Maybe Joe Biden Is Not Going to Handle This Well
April 2, 2019 12:43 PM   Subscribe

Joe Biden seems to have a problem with how he interacts with women. And judging by how he's reacting to some relatively tame accusations, it's only going to get worse. When accounts like Flores’ and Lappos’ come out, Team Biden is going to rhetorically acknowledge that women have the right to discuss their experiences—but they’re not going admit to any wrongdoing, and then they’re going to try to undermine the women’s credibility by subtly questioning their memories and motives.

This isn’t necessarily an approach that’s electorally stupid in the short term, given Biden’s popularity with older voters who are more inclined to believe that the #MeToo phenomenon has “gone too far.” But it also seems more likely to alienate other Democrats than an alternative approach of, say, preemptively admitting to having sometimes made some women uncomfortable in a way that now provides the occasion for, you know, learning and growing. The latter approach would particularly make sense given that even progressive women who are generally critical of Biden haven’t been arguing that his treatment of Flores on its own is enough to make him unfit for office. Still, political campaigns (and people in general) don’t always think clearly when they perceive themselves as being under attack—and, historically, “what Joe Biden should say” and “what Joe Biden does say” aren’t always categories that overlap.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis (328 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
 
Learning and growing my ass. He needs to take himself out of the race, not just because of this shit but equally because of his awful record, and also because of this shit. At some point our culture has to finally put its foot down and say STOP. Women are human beings and our leader CANNOT be someone who doesn't fully have that idea being generated from their bone marrow.
posted by bleep at 12:51 PM on April 2 [74 favorites]


Exactly how far did he think the "Diamond Joe washes his Mustang shirtless in the White House driveway" shtick was going to get him? Through the primaries? Into the Presidency? The leftist wing of the Dems is spitting hot fire, there are millions of seriously pissed-off Dem voters in a way we haven't seen in fifty years, women are voting in historical numbers, and he thinks lashing out at accusers is going to make his apparently-serial problems with women go away? Good luck with that, Joe. I look forward to seeing Elizabeth Warren or Kamala Harris roast your bones over an open fire at the first debate.
posted by Mayor West at 12:51 PM on April 2 [55 favorites]


No more Boomers, please.
posted by Glomar response at 12:56 PM on April 2 [128 favorites]


You know if he'd just come out and say: "Yeah I chaired that committee and I could have done something and I didn't, and I was wrong - that was a mistake. I'm sorry, Anita Hill. Here's what I'm doing to try to be different." But for some reason there's a calculated effort to not do that. So no one can really say, "Look, he's changed and he's trying to be an advocate for women." As much as his publicists and spokespeople might want to be able to do that.

This shit has to stop somewhere. Looks like his presidential ambitions are as good a place as any. Fuck em.
posted by allkindsoftime at 12:56 PM on April 2 [55 favorites]


i'm worried about how the dem primary is shaping up.... so much vanity and hubris... and biden is the last candidate i want to see... yuch
posted by growabrain at 12:57 PM on April 2 [2 favorites]


Is there a way to have addressed this that would have satisfied Slate? I doubt it. This is media created and dilutes actual harassment. I’m not even a Biden fan, so I’m not defending him, only that at a certain level being weird isn’t something that’s going to be solved and is part of being human.

Sorry, Biden is old and this is a weird old person thing. I realize that justification has been used for truly horrible things, but this is not one of them.
posted by geoff. at 12:58 PM on April 2 [6 favorites]


As somebody who watched the godawful Anita Hill hearings, had the fucking I Believe Anita Hill badge, and knew him for a creep then, none of this comes as a surprise. My first impression of Joe Biden was correct.
posted by skybluepink at 12:58 PM on April 2 [26 favorites]


Is there a way to have addressed this that would have satisfied Slate? I doubt it.

Biden should take responsibility, apologize, and take himself out of the race.
posted by fiercecupcake at 1:00 PM on April 2 [52 favorites]


I have not failed to vote for a Democratic president since JFK. But if in 2020 it comes down to a choice between Trump and Biden I will be passing.
posted by notreally at 1:00 PM on April 2 [6 favorites]


But if in 2020 it comes down to a choice between Trump and Biden I will be passing.

Don't do that.
posted by Liquidwolf at 1:01 PM on April 2 [280 favorites]


No kidding. How do you think we got Trump in the first place?
posted by fiercecupcake at 1:04 PM on April 2 [94 favorites]


But if in 2020 it comes down to a choice between Trump and Biden I will be passing.

Don't do that.


Let's just . . . let's make sure it doesn't come to that, shall we? Put as much pressure on Biden to not enter the race. Put pressure on every other candidate to say that what he has done and has said is not acceptable and that his defenses and "apologies" are not sufficient. We place trust in someone when we elect them. No one is owed trust.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 1:04 PM on April 2 [29 favorites]


> I have not failed to vote for a Democratic president since JFK. But if in 2020 it comes down to a choice between Trump and Biden I will be passing.

No you will not. wash your mouth out with soap.

no, wait, that's too harsh. I can totally relate to someone deciding to vote for no one if the nominees are Biden and Trump. However, if that's the strategy you're taking, you better be active in an armed hard-left revolutionary organization.

It's fine to step away from electoral methods... if and only if you're at the same time diligently working to smash bourgeois electoral democracy and replace it with a workers' democracy.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 1:05 PM on April 2 [74 favorites]


However, if that's the strategy you're taking, you better be active in an armed hard-left revolutionary organization.

Yes. We're not kidding here. You can pick your means, but you better pick a side.
posted by howfar at 1:07 PM on April 2 [37 favorites]


There is plenty of ad-ready video evidence of Biden being shitty about PoC as well him being creepy and handsy with women (and girls, ffs) on C-SPAN alone, let alone whatever else might be out there. He shows essentially no real remorse or misgivings or even attempts apologizing in a serious fashion. We already have a President that does that, we don't need another.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:07 PM on April 2 [19 favorites]


I dont think there's any chance the DNC would let him be the nominee. Their bad decision lost the election last time. I think they finally get that.
posted by Liquidwolf at 1:08 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


Biden being accused of being Handsy McGee is totally unsurprising. Hasn’t anyone else been watching his public interactions for the last 30+ years? He isn’t a close talker — he’s a waist/shoulder grabber, back rubber, and ear whisperer. He just does not respect personal space.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 1:08 PM on April 2 [9 favorites]


Women are not squeeze toys for men who have a nervous compulsion to be "handsy." We are people.

Biden doesn't seem to get this, even though it is incredibly simple to just say "ok I'll stop acting that way, I was cluless and I'm sorry." Incredibly simple. So fuck him.
posted by emjaybee at 1:08 PM on April 2 [69 favorites]


Liquidwolf: I dont think there's any chance the DNC would let him be the nominee. Their bad decision lost the election last time. I think they finally get that.

DNC: Hold my beer.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 1:10 PM on April 2 [74 favorites]


This reminds me of that time GWB came up behind Angela Merkel and gave her a surprise shoulder massage, to her clear horror. Not sexual, but completely inappropriate. Biden clearly has a broken sense of boundaries, and I'd guess that because of his position of power he's never been adequately called on it. And I'd also guess that his friends and family chalk it up to ol' Joe being Joe.

I'm not sure non-sexual, weird old guy stuff like this enough to disqualify for me (I'm not a Biden guy anyway). But the failure to adequately acknowledge and apologize may be. I understand the immediate defensiveness, but man why is it so hard for people - anyone - to just say "damn, I really didn't realize I was coming off that way. I wholeheartedly apologize and will be more mindful of myself in the future".
posted by schoolgirl report at 1:10 PM on April 2 [23 favorites]


I should probably add that I would not support armed revolutionary struggle except to the extent that any genuinely revolutionary act, for example a general strike, would need to be prepared for paramilitary attacks by the state. Thank you.
posted by howfar at 1:11 PM on April 2 [9 favorites]


I don't have anything to say from a political punditry perspective, just a personal one: This is so familiar to me. It isn't sexual and I wouldn't even describe it as creepy per se, but yes, men (mostly, but not all, older) who see me and my body as just one more thing in the world of things around them to be pushed around, pawed, touched, and manipulated at will. It's definitely a thing.

And I'm so tired of electing people who see women that way, even if they're on my "side." I truly do not think it's possible for someone with this mindset to be an effective advocate for women. No, he's not Trump. Of course I'll vote for him if he's the nominee. I've voted for enough of them, had plenty of practice in making myself small for the greater good. But Christ, in the field we've got now, there's absolutely no reason to support him.
posted by sunset in snow country at 1:13 PM on April 2 [92 favorites]


I dont think there's any chance the DNC would let him be the nominee. Their bad decision lost the election last time. I think they finally get that.

I hope you are right.
posted by notreally at 1:14 PM on April 2 [2 favorites]


Glomar response: "No more Boomers, please."

He's even too old to be a boomer. He and Sanders are in the Silent Generation cohort.
posted by octothorpe at 1:14 PM on April 2 [19 favorites]


Sorry, Biden is old and this is a weird old person thing.

No, it's not. I've known and worked with many weird old people and light groping and hair smelling were not typical. I've known some weird old people who were creepers, and it wasn't because they were weird and old, it was because they were creepers.

~~
I worry that the harassment is being used in mainstream as a lever against Biden rather than a thing in itself, and that means that if it fails to leverage him out, it will be a blow to #MeToo. I guess I'd contrast this with Franken, where an awful lot of people didn't want to lever Franken out but admitted that he had to go. I feel as though people are afraid to open the can of worms that is his record on just about everything - student debt, war, Anita Hill, etc etc etc because that will open different types of rifts in the party. And I also feel like there's a lot of very cynical defense of his actions from centrist Democrats.

Note that I'm not saying "the harassment isn't important" - I think it alone is a reason for him to step down. But I also think that there's a cynical conversation going on between people who don't actually care about women, and I'm worried that this is going to create a backlash.

