April 15, 2020

Joe Biden

On Sunday, the New York Times published the article “Examining Tara Reade’s Sexual Assault Allegation Against Joe Biden.” It followed up Monday with an interview in which Dean Baquet, the executive editor, explained why the story was published 19 days after the initial allegation. New York Times

On Tuesday, former President Barack Obama endorsed Joe Biden. This followed Senator Bernie Sanders’s endorsement of Biden on Monday. AP News

Last Thursday, Biden proposed a plan to “[Lower] the Medicare Eligibility Age to 60” and “[Forgive] student debt for low-income and middle class individuals who have attended public colleges and universities.” Medium

See past issues

From the Left

The left is divided about Reade’s allegation and Biden’s plan.

“There have been a number of sneering columns accusing liberal feminists of hypocrisy for not championing Reade as fervently as they did Christine Blasey Ford, who claimed, during Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination fight, that he’d sexually assaulted her when they were both in high school…

“The truth is, if Blasey had been so inconsistent in telling her story, feminists might still have believed her, but they likely wouldn’t have made her a cause célèbre, and Democrats on Capitol Hill never would have invited her to testify publicly. Advocates for victims of sexual harassment and assault would worry that using such an ambiguous case as a political weapon would undermine their cause… It would be easier to know what to do with Tara Reade’s accusation that Joe Biden sexually assaulted her if her tale were more solid, or if it were less.”
Michelle Goldberg, New York Times

“The Times article attempts to address the inevitable calculus voters will have to make in November by providing a thorough accounting of the ‘pattern of behavior’ laid out by the more than 20 women who’ve accused Trump of sexual harassment or assault. Indeed, before they describe Reade’s allegation in any detail, Lerer and Ember write that the allegations against Trump go ‘far beyond the accusations against Mr. Biden.’ It’s not wrong to consider how a sexual assault allegation might affect a political candidate’s chances. But Lerer and Ember chose to forgo any informed political analysis in favor of a simpler comparison: Whose sexual assault allegations are worse?…  

“There’s a reason why Trump brought Bill Clinton’s accusers to a 2016 presidential debate. By reminding voters of another set of sexual abuse allegations, Trump sought to minimize and deflect from his own. There may well be voters who’ll choose their vote for president based on who has drawn a longer list of sexual assault allegations, and they should feel free to compare Biden and Trump by that measure. But journalists should know better than to engage in this obfuscating exercise of relativity.”
Christina Cauterucci, Slate

Regarding Biden’s plan, critics note that “Biden’s response to [the] young people demanding a better health policy is to offer a policy that won’t help any of them for decades. And to understand just how pitifully stingy this ‘concession’ is, remember that dozens of Democratic senators, including plenty of ‘moderates’, have already endorsed lowering the Medicare eligibility age to 55. You can find an op-ed in Forbes (not exactly the Democratic Socialists of America newsletter) suggesting 50 would be a better age… Bill Clinton proposed 55 in 1998, and Hillary Clinton advocated 55 in 2016… [Biden’s plan is] not nothing, but it’s about as close to nothing as a policy can get without literally being nothing, and it shows that Biden isn’t serious about courting the left.”
Nathan Robinson, The Guardian

Others, however, point out that “In state after state, young voters’ enthusiasm for Mr. Sanders failed to translate into cold, hard votes… Fair or not, their inability to deliver on his behalf will not go unnoticed in political circles, and going forward, candidates will be that much more hesitant to pin their chances on this demographic… Sitting this election out for whatever reason would not serve young voters’ interests in the short or long term. They need to show up and be counted like never before, even if only to write in a protest candidate. Once they establish themselves as a reliable force, they won’t again have to beg and bargain with politicians to take them seriously.”
Editorial Board, New York Times

Regarding Sanders’s endorsement, “[endorsement events] typically follow one of two scripts. Either they’re grudging affairs in which the vanquished competitor admits defeat for the good of the party, or they’re obsequious events in which the vanquished competitor angles for a future position or favor. This wasn’t either of those… The closest analogue was what you see in multi-party systems, where one party wins the election and absorbs its nearest competitors into a governing coalition by giving them substantive influence over the agenda and key staffing appointments…

“One concern liberals and leftists have long had with Biden is his instinct for cutting deals means he’ll sell them out to the right to win Republican votes. Maybe so. But what Biden is proving in this campaign is he’s just as willing to cut deals with the left, and his coalitional approach to politics is an opportunity for them to influence him, as well… Rhetorically, Biden has run as Barack Obama’s vice president, harkening back in his service in the last Democratic White House. But Biden’s approach to politics was formed in the Senate, and substantively, that’s the approach that’s come to define his campaign. For all that Biden has talked about governing like Obama, he’s winning very much like himself.”
Ezra Klein, Vox

From the Right

The right is critical of the Times coverage and Biden’s policies.

