April 28, 2020

Biden’s Assault Allegations and VP Choice

On Monday, Business Insider reported that “[Tara] Reade's former neighbor Lynda LaCasse, a Biden supporter, tells Insider that Reade told her about the alleged assault in detail in 1995 or 1996… A former colleague of Reade's also told Insider that Reade talked in the mid-1990s of being sexually harassed by her former boss in Washington, DC.” Business Insider

Last Friday, The Intercept reported that Reade’s mother called “Larry King Live” in 1993 and stated, “My daughter has just left [Washington], after working for a prominent senator, and could not get through with her problems at all, and the only thing she could have done was go to the press, and she chose not to do it out of respect for him.” The Intercept

Meanwhile, “Biden said he plans to announce the members of a selection committee who will help choose his running mate by May 1.” The Hill

See our previous coverage of Joe Biden here. The Flip Side

See past issues

From the Left

The left is demanding a response from Biden and the Democratic party regarding the allegations, and is enthusiastic about several VP candidates.

“Remember these words from Biden himself following his sweeping victories in the March 10 primaries: ‘This election is the one that has character on the ballot. The character of the candidates, the character of the nation is on the ballot… We need presidential leadership that's honest, trusted, truthful and steady. If I'm given the honor of becoming your president, I promise you I'll strive to give the nation that leadership every day.’ Biden should heed those words. Because with them he wasn't promising to live up to the standards set by Trump but rather to reach far beyond those standards…

“Given both his pledge to do better than Trump -- in every aspect of being president -- and accusations of improper touching that have surfaced in the past, the allegations by Reade are not the sort of thing Biden can or should be allowed to deny via a senior female campaign staffer. Reade's allegation needs to be directly addressed by the candidate himself.”
Chris Cillizza, CNN

“The effective strategy of #MeToo is to create a new social norm around sexual misconduct. Since the criminal justice system has so obviously failed to stem the abuse, social sanction can take up the slack. Exposing and punishing powerful people who exploit their position to harass and assault others might make other elites think twice. This progress will be grossly undermined if Democrats choose to look past Biden's allegations for political reasons… What's more, this story gives Donald Trump a huge weapon in the general election — either to dismiss the even more numerous accusations against himself, or to attack Biden as the real predator, or both. It was criminally irresponsible of Biden's primary opponents not to attack him vigorously on this issue.”
Ryan Cooper, The Week

Regarding the potential VP nominee, “As an activist, attorney and formidable political leader, [Stacey Abrams] has proven time and time again her ability to break barriers for others… But Abrams also brings something to politics that is often lacking — creative approaches to complex challenges… When an estimated 800,000 people of color were not registered to vote in Georgia, she founded an organization, the New Georgia Project, that claims it has now registered more than 400,000 voters… [She also built] an 18-state voter protection network, Fair Fight 2020, that is wholly unprecedented in Democratic politics…

“She has created a national organization, Fair Count, to target hard-to-count voters in the 2020 Census… And on top of an ever-expanding portfolio of service, Abrams launched a 12-state policy initiative, the Southern Economic Advancement Project, that is helping bring progressive policy and implementation strategies to the South… My confidence in Abrams is not a dig on any other potential pick for vice president, but a recognition that leadership and experience can be gained in more than one way — and that the proof is not just a glossy cover letter, but the tangible results of hard work in communities across the country.”
Benjamin Jealous, CNN

Others argue that “A running mate for Biden like Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer or Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who have practical economic expertise, would add significant value to the national Democratic ticket… Gov. Whitmer can tout her hands-on experience dealing with the day to day realities of the pandemic… a recent Fox News Poll in Michigan indicated that voters there approve of her handling of the coronavirus crisis by a wide margin… She is young (48 years old), the chief executive of a battleground state and a target of Donald Trump's twitter tantrums…

[Senator Warren’s] progressive credibility would be a way for the Democratic standard bearer to extend an olive branch to the Sanders supporters who have not followed the Vermont senator into the Biden camp. Her presidential run also means she has been vetted by the media, so there should not be any shocking surprises during the fall campaign.”
Brad Bannon, The Hill

Others still posit that “While history suggests that blandness to the point of invisibility is not a political asset (does anyone remember Tim Kaine?), the virtues of surprise in the veepstakes are also overrated… When Joe Biden makes his choice, my guess is that he will go with competence and compatibility rather than a flair for the dramatic. So with a deep awareness of the ease of being wrong, I’m guessing that Amy Klobuchar will join Joe Biden with their arms raised high in triumph, six feet apart, at the virtual Democratic convention.”
Walter Shapiro, The New Republic

From the Right

The right accuses Biden’s defenders of hypocrisy, arguing that the allegations against Biden are credible, and is critical of Stacey Abrams.