I do not like him, I wish he would not run and I think a Biden presidency (assuming he could win) would be just a slower death than a second Trump term.

~~~
When I was seventeen and wore dresses, I received an award from a Famous Conservative Senator, as did some guy from another school. Photos were taken. The photographer had to gently suggest to Famous Conservative Senator that he take a second one with me in which he was not hugging me, since he was not, you know, hugging the other winner.
posted by Frowner at 1:15 PM on April 2 [52 favorites]


He just does not respect personal space.

...of women.
posted by Etrigan at 1:17 PM on April 2 [56 favorites]


As someone who has seen Joe Biden on television interacting with a woman literally ever, none of this shit is in any way surprising.
posted by duffell at 1:18 PM on April 2 [11 favorites]


Creepers gonna creep. I hope we can all agree between Clinton and Trump, we’ve done creeps and can now move on.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:18 PM on April 2 [12 favorites]


This is media created and dilutes actual harassment.

Please don't do the thing where you rank harassment and pit women's experiences against each other.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 1:19 PM on April 2 [84 favorites]


I'm not sure non-sexual, weird old guy stuff like this enough to disqualify for me

Rape is not about sex, it's about power. It doesn't have to be "sexual" in a way we recognize to be on the spectrum of "women are just objects for me to use for my gratification."

The fact that he doesn't know that this is too far in this Year of Our Lord 2019, in a party that claims to see women as equals, after having it explained to him MULTIPLE TIMES, is enough to disqualify him.

I've had to block some FB folks on this today because I am tired of trying to explain to them why any woman shouldn't be happy to let Old Unca Joe paw at us if that means we protect our other rights. Never mind that we have at least three highly qualified women candidates who would do the same but without the creep baggage.

I'm so angry ya'll, of these old shitty men and their old shitty ways. Fuck them all, make them sit down, let women have space without having to put up with them anymore.
posted by emjaybee at 1:19 PM on April 2 [53 favorites]


Anita Hill. Anita Hill. Anita Hill.

Everything old, is new again.
posted by Dashy at 1:20 PM on April 2 [17 favorites]


Biden is at the absolute bottom of my list. I would prefer literally any of the other people who have announced that they are running for the Democratic nomination. That said, should he win the nomination, I will plaster a smile on my face and go out and work my ass off to get him elected. I will do that for literally any of the Democrats who win.

But I really, really, don't want him to win. He's the worst possible candidate the Democrats could field. It'd turn the 2020 race into a contest between two old, conservative, sexist, racist, homophobic, white guys. That is not a way for the Democrats to win, and if we did it'd be a hollow victory.

Joe Biden has been opposed to pretty much every social advance that has happened in his lifetime, he's been dragged along unwillingly, and to his credit has has retroactively embraced (most) of the social advances. But he's not now and never will be the person dragging our nation forward, he's one who has to be dragged.

In a time when we have to contrast ourselves with Donald John Trump, serial sexual predator and profound misogynist, nominating someone who has thier own ugly history of sexual predatory behavior and misogyny will rob us of our ability to effectively call out Trump's behavior. Every criticism of Trump will be met with the question "what about Biden?" and it will be a fair and pertinent question.

I desperately hope that Biden's strong early polling numbers are due to name recognition, not any actual broad support for him.
posted by sotonohito at 1:21 PM on April 2 [45 favorites]


There is a spectrum on which different people are going to disagree about personal touching/affection, and ideas of normal personal boundaries have changed over time. But I really can’t think of a workplace I’ve ever been in in which it would seem normal for a high-ranking member of the company to approach a lower ranking woman he didn’t know personally from behind, grab her shoulders or head, and kiss her hair or rub her nose with his own. That is downright bizarre. It’s not a “weird old person thing”—ask any woman who’s had to deal with a touchy-feely boss.

Does this mean Biden should be sent to the gallows, or that he’s worse than Trump, or no better than a rapist, or a monster, etc? No. Does it mean it’s inappropriate for him to be physically affectionate with women he knows personally and who welcome that from him? No! That doesn’t mean he’s done nothing wrong. Nor does it mean we can’t have a public discussion about personal touching and what’s appropriate in the workplace.

It’s a frightening time to be evaluating potential nominees because it does feel like every time we expose a flaw, we could be publicly marking a weak spot for the eventual battle with Trump. But trying to nervously sheepdog the public (not to mention the press) away from having any discussions of the candidates’ flaws both prolongs the inevitable (because Trump and the GOP will just bring it up in the general) and sends harmful messages to the larger culture about who gets to decide what’s ok. “No one is perfect” shouldn’t mean “anything goes,” or that we can’t even talk about problematic issues. And trying to draw the line at “better or worse than Trump” just turns into a race to the bottom.
posted by sallybrown at 1:21 PM on April 2 [17 favorites]


Joe Biden would be 78 on Inauguration Day and 82 when he finished his first term. He held a federally-elected office for 44 consecutive years, and was largely moderate (at best if you consider his record in 2019 terms). He voted for the Defense of Marriage Act and the invasion of Iraq post 9/11. As everyone has pointed out above, he was chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and presided over the Anita Hill testimony. How he gets away with this notion that he's a progressive hero is baffling.
posted by AgentRocket at 1:24 PM on April 2 [49 favorites]


I'm a little confused what Biden thinks/thought he was doing in the race to begin with. Does he really think there's a niche of voters who would go for him, but who wouldn't go for one of the other candidates? Because that's a fairly important (not the only, but a) question that needs to be asked of candidates at this point: what votes are they going to bring to the electoral table that another candidate wouldn't?

If the Venn diagram circle that describes the voters who'd go for a particular candidate is completely circumscribed by the circle describing the voters who'd go for another candidate, then the 'inner' candidate should just get out of the fucking way, already. And Biden definitely looks like a candidate whose circle is totally inside the circles of other candidates.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:24 PM on April 2 [6 favorites]


How he gets away with this notion that he's a progressive hero is baffling.

He's an affable (to some) white dude, and left-leaning whites are desperate for a white dude to support so they don't have to vote for a woman or person of color. That's basically it.
posted by tocts at 1:26 PM on April 2 [38 favorites]


There’s this related phenomena online about all these well placed, professional class Defend Biden At All Cost people And they just seem really surreal, from denying it took place to saying hey Delaware is a friendly state! To straight up accusing the women of being secret Sanders moles? Or that this was a forgein plot to remove the ONE MAN WHO CAN DEFEAT TRUMP. - Like it very quickly started to verge into MSNBC QANON - I wanted to figure out what the hell was driving this , at least with Walken you could say he had a good track record even if he was completely replaceable . Biden is like the ultimate placeholder, and that when it hit me, that’s why.

These people pushing suoer hard on this, these well educated, think tank/staffer/consultant journalist types, they would be very well served by a mainstream , DCCC presidency. Biden is the physical manifestation of the Establishment Democrats and his admin, more then anyone else’s, would mean high ranking and cozy positions, places of interest, sources, etc for these people.

They don’t want justice, they want a better job.

The other, more cultural trend pushing it is I think the people who understandably but rather dangerously just want everything to be Normal Again. They don’t like what’s on TV anymore and anything that derails the trip back to the Before Time when everything was Normal is bad. Biden would be Normal, back when they had good feelings about government again. And I say dangerous cause I think it is, it’s a retreat into fantasy and nostgalia, back to a world of no politics, where you pretend everything was going fine. And it’s dangerous because it’s never going to be Normal again and it’s dangerous because we’re on an environmental deadline, actual, real sweeping change has to happen and soon or we’ve signed our death warrant.
posted by The Whelk at 1:29 PM on April 2 [54 favorites]


If the Venn diagram circle that describes the voters who'd go for a particular candidate is completely circumscribed by the circle describing the voters who'd go for another candidate, then the 'inner' candidate should just get out of the fucking way, already.

What it comes down to fundamentally is that people like Biden (and, IMHO, Sanders) buy into their own hype too much. I basically detest anyone who seriously ever thinks of themselves: only I can save the Republic. That shit is basically a hair's breadth away from Trump-style "I alone can fix [imagined problem that's really a front for racist ideology]", and frankly we don't need it.

For a large number of candidates, Biden chief among them, the most selfless thing they could do for their country is get the fuck away from this race. Unfortunately, that would require ceasing to believe in their own exceptional nature, which they cannot abide.
posted by tocts at 1:29 PM on April 2 [27 favorites]


How many hundreds of thousands of women were killed by the Iraq War, for which he voted?
posted by lalochezia at 1:31 PM on April 2 [14 favorites]


Anyway I’m only voting for the seventeen year olds controlling Mike Gavel’s twitter account. Prepare yourself for the dictatorship of the Teen!
posted by The Whelk at 1:32 PM on April 2 [18 favorites]


For a large number of candidates, Biden chief among them, the most selfless thing they could do for their country is get the fuck away from this race, but that would require ceasing to believe in their own exceptional nature, which they cannot abide.

One of the few things I’ve admired about Michael Bloomberg is he didn’t lose the ability to consider himself and his mass appeal and go “nope, I don’t have a shot here.” Or perhaps he continues to employ people willing to tell him the truth.
posted by sallybrown at 1:33 PM on April 2 [11 favorites]


non-sexual, weird old guy stuff like this

It doesn't have to be sexual to be an invasion of personal space and wholly inappropriate. But even if it's non-sexual in the sense that, I dunno, there's no erect penis involved, for example (that's not the only definition of sexual, but it's a... salient one?) it's still gendered. In your head, does this platonic, ur-weird old guy do this kind of stuff to men?
posted by Made of Star Stuff at 1:34 PM on April 2 [26 favorites]


What it comes down to fundamentally is that people like Biden (and, IMHO, Sanders) buy into their own hype too much. I basically detest anyone who seriously ever thinks of themselves: only I can save the Republic. That shit is basically a hair's breadth away from Trump-style "I alone can fix [imagined problem that's really a front for racist ideology]", and frankly we don't need it.

I hate this attitude too. To be fair to Sanders though, he did unionize his campaign, and he has been making a very clear and consistent attempt to shift his campaign's rhetorical focus off of himself and onto the grassroots, e.g. "It's not about me, it's about us", and telling people at his rallies not to cheer his name. I haven't seen anything like that from Biden, and I don't expect to.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 1:38 PM on April 2 [6 favorites]


How many hundreds of thousands of women were killed by the Iraq War, for which he voted?

One of the most frustrating things about contemporary feminist/liberal discourse in America is that if Biden gets cancelled (and I hope he does), it will be for the individual actions described in the original post and throughout the above comments, instead of, as you mentioned, the hundreds of thousands (likely millions, at this point) of women killed because of the war he voted for.
posted by Ouverture at 1:39 PM on April 2 [17 favorites]