The right is critical of the Times coverage and Biden’s policies.

“Do you recall the Times searching the Twitter feed of Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford? Or spending weeks digging up dirt that could make her seem a flake, as the Lerer-Ember story does with Reade? Reade is making charges about events in 1993, when she was in her 20s and Biden was 51. Ford’s claims were even older, about events in 1982, when all involved were in high school. Unlike Reade, Ford had no one confirming she’d told the same story at the time — indeed, everyone she cited as a witness said that nothing like the party she described had ever happened…

“Yet the Times (and ideological allies at other publications as well as in politics) played up every allegation against Kavanaugh, pumping up their apparent credibility exactly as it seeks to undermine Reade’s credibility now.”
Editorial Board, New York Post

“The Times attempted to explain its long silence in an interview between executive editor Dean Baquet and media columnist Ben Smith. No coherent excuse was found in this attempt at transparency. Baquet suggests that Kavanaugh was ‘already in a public forum in a large way’ (as if Joe Biden isn’t?) and flip-flops on whether contemporaneous corroboration (which Ford did not produce) is necessary [for] reporting an assault allegation. Worse than that, Baquet appeared to acknowledge that he edited out a reference to other accusations against Biden at the behest of the Biden campaign…

“Tara Reade’s account of Biden’s alleged assault has once again exposed the fact that people tend to put their moral principles on hold when their partisan interests are at stake. If that is true of voters and parties, it is equally true of the New York Times.”
Jonathan S. Tobin, National Review

Regarding Obama’s endorsement, “The voters who still need to be convinced, the far-left Bernie Sanders supporters, will not be convinced by Obama or his charisma. Even the Vermont senator has been unable to sway some of his supporters, including his own press secretary! So, there’s little chance that Obama, whose ideology and policies align with Biden’s, would be more influential…

“Besides, Obama’s past endorsements haven’t been worth much. It’s not that Obama isn’t popular. Quite the opposite, actually. But he’s never been able to generate the same kind of enthusiasm for other Democratic candidates that he's earned for himself. Indeed, one look at his track record suggests his endorsements might have actually hurt these candidates. Throughout his tenure, Democrats lost dozens of congressional seats, control of both congressional chambers, and 10 governorships despite Obama’s attempts to energize his base.”
Kaylee McGhee, Washington Examiner

Regarding Biden’s student debt plan, “The problem it seeks to solve — unaffordable tuition at public universities — is extremely overstated. Free-college supporters argue that tuition at these public institutions — the only colleges covered by Biden’s plan — has risen to unaffordable levels, especially for students from low- and middle-income families. But this claim is usually based on published ‘sticker prices’ at universities rather than the net prices that students actually pay after their financial aid is applied. In other words, free-college advocates measure college affordability before factoring in existing policies meant to make college more affordable… [This] radical new approach to the issue proposed by Biden and Sanders is a solution in search of a problem.”
Jason Delisle, National Review

Finally, “One of Trump's great successes has been in strengthening the U.S. military after a multiyear investment drought under the Obama administration. That drought weakened the U.S. military's readiness and reduced U.S. deterrent power… Biden calls for defense cuts but simultaneously attacks Trump for weakening Western security… if he wants to be both realistic and persuasive, what Biden should be saying is that he'll provide for a military which deters adversary aggression and, if necessary, ends it…

“To deter China and Russia, we need more than ships, satellites, missiles, intelligence networks, bombers, electronic warfare units, jets, Marines, and maneuver-enabled soldiers. We also need vast logistics chains, experienced noncommissioned officers, and capable commanding officers. That costs a lot of money. But it's the price we pay for an international order that favors individual freedom, the rule of law, and free movement and trade…

“Biden should add that even as we should show greater respect to our friends, so also must we ask them to provide greater support for the defense of our common interests. That would be the foundation of a defense policy that makes sense. Biden's current approach isn't credible.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

Get troll-free political news.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.