The right accuses Biden’s defenders of hypocrisy, arguing that the allegations against Biden are credible, and is critical of Stacey Abrams.

“Reade’s allegations have frequently been compared to those against Judge Kavanaugh by Christine Blasey Ford, including by Reade herself. In light of this new development there can no longer be any doubt that the comparison is unfair to Reade. There are now five people who say they knew something about this story decades ago, two of whom heard the exact details Reade revealed in a podcast last month. Dr. Ford never had any corroboration approaching this… All of the excuses about Reade changing her story have to be put away now that we know her story has been consistent with what she is now saying since 1995. That means Biden is finally going to have to answer these allegations himself.”
John Sexton, Hot Air

“Two years ago, when Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was accused of teenage sexual misconduct, the press focused breathlessly on the charges… For some writers, the mere fact that Kavanaugh had been accused was sufficient to tank his nomination, given the ‘cloud’ that it would allegedly create around his tenure. For others, the vehemence of his denial was an indication of his guilt and unsuitability. Yet more took the view that there was no need to presume innocence at all, because Kavanaugh was engaged not in a criminal trial but in a ‘job interview.’...

“Given that the evidence is stronger in this case than it was in Kavanaugh’s… we must ask why the same rules are not being applied in this instance. Joe Biden is hoping to be president of the United States. Might not a ‘cloud’ follow him around, too?... Is a presidential election not a ‘job interview,’ too? And if, as was the case in 2018, the venue of the alleged assault tells us a great deal about the likelihood of its veracity, might we expect to read a slate of pieces outlining what it was like to be a female intern in the Senate in the early 1990s?”
The Editors, National Review

“Right now, Reade's allegation is unproven in the court of public opinion. But it is now credible, meaning that witnesses and evidence have illustrated a consistent and plausible thread backing Reade's allegation… Does this all rise to the preponderance of the evidence? Not quite… But if further investigation finds evidence of the complaint submitted to Biden's office or if any other witness or office worker were to break from the official party line, it could easily become more likely than not that Biden actually did assault Reade.”
Tiana Lowe, Washington Examiner

Regarding the potential VP nominee, some posit that Biden “will choose a black woman as his running mate… Democrats are particularly sensitive this time around because in 2016 Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid saw a decrease in black voters for the Democrat nominee for the first time in twenty years. Remember that during the 2016 presidential race, Hillary had Senator Cory Booker on her shortlist of running mates. He made the argument at the time that as the only black person on her list, he’d be the one to pick because he could garner enthusiasm from black voters. Hillary, a status quo candidate, chose Tim Kaine instead and we all know how it turned out… in 2020, Democrats don’t want to make that mistake again.”
Karen Townsend, Hot Air

Others note that “It's rare to see someone so publicly sell themselves for the job, but Abrams's desperation for national relevance is her driving force. Her 2018 loss to Brian Kemp in the gubernatorial race remains a thorn in her side. Her unwillingness to accept that defeat, and penchant for identity politics, define her political existence. They're also what would make her a terrible, unqualified choice for Biden's running mate

“Her years in the Georgia House of Representatives might work as a stepping stone to the very next political rung, but not serving as second-in-line to the most powerful position of leadership in the entire world. Just as bad is her focus on gender and race. Her feeling of entitlement to the vice presidency just because she's a black woman should annoy individuals on both sides of the aisle, especially the Democrats who are more qualified regardless of their gender or race.”
Kimberly Ross, Washington Examiner

“The bottom line for Biden: make sure you consider how well your choice will do against Pence. On that criterion, the candidates who likely will do well include Harris and Warren. Harris scored the only points against Biden when she attacked him in one of the early Democratic debates… Warren destroyed billionaire Mike Bloomberg in the first debate where he appeared – and arguably paved the way for Biden’s candidacy.”
Arnon Mishkin, Fox News

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