As I was thinking when I saw someone go up a ramp to an airplane with TP on his shoe:

Where are his handlers/advisors?

Where were the people who SHOULD have told Ol' Joe "This is not a winning issue. This is a negative you will be hard pressed to overcome." Where were the people who should have told him this will be a tarnish on your repuataion to take to your grave that more people will see?

When there are clip-shows of Joe interacting with under 18 females which are questionable that came out when he was making a choice not to run in 2016 - why were those not a factor for making his announcement this time?
posted by rough ashlar at 1:39 PM on April 2 [5 favorites]


This talk of who should run is interesting and reminds me of this FPP about asking cis, white, straight men to step back in order to give space to candidates from other demographics. It's from May 2016, and is certainly interesting to read through the lens of the current field of Dem primary candidates, which was almost impossible to imagine even that recently. If I remember correctly, at that time a lot of the discussion was about what happens if cis white straight men were the only viable progressive options, because people from other demographics weren't stepping up to run. But now they are, in droves. And here we have old-guard white men like Biden stepping in and sucking all the air out of the room. There was a perception even as recently as two years ago that our side really, desperately NEEDED the Bidens of the world, and with women and POC stepping up and running for office, it's getting harder and harder to pretend that that's the case.
posted by sunset in snow country at 1:39 PM on April 2 [24 favorites]


Joe Biden seems to have a problem with how he interacts with women

This ain't news at all.

Also: Bernie seems to have a problem with how he interacts with women.

This is a common pattern of behaviour.
posted by JamesBay at 1:39 PM on April 2 [25 favorites]


One of the few things I’ve admired about Michael Bloomberg is he didn’t lose the ability to consider himself and his mass appeal and go “nope, I don’t have a shot here.” Or perhaps he continues to employ people willing to tell him the truth.

Yeah about that .... “Between the lines: These people tell me that Bloomberg, 77, who announced March 5 that he wouldn't run, might reconsider if a centrist lane were to open up. The most likely scenario for that would be if Biden, 76, whose displays of public affection have burst into a major issue, were to stay out or fade fast.”

posted by The Whelk at 1:40 PM on April 2 [3 favorites]


He's an affable (to some) white dude, and left-leaning whites are desperate for a white dude to support so they don't have to vote for a woman or person of color. That's basically it.

I mean, I don't think these people are "left leaning", and I think it's important not to frame the Democratic party as a left party. I think that the people who actively support Biden (as opposed to just ignoring the actual race and voting on name recognition) are centrists/right Democrats, and they support him specifically because he is a conservative Democrat.

Any non-labor party has a problem because it needs to mobilize the rich and the working class, and the interests of those two groups are often deeply opposed. The GOP does this by appealing to racism and misogyny and by claiming to offer benefits to whites by harming BIPOC (I say "claiming" because a lot of it is utter economic bullshit, like pretending that getting rid of Mexican immigrants will improve the economy). The Democrats have to mobilize the rich and the working class, but because their base is more female and more BIPOC than the Republicans', it's harder to use open racism, and that means they have to throw a few economic sops to working people, women in general and BIPOC in general. But the rich in the party are always working to minimize how many they throw, and that's where Biden comes in. He's the candidate of the conservative wealthy within the party, because he won't change much.

Honestly, we can't have a caretaker president like Biden would be because we have to tackle climate change immediately. Any Democratic candidate who doesn't understand that in their bones is next door to useless. That means big battles and big plans and not being buddies with the banks and the war industry and big donors. The deaths coming down the pike from climate change will dwarf the deaths in Iraq. Admittedly basically none of them - except Sanders, sort of, and Warren, sort of - are really satisfactory on this front, but the lefter they are they easier it will be to push them to act. Trying to push Biden to take on climate change would be like crying in the ocean.
posted by Frowner at 1:43 PM on April 2 [49 favorites]


How many hundreds of thousands of women were killed by the Iraq War, for which he voted?

One of the most frustrating things about contemporary feminist/liberal discourse in America is that if Biden gets cancelled (and I hope he does), it will be for the individual actions described in the original post and throughout the above comments,.


Such a line of thinking was brought up WRT the 2016 nominee with the deaths and sharp downturn in conditions in Libya.

It got no traction to speak of with the same kiind of people who feel one has to say "Thank you for your service" and will be handwaved away as some variation of whataboutism.

Being a mindful citizen of the world isn't even popular with the climate change crowd. Sorry.
posted by rough ashlar at 1:47 PM on April 2 [3 favorites]


Admittedly basically none of them - except Sanders, sort of, and Warren, sort of - are really satisfactory on this front

well, climate change is Jay Inslee's signature issue, but I'm not sure that really argues against your point.
posted by gusottertrout at 1:47 PM on April 2 [7 favorites]


Such a line of thinking was brought up WRT the 2016 nominee with the deaths and sharp downturn in conditions in Libya.

It got no traction to speak of with the same kiind of people who feel one has to say "Thank you for your service" and will be handwaved away as some variation of whataboutism.

Being a mindful citizen of the world isn't even popular with the climate change crowd. Sorry.

Yep, we live in a bizarre and depressing world where the only way the third world can get justice is hoping that all these war criminals get canceled for being sexually inappropriate (or having done blackface in college).
posted by Ouverture at 1:49 PM on April 2 [15 favorites]


"Team Biden is going to rhetorically acknowledge that women have the right to discuss their experiences—but they’re not going admit to any wrongdoing, and then they’re going to try to undermine the women’s credibility by subtly questioning their memories and motives."

For a politician of such longevity, this is an astonishing failure to read the room.
posted by Capt. Renault at 1:52 PM on April 2 [4 favorites]


He just does not respect personal space.

...of women.


Or men: That time Biden came in close, put his forehead on mine.

Of course, a straight man being touchy with a (gay) man he does not know well is very different than acting that way with a woman in a similar situation. From that column: "Did I mind? Truth be told, no. ... But I’m not a woman."
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 1:53 PM on April 2 [4 favorites]


I do really look forward to Biden leaving the scene.
posted by aspersioncast at 1:59 PM on April 2 [4 favorites]


Since Biden's hands and mouth are their own exploratory committee, I am quite pleased that this is getting attention NOW, rather than three weeks after Super Tuesday.

If we as a society are going to blow up his Presidential bid -- and we should -- we need to do this now before it ramps up into something substantial.
posted by delfin at 2:00 PM on April 2 [27 favorites]


But if in 2020 it comes down to a choice between Trump and Biden I will be passing.

Hooray! The election season has not begun until people start saying shit like this.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 2:02 PM on April 2 [17 favorites]


How he gets away with this notion that he's a progressive hero is baffling.

The Overton Window has moved to a different wall.

It IS a relative thing.
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:06 PM on April 2 [2 favorites]


ep, we live in a bizarre and depressing world where the only way the third world

The language of 1st/3rd world is tied to the old BS of the cold war.

Lookiing at world economic development indexes for various things the US of A is not #1 or does as well as one might feel it should given the flows of energy/cash/tech/people the nation has access to. Consider dumping the 1st/3rd/2nd world language and pick other metrics/labels. I don't suggest "shitholes" like the present guy in charge uses as a label.

Mr. "I'm a data guy" Yang won't win popularity contests pointing 'em out but perhaps he should with his position on data. The people who will gather that data and present it to the voting public will end up being not the parties runing for the office.

can get justice is hoping that all these war criminals get canceled

Ya can't get Americans to discuss meddling in elections from external States without the handwave "whataboutism".

The closest the rest of the world as individuals has to try for justiice is to track the money and relationships of the people/families involved to the companies which produce products on the world stage, put that data together in a buycott-style app and ask people to then buy/not buy things based on the relationships/flows of money. If reperations should be a thing considered politically acceptible then don't be shocked with such language is adopted when the choice of a companies Board of Directors is used in judgement.
posted by rough ashlar at 2:09 PM on April 2


I feel like this is a culmination of every Parks and Rec mention or Onion headline I saw during the Obama administration.

I wanted jump into every conversation and say "Look, it's not that this isn't funny. But can we all just take a moment to acknowledge the joke works and Biden is likable because he currently holds no power. And the only reason he got the toothless role of Veep is because Obama needed a safe boring antiquated choice to soothe voters who worried he was too black and radical."

And that is exactly the Biden that I think deserves to be in office. I respect that he's an ardent defender of Amtrack, and used it to go home to his kids after his wife died. I respect that he's well known for reaching out to Junior Senators of both parties to get them acquainted with the body.

He is a great figurehead. A nod to continuity. That while we might want the world a better place, that change is only sustainable with enduring institutions. Which is why liberals will always be rolling the boulder uphill, while conservatives can let gravity do most of the work.

But he should not be near any type of decision making or agenda setting. And I am so upset that we weren't all on that same page throughout Biden's tenure at Vice President.
posted by politikitty at 2:11 PM on April 2 [21 favorites]


I dont think there's any chance the DNC would let him be the nominee. Their bad decision lost the election last time. I think they finally get that.

Contrary to what the (go on) Chapo bros would like everyone to believe, the DNC does not just choose candidates. Didn't like that your boy lost the 2016 nomination? Blame the 2+ million primary voters who chose someone else. Don't want Biden be the nominee? Do the work to help get someone else to get the most primary votes.
posted by sideshow at 2:14 PM on April 2 [57 favorites]


I think it’s likely that a big reason for Biden support is basically because he was President Obama adjacent. I have strong feelings of grief and misery about T, and remember President Obama with a fondness that is probably out of proportion to reality and certainly rubs off on stuff tangentially associated with him. I’m sure Biden’s image was significantly rehabilitated by being next to President Obama for 8 years.
posted by lazaruslong at 2:20 PM on April 2 [7 favorites]


I don't understand the comments that this kind of physical contact isn't sexual. It is sexual. You can tell by the look in their eyes when they're touching you. It's designed to be plausibly deniable, but it's sexual.
posted by medusa at 2:21 PM on April 2 [33 favorites]


politikitty: I wanted jump into every conversation and say "Look, it's not that this isn't funny. But can we all just take a moment to acknowledge the joke works and Biden is likable because he currently holds no power. And the only reason he got the toothless role of Veep is because Obama needed a safe boring antiquated choice to soothe voters who worried he was too black and radical." And that is exactly the Biden that I think deserves to be in office.

Biden for Veep.
posted by clawsoon at 2:21 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


