month, her public allegations of sexual misconduct in 1993 have hovered, albatross-like, over the home-bound Biden campaign. Finally Biden responded. “I’m saying unequivocally, it never, never happened.”

This won’t do.

If it never happened, why not unequivocally say so as soon as the charges of it happening go public? Sheer innocence and utter outrage should mandate no less–let alone the strategic imperative (aka PR 101) to respond fully, forcefully and rapidly in the political arena.

Could it be that America’s would-be savior from Trump was working on a spin strategy–or just hoping that an accusation from the ’90s, minus unassailable verification, wouldn’t matter that much when the opponent was a sleazy, certified misogynist with a lengthy track record that includes charges of assault and rape. Now Anita Hill is back in the conversation.

Biden, of course, can’t undo the unconscionable delay in formally denying the Reade accusation. What he can do is everything possible to unseal his 36 Senate years’ records that are archived at the University of Delaware. And it wouldn’t hurt to have his wife Jill speak out in his behalf about the man she knows, loves and respects–without playing the Tammy Wynette, “standing by my man” card. 

Biden can’t risk turning supporters, especially women, into de facto, #MeToo hypocrites or despondent November non-voters. That would be bad for his candidacy–and could be awful for America.

And if–IF–there is credibility to the Reade charge, then shame on Biden. Not just for a shameful incident, but for putting himself out there as the party’s best chance to defeat Trump–knowing a potential game-changer was still lurking. It would be a disservice to the country he has ironically served honorably for more than 40 years.

Say it ain’t so, Joe–and say so convincingly. Especially when your candidacy is founded on the commitment to restore honor and decency to the White House.

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