The thing about Biden, is that creeping on women aside, if he had just been out in his driveway working on his Trans Am for the last 30 years, he could maybe, just maybe pull this off. But he wasn't. He's not the innocent Diamond Joe, he's the complicit Biden: on the wrong side of most of recent history and creepy as fuck around women.
posted by ethansr at 2:32 PM on April 2 [5 favorites]




Liquidwolf: "I dont think there's any chance the DNC would let him be the nominee. Their bad decision lost the election last time. I think they finally get that."

Last I checked the primary voters pick the nominee.
posted by octothorpe at 2:42 PM on April 2 [11 favorites]


[Greetings friends. No relitigating the 2016 primary process in here; thanks.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:46 PM on April 2 [12 favorites]


Biden is near the bottom of my list already, but my god, I'm horrified by the number of high profile women and even #MeToo voices I've seen leap to his unqualified defense on this. He never did anything inappropriate to me, he's my friend, this is a political attack, Trump is worse.

Like we've learned nothing. Fucking nothing. #MeToo and #TimesUp except when it's inconvenient and it goes against my personal loyalties. And every "advocate" defending him is implicitly telling anyone else out there who might have an even worse story about Biden to shut the hell up right now because the movement isn't here for you.

Also: this early in the cycle? Ugly, uncomfortable, but still so mild compared to the monsters who've been exposed in recent years? Political attack my ass. This is practically a mercy. He knows goddamn well there are others out there because these involve so much casual violations of boundaries and everything that implies. This is who he's been all his life and it's not gonna go away now.

He could take this as an opportunity to push forward. He could own up to it and apologize and say yes, men are raised with garbage values toward women and garbage for boundaries and we all need to do better, even the good guys need to shed the old trash and do better. Hell, win or lose the primary it might even do some actual good. But instead we've got crickets and surrogates.

I'm disappointed and disgusted, and that goes for way more people than Biden.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 2:57 PM on April 2 [42 favorites]


I think it should be pretty obvious to anyone that a conservative, racist, pedophilic groper is not someone who should be running in a Presidential election, let alone winning one. So the Democratic party absolutely cannot put one up to run against Trump. Biden needs to get dumped.

The defense squad, especially the he/him "this isn't that bad and diminishes real assault" brigade, can seriously fuck right off.
posted by kafziel at 3:04 PM on April 2 [10 favorites]


None of this is new information--the Daily Show covered this (with appropriate horror) back in 2015, pre #metoo.
posted by carrienation at 3:05 PM on April 2 [16 favorites]


A friend of mine met Biden at a fancy charity event and duly posted a picture of herself being squeezed boa-constrictor-like by Biden. In her case, I think the point was to be squeezed boa-constrictor-like as if Biden was a friend of hers. She will not be complaining.

I am not going to replay the last primary: I am replaying the last 20 primaries or so where I had the opportunity to support Biden and did not (it seems like 20). I saw the Clarence Thomas Hearings while I was working for a sexual harasser with whom I was going to have to stay on good terms for the rest of my career if I wanted to advance and so I knew exactly where Anita Hill was coming from and I will never forgive Biden.
posted by acrasis at 3:16 PM on April 2 [23 favorites]


78 is a senior counselor, not a candidate aspiring to 8 years as President of the US.

No Geriatric White Men 2020.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 3:18 PM on April 2 [25 favorites]


Look, like many other women of my generation, I learned internalized misogyny at my mother's knee. So my gut response to all these handsy old men is, "Enh. It's not *that* bad." Because I have been taught, over and over again that women are ornaments and things and men are just being sweet when they do these things.

But then I remember that it's the 21st fucking century and this shit doesn't have to be okay anymore. And then I get mad. Because I've been Joe Biden'd most of my life by men in authority and I did what all those women in that Daily Show cut do. I smile, I indulge, I casually move out of range.

So yeah, fuck Joe Biden. Fuck old men that think women are for touching, and fuck women who can't see that we are worth more than that.
posted by teleri025 at 3:21 PM on April 2 [63 favorites]


There's such a wide variety of inspiring candidates in 2020. There's no reason that we should choose someone who has a problematic history of interactions with women, and especially one that continues, apparently, to just not get that what he's doing is wrong.
posted by No One Ever Does at 3:25 PM on April 2 [8 favorites]


Metafilter: No Geriatric White Men 2020
posted by Caduceus at 3:33 PM on April 2 [7 favorites]


I want whomever is going to be able to beat Trump, and at this point I'm so traumatized and frightened that I just want the party to go with the safest bet. If that is an old white guy, I'm okay with that. If that old white guy is Joe Biden and he's creepy, I'm still okay with that.

And I'm sorry about that but I don't think I'm alone here.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:34 PM on April 2 [15 favorites]


And I'm sorry about that but I don't think I'm alone here.

You definitely aren't. There are better candidates than Biden and hopefully the process works to put them in front. But I'll vote for any of them, warts and all.
posted by Dip Flash at 3:41 PM on April 2 [16 favorites]


yes but also it’s not clear what counts as “safe” and what counts as “risky.” Conventional wisdom is that right-leaning handsy straight old white guys with faulty moral compasses are safe, with everyone else being risky to the extent to which they deviate from that norm. However, we are learning that that conventional wisdom does not actually hold in reality, since only a few upper middle class retirees actually like it when right-leaning handsy old straight white guys with faulty moral compasses run the country.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 3:42 PM on April 2 [20 favorites]


A creepy old backslapper like Biden isn't going to get us out of the mess we're in because it's not clear that he believes we're in a mess other than "the other party won last time".
posted by bleep at 3:44 PM on April 2 [24 favorites]


we are learning that that conventional wisdom does not actually hold in reality

"conventional wisdom" is mostly parroted by journalists who are just as insulated from reality as the politicians they cover.
posted by benzenedream at 3:53 PM on April 2 [10 favorites]


In Biden's response, he's so specific about giving hugs, "comfort and support" and "expressions of affection."Like. What? Like kisses? Rubbing of shoulders? Slow breaths into the back of your hair? How is "expressions of affection" even seen as neutral or benign enough to admit to without apology. I mean, his non-apology shows such ignorance it's laughable.
posted by jj's.mama at 4:06 PM on April 2 [7 favorites]


"conventional wisdom" is mostly parroted by journalists who are just as insulated from reality as the politicians they cover.

The best thing I've done for my social media curation is block any/all comfortable white politibros on Twitter. Goodbye, Chris Cillizza; farewell, Jonathan Chait; vaya con dios, Brian Stelter. And so on.

Let me tell you, my Twitter experience is so much better now. Fewer dumb, glib hot-take tweets; fewer temptations to pay attention to angry RTs; fewer existential crises masquerading as political commentary.

A lot of mainstream political reporters and pundits -- who are used to the people in power looking like them and having the same cultural referents as them -- have not dealt well with 2016 and beyond. They should not be rewarded with your precious time and attention. They don't really want your time and attention anyway; they just want confirmation that they're still in charge of the narrative. You don't have to give it to them.
posted by sobell at 4:09 PM on April 2 [14 favorites]


Yet another reason that Biden should not run is that he repeatedly claimed to have written the core of the PATRIOT Act.
posted by Radiophonic Oddity at 4:17 PM on April 2 [14 favorites]


I grew up with "eskimo kiss" as a synonym for nose rub. This was an assault...made even more so by grabbing Lappos by the head/neck.

Nthing that Biden should fuck off.
posted by brujita at 4:18 PM on April 2 [3 favorites]


There are tons of picture books at your local library that teach kids why these sorts of behaviours are wrong and why you shouldn’t do them if Biden or anyone else is having trouble with the concept.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:19 PM on April 2 [11 favorites]


The DNC has a lot of power in selecting the eventual nominee through the superdelegate system. So party elites absolutely have the power to discourage Biden from announcing or staying in the race too long.

If I had to read tea leaves, I think he's probably getting plenty of advice that he shouldn't run. He hasn't announced yet, so all the best consultants and campaign workers are committing to other candidates.

The fact that he hasn't ruled out running, and even allowed that bonkers "what if my VP was super cool?" balloon to float around, says to me that he's hoping people will get scared enough to go with the boring white guy. He's probably waiting until he has more support from the super-delegates and fundraisers who don't want to damage his ego, but also only want to support him if he is literally the last man standing.
posted by politikitty at 4:21 PM on April 2 [5 favorites]


I'd really like Jill Biden to tell Joe: You know, Joe, women who aren't me don't like these expressions of affection. Sometimes, I don't even like them.

Or even, Barack. Hey, Joe, I think you need to keep your hands to yourself. Hands by your sides at all times... hear me?
posted by jj's.mama at 4:24 PM on April 2 [10 favorites]


I learned not to do this with women when I gave a female friend a hug from behind (not even something I was in the habit of) that she emphatically did not appreciate and told me so. I was mortified!

I still hug people. I hug more women than men, and I'm sure that's not not due to sexism. But I don't hug them from behind and I don't hug strangers or friends' SOs because, come on.
posted by BungaDunga at 4:27 PM on April 2 [2 favorites]


The dems nominated a fairly boring but impeccably-credentialed older white guy with extensive government experience to run against an incumbent R quite recently and his name was John Kerry. Traditional electability only counts for so much.
posted by BungaDunga at 4:33 PM on April 2 [14 favorites]


The DNC has a lot of power in selecting the eventual nominee through the superdelegate system

Superdelegates only get a "deciding" vote if no nominee is selected on the first ballot. (In other words, their vote cannot influence the first ballot at the convention). So they do not have very much power (this was the rule change last year).
posted by thefoxgod at 4:34 PM on April 2 [4 favorites]


I find his behavior disturbing, but I don't find it criminal. I see it as an example of his being blithely out of step with the times and willfully blind of behavioral cues. If people are constantly jerking away when you touch them, take the hint.

But I'm not comfortable either with equating Biden's touching with sexual assault or pedophilia. Frankly, I find those accusations offensive and disturbing as well. I may not have always agreed with Biden, but I did always find him honest and well meaning.

I would probably go out of my way to avoid someone whose conversation, dress, or behavior was regularly inappropriate, but I would go way out of my way to avoid someone who conflates inappropriate behavior with major crimes. I have hugged a stranger or two.
posted by xammerboy at 4:41 PM on April 2 [3 favorites]


But if in 2020 it comes down to a choice between Trump and Biden I will be passing.
posted by notreally


Let's hope "notreally."

Sorry to pile on, though. I know this is a serious issue that is important to you. It's important to me too! Nominating him would show that the Democratic party is even more broken than we think it is. His inability to understand that his touching is creeping people out shows that he's got a real--if, perhaps, selective--lack of empathy. His inability to properly apologize ("sorry if I offended anyone") should be disqualifying. He's hopelessly mired in a patrician mindset. We can and must do better than that. We urgently need to fix the Democratic party and nominating practically anyone other than Biden would be a good start. But a vote for the Democrat is a vote against Trump and we need every one of those we can get.

Additionally, while Hillary was a far better candidate than he would be, her initial "Ready for Hillary" slogan gave away her game: It's my turn. That's no way to conceive a campaign and I can't imagine what other thought process (I mean, assuming he even thinks, in the way we conventionally understand it) would lead him to throw his hat into the ring.
posted by sjswitzer at 4:45 PM on April 2 [5 favorites]


I actually would vote for Biden if it were him v.s. Trump. I’d need a barf bucket near our polling place, ( the couch. We live in a vote by mail state)
I also would need a shot of Something Serious. Frankly I would rather that almost anyone else be the candidate. Anyone but Beto, or Tulsi.. I was a strong supporter of Bernie last time but I feel like we need someone younger. Warren, Inslee and Harris seem strong and have lots going for them.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 5:01 PM on April 2 [8 favorites]


I was in college studying not just political science, but specifically elections in 2004. So I've got feelings about that election that I think have been largely written out of the way we talk about 2004.

I think we forget how shitty a candidate Howard Dean was. He was our one outsider - the only candidate who didn't vote for the Iraq War. And he massively mismanaged money. And once public media gave him the tiniest bit of scrutiny as the front runner, he had a meltdown. He was that guy consumed with the fact that someone in the media was wrong, and he needed to correct them, not campaign.

The rest were safe insiders with name recognition.

And name recognition and a long tenure in national politics are not actually important in presidential campaigns. The race is long. By election day, everyone will know who you are. If you can learn to transition into the public eye quickly, like Clinton, Bush and Obama - you have an amazing step up in the race. Bush, Obama and Trump all campaigned as both centrists and party loyalists. That's something impossible to do when you've had a long tenure in national politics.

(And that's why I'm going long on Buttigieg if we're 100% concerned with electability.)

So they do not have very much power

I'm not sure I buy that. All delegates don't have very much power, because candidates are generally finalized before the convention anyway. So either you have a close race, and the superdelegates are in play. Or you eventually winnow the field, and it's a done deal.

Superdelegates are like Iowa. The results can certainly be overridden if a large amount of the electorate disagrees. But they have an outsized impact in signaling 'electability' and influence the rest of the race.
posted by politikitty at 5:01 PM on April 2 [5 favorites]


But they have an outsized impact in signaling 'electability' and influence the rest of the race.

They may have in the past, it's not clear if they will this time. They seem pretty neutered to me, it's unlikely there won't be a nominee at the convention. Also given the rule change I do not expect delegate tallies to include them, which would be a big change from 2016.

I guess the latter point is the big one. If reporting excludes superdelegates, I doubt they will influence anyone except political junkies. If it includes them, then they will have a potential role in signaling, even if their actual power is basically nil.

(Unless there's actually a contested convention, but that seems unlikely)
posted by thefoxgod at 5:07 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


I dont think there's any chance the DNC would let him be the nominee. Their bad decision lost the election last time. I think they finally get that.

I'm going to leave aside the second sentence as a show of respect for the mods and the work they do. But the first sentence is an absolute misunderstanding of the process.

The DNC is not going to let or not let Biden be the nominee. If he gets a majority of elected delegates, he will be the nominee. Period. If he gets a plurality of elected delegates he will likely though not certainly be the nominee. The idea that the DNC screwed up in... previous cycles... by putting their finger on the scale and so the solution this cycle is to put their finger on the scale just seems weird.

He might be the nominee, he might not be the nominee, but whichever happens it won't be because the DNC made the choice.

But if in 2020 it comes down to a choice between Trump and Biden I will be passing

I have Serious Feelings about this comment and I am thinking them so hard in my head. So hard. Can you see the rage beams emanating from my forehead?
posted by Justinian at 5:10 PM on April 2 [26 favorites]


Does no one remember how Biden plagiarized Kinnock's speeches and adjusted his personal details to match, back in '88 (when that kind of thing was disqualifying)?

but my god, I'm horrified by the number of high profile women and even #MeToo voices I've seen leap to his unqualified defense on this. He never did anything inappropriate to me, he's my friend, this is a political attack,

It is a political attack. The unforgivable insider issue isn't that it's true (it is), it's that he has failed to get people to stop talking about it. Handling this would have been trivial for Bill Clinton or our sitting President.

It took me a long time to realize that you and I are pretty dim because we have ideals and principles and we write and plan left-to-right on the page. Our goals are dictated by our ideals and principles.. Sociopaths Political players, maybe even including some high-profile women, may instead write their goals on the right side of the page and work backward toward the left side, devising all the intermediate steps, illogical assertions and unseemly justifications needed to achieve the goal. Because the goal is all that matters.

What are a few aggrieved women compared to getting a slam-dunk undecideds-pleasing one-term figurehead into office? You can fix him in post Cabinet selection.

Yeah, I just threw up in my mouth a little.
posted by zaixfeep at 5:11 PM on April 2 [6 favorites]


(Unless there's actually a contested convention, but that seems unlikely)

Why do you think its unlikely? It's probably less than 50% but it's higher than it has been in many decades because of the way they award pledged delegates combined with the number of candidates and the calendar.
posted by Justinian at 5:12 PM on April 2 [3 favorites]


Certainly there are men and women aged 35-45 that are qualified to run and have good Progressive ideas.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 5:19 PM on April 2 [4 favorites]


Of course reporting is going to include superdelegate tallies.

We will most likely not have a contested convention. But there's an incentive to report the ways in which there might be a contested convention. Which requires imagining all unassigned delegates to go to whoever is in second place, and writing the "what-if" it comes down to the superdelegates.

They will always be a part of the story. Because we need to believe it's a horse race. We need to believe it's close. Because if we don't, readers don't click, turnout goes down, downballot candidates get less competitive, local governments get worse. So the media and politicians have an incentive to pretend anything could happen - up until it's obvious it can't.
posted by politikitty at 5:20 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


Certainly there are men and women aged 35-45 that are qualified to run and have good Progressive ideas. Well, yeah but not in a position to run really. The dem backbench is doughnut shaped, everyone is 29 or 69, and the people who could fill that hole came up during the worst period in democratic politics- if they survived it it’s cause they agreed to and took part in some of the most Center right, compromised, totally toxic to today ideaology out there.

Short of people cynically switching to progressive politics to win votes, there’s just not the party structure there cause they didn’t prioritize base building, they focused only on winning the executive and fundraising.

Like in fiveish years this will be very different cause we all got a shock and started to go into politics but it’d not there yet.
posted by The Whelk at 5:28 PM on April 2 [20 favorites]


Kamala Harris is running and she is the exact kind of "tough on crime" Democrat who (as far as I know) hasn't taken another politician by the shoulders and gently sniffed their unwashed hair. If we want a safe candidate who won't be an octogenarian by the end of their first term, she seems like a good bet.

This is not an endorsement of Harris, just an example of one of the many, many candidates in the race who is perhaps more centrist than Biden and doesn't have a long history of giving awkward, public, unwanted physical contact.
posted by muddgirl at 5:38 PM on April 2 [12 favorites]


I Bidened someone just today.

Was at an awards ceremony in a big fancy ballroom. A female colleague and I were going to our table and I put my hand in the small of her back to steer her through the crowd. As soon as we sat down at our table I realized what I had done and apologized.

Weird, because I would never do that to a male colleague. I am terrible.
posted by Keith Talent at 5:45 PM on April 2 [5 favorites]


Certainly there are men and women aged 35-45 that are qualified to run and have good Progressive ideas.

Well, I don't know what your definition of good is. But we have Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, Tulsi Gabbard, Andrew Yang and Wayne Messam.
posted by politikitty at 5:45 PM on April 2 [2 favorites]


A longer take from the New York Times that includes a couple more stories (a hand on the thigh of a 19-year-old who’d just finished telling her sexual assault story and a woman whose husband smoothly intervened when Biden started running his hand down her back), as well as this perfect summation from Gloria Steinem:
Gloria Steinem, the feminist icon, said politicians needed to set parameters: “The way out is simple. Our bodies and voices belong to us — that should be the first step in democracy. Just ask before hugging.”
My body belongs to me. If we know each other well you probably know how and where I’m comfortable being touched and hugged. If you don’t know me, you don’t, so please don’t assume.
posted by sallybrown at 5:53 PM on April 2 [22 favorites]


Biden is also at or near the bottom of my list, but I struggle to place his behavior in a #MeToo context, because while it is definitely problematic it doesn't feel like it's coming from a predatory, dominating, or otherwise unsavory place. IMHO, they are the mannerisms of a large-hearted person who has been scarred by far more than his share of tragedy -- losing his wife and infant daughter in a car accident at the dawn of his life in public service, then his beloved eldest son (who survived the crash) to brain cancer at what should have been the dawn of his own career in public life. (A son, it should be noted, that strongly encouraged Biden to run in his last days, which may be playing an outsized role in his decision to run now, especially if he felt like he could have stopped Trump had he heeded that call in 2016). He feels like the type of person who understands, deeply, how fleeting and precious life is, how important it is to wear your heart on your sleeve and show real empathy and appreciation and warmth to all the people you value in life, and is thus inclined to exhibit a level of paternalistic or otherwise familial affection for people that you rarely see from most Washington pols (just look back to that Medal of Freedom ceremony where he openly wept, hugged President Obama, and called him his brother, or the way he opened his eulogy for John McCain by saying plainly that he loved him).

To be clear, this does not justify crossing the boundaries of people (especially women) who don't share the same warm feelings for him. The fact that it's persisted so long without significant pushback till now is symptomatic of how powerful men like him are seldom (if ever) checked when they cross these lines, regardless of intent. If he reacts to this pushback now by permitting his surrogates to pursue a stealth campaign to undermine the women calling him out, that is abhorrent. And of course his track record already makes him the least-inspiring candidate in the field right now. But I just don't agree with those characterizing him as a creeper or a perv, and I think leaning into that particular line of attack risks backlash. Suffice to say that his past behavior was disrespectful of women's personal space, that he needs to cease doing it to anybody who's not family or a (very close) friend, and that ideally he needs to rethink running in this environment if he's so mired in privilege and paternalistic modes of relating to female leaders that he never thought acting like this was inappropriate.
posted by Rhaomi at 5:56 PM on April 2 [13 favorites]


I don't think that behavior can be called paternalistic without being dominating. Paternalistic: "relating to or characterized by the restriction of the freedom and responsibilities of subordinates or dependents in their supposed interest." None of these women are Biden's subordinates or dependents. Quibbling about his intent is pointless. The idea that no person has ever confronted him about this behavior so he just doesn't *know* is laughable. Better to say his position of power shields him from pushback so he can continue without being made to feel uncomfortable.

I have deep sympathy for his losses but none of that matters. Personal tragedy doesn't just happen to good men.
posted by muddgirl at 6:04 PM on April 2 [16 favorites]


At some point our culture has to finally put its foot down and say STOP. Women are human beings and our leader CANNOT be someone who doesn't fully have that idea being generated from their bone marrow.

I wish, but I'm not seeing that in my lifetime and I doubt we'll ever see that in many lifetimes. Sigh. I don't know why women aren't regarded as humans by a lot of the population, but... we are not. I don't know how to fix this or even if it's fixable, but until someone figures out how, I dunno here.

I want whomever is going to be able to beat Trump, and at this point I'm so traumatized and frightened that I just want the party to go with the safest bet. If that is an old white guy, I'm okay with that. If that old white guy is Joe Biden and he's creepy, I'm still okay with that.

Nobody knows anything about who is electable any more. NOBODY. It could only be the old white men. It could be Kamala Harris for all we know. We have no idea and in the long run, it's gonna be the overall hive mind that makes the decision sometime in 2020.

Right now, we may or may not all be agreed on "if the options are Biden vs. Trump, then..." and right now we have no idea if that will be the case. Worry about it THEN. Right now, let's just work on public shaming Biden enough to realize that if he can't apologize and keep his hands off women like a normal person with manners (plus his age and other charming issues), he shouldn't be running. One priority at a time.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:04 PM on April 2 [6 favorites]


From the declared candidates list linked above, I would unbegrudgingly support Warren or Bernie.
(Actually, I had the t-shirt for this ticket designed in June of 2017!)
posted by growabrain at 6:08 PM on April 2 [3 favorites]


Kamala Harris is literally the most progressive senator, she is not more centrist than Biden.
posted by chernoffhoeffding at 6:16 PM on April 2 [12 favorites]


inclined to exhibit a level of paternalistic or otherwise familial affection for people that you rarely see from most Washington pols

But again, I come back to the fact that he does this to women he doesn’t know but not men. The NYT article flat out stated he does this to men too, but provides no examples. These stories are not about his personal friends and equal colleagues, but women in far subordinate positions who are strangers to him.

I don’t think it’s sexual, but I do think it’s misogynistic in the same way that women’s bodies are seen as common property or ornamental objects.
posted by sallybrown at 6:17 PM on April 2 [18 favorites]


Kamala Harris is literally the most progressive senator, she is not more centrist than Biden.

I am usually the one pointing this out.

Harris' prosecutorial past certainly contains problematic things in it, as I was pointing out before she was even a Senator much less a candidate for President, but a centrist... must less more a centrist than Biden... she is not.
posted by Justinian at 6:18 PM on April 2 [12 favorites]


Justinian, did you mean, "much less centrist"?
posted by jadepearl at 6:28 PM on April 2


No, but perhaps "much less more of a centrist" would have been clearer. or avoiding the more/less thing entirely. Chernoffhoeffding and I were responding to the claim that Harris was possibly more of a centrist than Biden.
posted by Justinian at 6:30 PM on April 2


inclined to exhibit a level of paternalistic or otherwise familial affection for people that you rarely see from most Washington pols

Paternalism is infantilizing, and he only does it to women. It's degrading and disrespectful to go around rubbing women in a professional setting, even if it is (arguably) non-sexual. If he was just a large-hearted person who feels so deeply, there would be plenty of pictures of him sniffing men's hair. There aren't. I mean, can you even imagine Biden walking up behind Beto O'Rourke and planting his face in his hair? It's absurd.
posted by Mavri at 6:32 PM on April 2 [24 favorites]


An actually deep hearted person would understand kindergarten level concepts of good touch and bad touch.
posted by bleep at 6:35 PM on April 2 [12 favorites]


"I mean, can you even imagine Biden walking up behind Beto O'Rourke and planting his face in his hair?"

I can now. So thanks for that.
posted by el io at 6:36 PM on April 2 [37 favorites]


But again, I come back to the fact that he does this to women he doesn’t know but not men. The NYT article flat out stated he does this to men too, but provides no examples.

Here you go: Biden touching a sheriff's knee.
posted by xammerboy at 6:36 PM on April 2 [6 favorites]


I meant farther to the left than Biden, closer to the center, but my evaluation of Harris as a candidate is not the same as others. I think she is the closest candidate to Obama when it comes to pragmatism and a true Democratic center.
posted by muddgirl at 6:44 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


A useful thread from Angus Johnston, pointing out that there was a wave of "Biden's touching is a problem" stories back in February 2015 (and a number of times before that as well), including Samantha Bee's story for the Daily Show, a segment titled "The Audacity of Grope." Alexandra Petri wrote a column: What are we going to do about Creepy Uncle Joe Biden?, complete with photos and a helpful creepy uncle vs. wacky uncle chart. Significantly, those articles are from before the event Caitlyn Caruso, quoted in today's Times piece, attended, before he rested his hand on her thigh after she shared her story of sexual assault.

And that really illustrates the problems with Biden's statement on Sunday, the one where he was all "not once — never — did I believe I acted inappropriately. If it is suggested I did so, I will listen respectfully. But it was never my intention." Because it's really been suggested repeatedly. And whatever your intention is, once you're to the point that NY Magazine publishes a slideshow of 9 Times Joe Biden Creepily Whispered in Women’s Ears (the captions are fake there)—and that was four years ago!—that's a pretty big clue as to how your actions are being received. And since we're here, again, four years later, and you're putting out these statements suggesting this is the first time this has ever come up, that's a really clear sign that you haven't, in fact, listened respectfully. Had Biden listened respectfully in 2015 (even setting aside the previous times this has come up), he wouldn't have put his hand on Caruso's thigh.

Also, while Sen. Feinstein's "defense" of Biden is the worst ever ("He reaches out and he touches and it’s like this and that. It’s hardly sexy,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), gently touching an aide. “It’s a new thing that people have been affronted by it. Over 25 years I’ve never seen that before") Pelosi is having none of this: ‘Pretend you have a cold’: Pelosi advises Biden on women. Hint: if your defense of someone is to say "He reaches out and he touches"—the exact description of the unwanted behavior—, you're not offering a defense.
posted by zachlipton at 6:51 PM on April 2 [35 favorites]






I forgot who first suggested it, but I totally agree that the Dems should make “Bodily Autonomy” a plank of the party’s platform.

Abortion, sexual harassment, assault, birth control, choice of sexual Partners… espousing “Bodily Autonomy” as a basic principle would allow us to both explain why Biden has to go now, and how that relates to the other things we stand for.

And how the Republicans stand against it as a fundamental principle. Go on the attack and make them explain why they’re against “bodily autonomy” in 2019.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 7:27 PM on April 2 [68 favorites]


An actually deep hearted person would understand kindergarten level concepts of good touch and bad touch.

Joe Biden: Uncle Bad Touch
posted by sjswitzer at 7:45 PM on April 2 [5 favorites]


I’m gonna vote in 2020 like I piss into the wind.
posted by nikaspark at 7:52 PM on April 2


My takes on this matter, let me show you them.
  • The Democratic Party can do better than Joe Biden as a nominee, for reasons that go beyond the intersection of touch and consent, though that reason is good enough.

  • Biden's problems are serious because touch should be negotiated by consent.

  • There are, however, a spectrum of transgressions versus this boundary, many a less serious offense than, say, groping, grabbing by the pussy, coerced sex, etc (there is also some indication Biden's problems in this area are not limited to women but extend to men, which may mean he's generally habitually overfamiliar rather than creepy-objectifying overfamiliar). His offenses are still worth discussion and even preferring someone else as a candidate over. But it's useful to make this distinction and calibrate discussion goals and perhaps even tone accordingly. It may be enough to simply say "even if Biden's motives are benign, we should have a nominee who models the value that touch is negotiated by consent" rather than moving straight to "Joe Biden is a creepy horrible person."

  • Biden's problems here are not only serious enough on their own merits, they also represent an electoral liability among people who *will not make the above fine distinctions*, and will equate Biden with Trump, Kavanaugh, Moore, whoever, especially after the Right Wing Noise Machine revs up and makes sure this is repeated as if Biden has already been found guilty of aggravated assault and rape in a court of law, or at least would have been if the prosecutor and judge and deep state agents who should have been on the case weren't part of the Washington DC sex cult that meets in a pizza restaurant basement in right-wing fever dreams. Nevertheless, it's probably good to be cautious that we are not doing the RWNMs job for them, so taking the discussion seriously while making fine distinctions is probably a good tactic because...

  • The Democratic Party *might* not do better than Biden as a nominee. If that happens, it will likely be more because that's how the most primary participants vote (which was ultimately the reason Clinton beat Sanders in 2016, so whatever one thinks of Clinton's funding or network advantages, the DLC, the DNC, the DCCC, or Marvel vs DC, ultimately the reckoning is in the votes). *I* will not be casting my primary vote for Biden, or encouraging anyone else to, because I think any number of people are better (nobody's perfect, but I'd really like Warren or Sanders, personally) and I plan to argue that on their merits. But responsible political participation has to include understanding that the party closest to you may make choices different than you'd like, and still recognizing the value of marginally better choices.

  • Biden is not a marginally better choice than re-electing Donald Trump, he is a substantially better choice. Not only on the intersection of touch and consent, but on.... pretty much every issue. And Donald Trump is not even close to as bad as the Republican party can get, we absolutely can have someone who has all of his value problems AND is considerably more savvy and cunning, and the likelihood we'll see that in our lifetimes goes up dramatically unless Republicans are defeated every election from 2018 on out that they're employing the rhetoric and policy that Trump has worked to mainstream.
posted by wildblueyonder at 8:10 PM on April 2 [16 favorites]


I think my feelings on this issue will ultimately be decided by Biden's reaction. When Obama's minister was found to be preaching on damn America, Obama turned what could have been a politically devastating event into a national discussion on race. How politicians deal with the issues like these is a test of their political mettle. I really could see Biden dealing with his touching as a class act, or failing spectacularly. Time will tell.
posted by xammerboy at 8:31 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


Kamala Harris is literally the most progressive senator, she is not more centrist than Biden.

Unless you're trans, or a sex worker, or poor, or a single parent with a truant kid, or anti-slavery, or basically look at her history in any way.
posted by kafziel at 8:35 PM on April 2 [27 favorites]




Are we done with the part of the thread where guys come in and beg for absolution for all the ways they’ve invaded women’s personal space today? Because if I want to re-experience that sense of violation, I can hang out with my creep-ass father-in-law, who likes to give big boobsqueezing hugs and take covert pictures of me with his phone and once complimented me on my ass in front of the whole family outside their own beloved Mormon temple.

I mean, you are expecting absolution, right? Or is it congratulations for recognizing you did the Problematic Thing, and reassurances that by acknowledging it you are actually One of the Good Ones?

Trump is indeed still worse. His treatment of women is still worse. If by some travesty, two boundary-challenged old geezers are our final choices, I know which one I’ll hold my nose for. I also know which one my creep-ass father-in-law will support.

Vote DT out. Support literally anyone who isn’t a boundary-challenged codger (or a hairbrush-deprived rape apologist who openly hates Planned Parenthood) in the primary. If he still wins the nomination, plug your nose. Stop burdening us with your confessions in the meantime.
posted by armeowda at 9:20 PM on April 2 [20 favorites]


casual reminder that the bulk of people who don't vote, which is more people than who voted in the 2016 election, don't vote because they don't think it will matter either way not because of ideological difference
posted by The Whelk at 9:31 PM on April 2 [15 favorites]


Kamala Harris is literally the most progressive senator, she is not more centrist than Biden.

Steve Mnuchin used his bank to kick people out of their homes to make a buck, violating foreclosure laws, including "notice and waiting period statutes, illegally backdat[ing] key documents, and effectively gam[ing] foreclosure auctions."

Kamala Harris wouldn't prosecute him for mortgage fraud. In my opinion, she's had what a reasonable human being would say is a decent amount of time to explain why.

In 2020, I will vote for anyone who isn't the fascist, racist game show host. But I would fill out my future ballot with zero illusions about who Harris is and who and what she represents. Likewise with Joe Biden.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 9:38 PM on April 2 [21 favorites]


I want to unpack “It won’t matter either way,” because sometimes people say that meaning “it’s not a fair fight, and my Democratic ballot in Utah is tantamount to strapping a panty-liner on Mount St. Helens.” And they kind of have a point, if not for closer local races they’re also sitting out. I hear this more from people who haven’t caught many breaks in life.

Other times when people say it, though, they really mean “both parties are just as bad, so I’m keeping my hands clean by sitting my righteous butt on top of them!” That is, arguably, still ideological puritanism, at its willful worst. I hear it more often from arrogant dudes and from people with well-off, living ancestors. I tend to hear it from those who might assume a certain luxurious disinterest in the outcome.
posted by armeowda at 9:47 PM on April 2 [6 favorites]


Sigh.

Yes, unwanted touching that is not explicitly sexual is not as bad as unwanted touching that is explicitly sexual. But it still chips away at your own feeling of autonomous personhood, little bit by little bit, every time a man decides he has the right to put his hands on you because you are in a female body. Or worse, when he doesn't even make the conscious decision. When he just does it, as a matter of course, because that's what you're there for. You're a woman, so your purpose is to serve men. A man wants to smell your hair? He gets to, whether you want it or not. A man wants to put his hand on the small of your back, a fingertip's width above your ass, to steer you around the room? He gets to, whether you want it or not. A man wants to put his hands on your body, put his mouth next to your ear to whisper something to you? He gets to, whether you want it or not.

Just... I wish men would fucking THINK for a second before insisting that it's not as bad as rape, so we shouldn't be upset by it, and we shouldn't crucify poor Joe Biden over it. (Crucifixion is a theme I've been seeing in comments around the internet from men on this issue, as if women wanting their personal space respected is offensive and deeply cruel.)

If I could have a super power, I'd want it to be the ability to put my hands on a man and pour into him every shitty ounce of what it feels like to be a woman in the world they make us live in. Maybe then...
posted by palomar at 10:04 PM on April 2 [44 favorites]


Joe Biden has been opposed to pretty much every social advance that has happened in his lifetime, he's been dragged along unwillingly, and to his credit has has retroactively embraced (most) of the social advances. But he's not now and never will be the person dragging our nation forward, he's one who has to be dragged.

You're describing me. I mean like, I'm not opposed, but I generally stay out of the way until somebody shoves me.

Al Franken had to go, and we got a perfectly nice female Senator out of the deal without creep baggage, and I'm fine with that. Joe Biden...like...????? DUDE have you even looked at your baggage?? Go home, you're drunk.

If there's any cosmic justice he and Bernie will develop disqualifying health conditions before June and go be old somewhere out of the public eye. They obviously won't be convinced to go away otherwise.
posted by saysthis at 10:41 PM on April 2 [3 favorites]


You're describing me. I mean like, I'm not opposed, but I generally stay out of the way until somebody shoves me.

y'all really tell on yourselves with comments like these
posted by JimBennett at 11:47 PM on April 2 [20 favorites]


Kamala Harris wouldn't prosecute him for mortgage fraud. In my opinion, she's had what a reasonable human being would say is a decent amount of time to explain why.

It seems to me that one has to look at someone's entire record. For example, while she didn't go after OneWest Bank with a civil enforcement action (an actual prosecution of Mnuchin was never a possibility) and will undoubtedly be forced to explain why in greater detail over the course of the primary, she was also the only AG to force the banks into a 25billion dollar settlement. You can argue that isn't enough but its more than anyone else did.

If you actually look into the case in more detail it seems likely they chose not to go after OneWest with a CEA for fairly straightforward reasons. First, it would have taken a very long time while the 25billion could be gained right away. Second, it would have cost a metric fuckton of money in litigation and that money has to come from our pockets. And third, it was rather questionable whether they would have won in the end. An AG has limited resources and whether to spend a ton of money and an awful lot of man-hours tilting at a windmill you very well might not defeat in the end is exactly the sort of tough decision that doesn't have a good answer.

I realize this doesn't fit neatly into the Intercept et al's "Harris is in the pocket of Big Banks" narrative but reality is often like that.
posted by Justinian at 11:57 PM on April 2 [25 favorites]


There's a few issues here. One is how problematic this type of touching is, which has been explained here and elsewhere well enough that anyone who's confused about it, but wants in good faith to understand, should be able to.

Another issue, though, is the listening and wanting to understand bit. Someone in a position to affect others' lives should be fundamentally interested in what people say affects them and why. They should be aware of public conversations and debates on those subjects, especially long-standing and prominent ones. When they are unaware of an issue - which is almost inevitable, since the world is more complex than our ability to easily follow it - they should be interested in investigating the issue, learning more, and doing the introspection necessary to examine their own behavior relative to that issue, because what ultimately matters to them is how their actions affect others' lives.

The defensive attitude that politicians (and others) repeatedly take instead is really frustrating to me, because it signals both their priorities and their level of understanding of the issues involved. Maybe it's unrealistic to expect of a person in a position of power to place more importance on their responsibility to others than on their own self-preservation, but then you get cases like this, where introspection and self-preservation are not even incompatible, and still the instinct to defend oneself wins out over everything else. Biden could have explained his touchy-feelingness, explained the current public thinking on the issue and why it matters, explained how that now informed his own thinking on the matter, apologized for taking so long to catch up, promised to change his own behavior, and changed it. He could have done it in a way that would have had him hailed for his leadership and ability to be a role model; it would have made a statement that he was a person who took his responsibility and effect on our lives seriously and provided the clearest distinction between him and the current occupant of the White House. That he didn't shows that (a) he doesn't understand what's going on in our lives, and (b) that's not his primary concern.

It reminds me of the time when Hillary Clinton got called out in public for her talk of black "superpredators" when she was First Lady, and for the effects the Clinton presidency's crime policies actually had on black Americans. She could have acknowledged the points and the pain behind them, showed she understood how important they were, explained how the Clinton of today had changed from the Clinton of the'90s, and why. What she did instead was defend herself aggressively from what she saw as an attack. I voted for her and would do it again, but her response was one of the main things that made me feel that she might make an okay president but probably never a great one. I'll vote for Biden if it comes to it and have a lot of hope that he'll do some things right, but I feel again that we need someone who both cares about what's going on around him and has the capacity to understand it - there are really powerful social and economic issues right now that are seriously reshaping the world - and what he's doing is demonstrating instead that he thinks on a small scale, centered largely around himself.
posted by trig at 12:19 AM on April 3 [11 favorites]


A man wants to smell your hair? He gets to, whether you want it or not. A man wants to put his hand on the small of your back, a fingertip's width above your ass, to steer you around the room? He gets to, whether you want it or not. A man wants to put his hands on your body, put his mouth next to your ear to whisper something to you? He gets to, whether you want it or not. A man wants to rush up from behind and jump in front of you to open the door when your fingers are millimeters away from the handle "to be a gentleman"? He gets to whether you want it or not. And when you call them out on it you're labeled as a crazy bitch.

N.B. to the Chatty Charlie at my hotel last night: when someone tells you they are not getting into the elevator with you do NOT respond "it's fine" and proceed to favor shark with asking if they want your "help".

Obama left Pastor Wright's church after "god damn America" became public knowledge.
posted by brujita at 12:39 AM on April 3 [4 favorites]


Biden is near the bottom of my list already, but my god, I'm horrified by the number of high profile women and even #MeToo voices I've seen leap to his unqualified defense on this. He never did anything inappropriate to me, he's my friend, this is a political attack, Trump is worse.
Chattering class solidarity, as Noah Berlatsky coined it. Biden is One of Us in a way even Al Franken wasn't, part of the Washington elite, a Beltway insider and therefore he has to be defended.

And making it all about Trump is easy because there's a kernel of truth in the idea that the GOP will make this into a political attack on him and the Democrats.

Not forgetting too that for a lot of this sort of people the only real problem is Trump and if only we could go back to the halcyon days of October 2016 everything would be fine.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:14 AM on April 3 [5 favorites]


Honestly, given how the Dems already know how this looks and comes across, that he was considered at all says nothing good about them.
posted by Middlemarch at 1:50 AM on April 3 [5 favorites]


I hope that everyone realizes that sexual harassment is the issue that will put Trump in office for the next four years. I don’t care if the Democratic frontrunner is male, female, or asexual, they will be absolutely buried in accusations of sexual harassment and the current mood that it is something that has to be disproven will leave enough ambiguous detritus in the air that people will be disgusted and stay at home.

Liberals are chock full of disgust right now, it’s just a matter of aiming it the right direction.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 1:52 AM on April 3 [1 favorite]


There is no middle ground here. You are either okay with Biden's behavior or you are not.

If you are okay with it, you are part of the problem. If you are not, you may very well still be part of the problem, but you're at least on the right side of history.

And that's the thing about times like these. They are history-making. People like to make out that It's Complicated And Hard To Figure Out but the past few years have shown us all that, actually, no, it's not complicated at all. You listen to the women and you judge and you hold accountable, even if. Maybe especially if.

There is a very clear right side to be on in this issue, and it is not Biden's, and to pretend otherwise is willful ignorance.

The smokescreen of BUT WHAT ABOUT 2020 is a distraction tactic because it is now, not then. Make your choice and take your stand. The clock is not only up, it is torn off the wall, burned, and obliterated.
posted by scrump at 1:57 AM on April 3 [12 favorites]


Hey can we not turn a thread about Joe Biden’s creepy history into whether Kamala Harris is a progressive enough candidate? There’s a whole nother thread for that.
posted by LizBoBiz at 3:36 AM on April 3 [23 favorites]


I don’t care if the Democratic frontrunner is male, female, or asexual, they will be absolutely buried in accusations of sexual harassment and the current mood that it is something that has to be disproven will leave enough ambiguous detritus in the air that people will be disgusted and stay at home.

Ah I remember this argument from the Kavanaugh days. If Mr. Perfect can be accused, then no man, woman, or child is safe from accusations. Because people who accuse others of sexual harassment love to lie, right?
posted by sallybrown at 3:47 AM on April 3 [24 favorites]


they will be absolutely buried in accusations of sexual harassment

“accusations”? There are pictures. Handsy Uncle Joe is a meme and has been for years.
posted by Etrigan at 4:25 AM on April 3 [24 favorites]


There’s a whole nother thread for that.

I was hoping we'd shit all over Yang, Beto, Biden, Bernie, Booker, Hickenlooper, Inslee, Gabbard, and Marianne Williamson before we got around to Kamala Harris.
posted by box at 5:20 AM on April 3 [7 favorites]


But I'm not comfortable either with equating Biden's touching with sexual assault or pedophilia.

This gets trotted out every time a man is accused of inappropriate behavior that isn't sexual assault. "But it's not sexual assault!" The number of people calling this sexual assault ranges from nonexistent to vanishingly small. It's a strawman. It's moving the goalposts. It's flattens a wide range of behaviors into one thing, and if a man's behavior isn't that one thing, then what are we all complaining about? Why is poor Uncle Joe being accused of sexual assault when he's just affectionate? What if I, a good man, get fired for sexual assault because I put my hand on a woman's back? Why are you, an overwrought woman, diminishing the harm of real sexual assaults by comparing some well-meaning touching to sexual assault? Why can't we all just avoid this touchy guy instead of accusing him of sexual assault? It's a really effective way to diminish the seriousness of harmful behaviors that aren't sexual assault. The discussion devolves into how this is all so complicated, how are men even supposed to know, MeToo has gone too far, how am I supposed to date, etc etc.
posted by Mavri at 5:29 AM on April 3 [25 favorites]


(a hand on the thigh of a 19-year-old who’d just finished telling her sexual assault story

My family is pretty jacked up but nobody ever put their hand on my thigh. This is disgusting.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 5:33 AM on April 3 [5 favorites]


Anybody else seeing memes on Facebook that show pix of Flores in physical contact with other politicians or even Biden and calling her a liar, smear artist, etc., and saying she should be one to apologize for touching him? I have one very D friend who’s posted several but he’s not creating them, just sharing things that are being shared and liked more than I would’ve thought. I’ve called him out every time he posts one - how is this different than saying a woman who flirted with someone earlier in the night has no right to complain about sexual assault - but it’s really gross to see people who claim to believe women and support MeToo act just like Republicans when someone says something about a politician they like. And it’s not like we need her accusation to know this. There’s several other women who’ve come forward and as everyone’s said, tons of video and photo evidence to see with your own eyes. I guess it’s like with Franken. It’s just so disgusting and makes me less likely to ever support Biden, even if he was a candidate I liked.
posted by chris24 at 5:42 AM on April 3 [7 favorites]


I don’t care if the Democratic frontrunner is male, female, or asexual, they will be absolutely buried in accusations of sexual harassment

I...what? This is an appallingly sexist thing to say. I remember in the days post-Al Franken, the opinion was that soon, hordes of harridan harpies armed with FALSE ACCUSATIONS ZOMG! were going to descend on Washington, and no Democratic politician was safe! That totally happened!... Only it didn't. There have been no false accusations, and no open season on Democratic politicians.

Maybe let's try believing women instead of thinking that we're all conniving liars who itch to bring down powerful men by falsely accusing them of sexual harassment?

Right now I'm not going to vote for any man in the primary, with the possible exception of Jay Inslee (who has executive experience and a climate change platform). I'm all in for Harris, Gillibrand, and Warren. It especially nauseates me how Gillibrand has been vilified for single-handedly stabbing in the back national treasure Al Franken - who has been replaced by a Democrat anyway!
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 6:11 AM on April 3 [29 favorites]



Yep, we live in a bizarre and depressing world where the only way the third world can get justice is hoping that all these war criminals get canceled for being sexually inappropriate (or having done blackface in college).


Maybe this is an unpopular opinion, but maybe the ONLY reason why these war criminals are getting cancelled is because WOMEN finally have skin in the game, in the form of voices that can't be shut down via social media.

I mean who was cancelling these hard-ons before us? Not the men.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 6:42 AM on April 3 [17 favorites]


I don’t care if the Democratic frontrunner is male, female, or asexual, they will be absolutely buried in accusations of sexual harassment

I actually think this is sort of possible for many candidates, and you know why? Because most candidates are going to be powerful people with lots of money and connections and no accountability, and people with power often abuse those without. Men often have more power than women, and men often abuse women. Rich women often abuse poorer people of all genders. White people often abuse BIPOC. Think of all those nuns abusing girls in convent schools, for that matter. Where there's inequality and hierarchy, there's abuse accusations. This isn't because people are lying, it's because inequality and hierarchy themselves are bad things that generate violence.

The long, long term solution for our collective woes is creating a society where people simply don't have dispositive power over each other.

In the short term, we've got to debate it out in the primary and try to choose the candidate most in line with our actual values, not in line with "electibility" or gaming it out about what the Big Other likes in a centrist.
posted by Frowner at 6:57 AM on April 3 [19 favorites]


The defensive attitude that politicians (and others) repeatedly take instead is really frustrating to me because it signals both their priorities and their level of understanding of the issues involved...Biden could have explained his touchy-feelingness, explained the current public thinking on the issue and why it matters, explained how that now informed his own thinking on the matter, apologized for taking so long to catch up, promised to change his own behavior, and changed it.
This! A thousand times this! I just want a politician who says, when called out on a mistake or error, "Damn. I'm sorry. I won't do it again."

Sure, explain how your privilege or position blinded you to the problem or how your background led you to believe it wasn't a problem. But don't sit there and excuse it because you didn't know. Own that you didn't know, or think, or realize AND PROMISE NOT TO DO IT AGAIN!! How fucking hard is that? And then?! DON'T DO IT AGAIN!!

OH! And if you do manage to do all this, don't act like a fucking martyr because you are just doing the bare minimum required of a well-socialized human being. We all make mistakes, and those of us who actually give a shit about our fellow human beings try not to make those mistakes when we realize they aren't awesome. It's no big. Be nice, listen to people, and try not to make the same mistakes over and over again.
posted by teleri025 at 7:03 AM on April 3 [9 favorites]


god though the continued involvement of biden in national politics is such an example of the basically tragic nature of the Obama presidency, tragic in the original “plays written by old greek guys wherein a great ruler’s tragic flaw leads to disaster” sense.

Biden’s only still around because Obama plucked him out of third-tier-presidential-candidate obscurity by making him the veep. Obama made him the veep because he thought winning in 2008 would require a vice president who was an older conservative-leaning white guy with foreign policy experience, in order to counterbalance Obama’s perceived weakness as a relatively inexperienced centrist-leaning younger politician who was oh yeah also Black.

This might have been the right choice! It might not have been the right choice — maybe the VP doesn’t make much of a difference in winning elections? — but it might have been the right choice. And it was absolutely necessary to do everything possible to win, because we were at the end of eight years of Republican kleptocracy, and the election of another Republican kleptocrat could have spelled doom for America — even before you get into thinking about how the Republican kleptocrat that year happened to pick as his own running mate Sarah Palin, the John the Baptist of Trumpism.

But so anyway we skip forward a decade or so and as a result of Obama’s completely reasonable tactical choice to grant some of his shine to Joe Biden, the Democratic Party night end up nominating an old fossil, out of step with both the country and the party, who for dozens of reasons might end up being totally unelectable. Thereby damning America to suffer four more years of the most grotesque pack of thieves the Republican party has ever produced.

Tragedy, man!
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 7:38 AM on April 3 [13 favorites]


I don't think accusations of sexual harassment are going to affect all candidates equally. Bernie Sanders had huge problems with sexual harassment in his 2016 campaign, and his attempt at resolving it in 2019 gave the impression that he doesn't really care. And yet, no one seems to care.
posted by chernoffhoeffding at 7:40 AM on April 3 [9 favorites]


Biden is also at or near the bottom of my list, but I struggle to place his behavior in a #MeToo context, because while it is definitely problematic it doesn't feel like it's coming from a predatory, dominating, or otherwise unsavory place.

Please do not do this. You don't know what's in Biden's head, so please don't pretend you can read his mind. You are telling the women who have experienced Biden touching them and found it creepy and the women in this thread who find it creepy that they are wrong. Believe women.
posted by medusa at 7:48 AM on April 3 [16 favorites]


I remember watching the hearings on Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill's testimony. It was stomach turning at the time and it's was still stomach turning when it was all relived during the Kavanaugh hearings. When I hear Biden say now "I wish I could've given her the hearing she deserved" I am outraged. And no to Biden. just no.
posted by bluesky43 at 7:49 AM on April 3 [6 favorites]


Also on Feinstein's and Pelosi's ' oh Joe, that's just him'/maneuver around the creepiness' responses, this is exactly how women in this generation (to a large extent) managed to move up in their careers. Brush it aside and carry on. I'm not condoning it and I am super glad that we have begun to move beyond these kind of apologist norms. But I also completely understand why they have responded as they have.
posted by bluesky43 at 7:57 AM on April 3 [12 favorites]


Bernie Sanders had huge problems with sexual harassment in his 2016 campaign, and his attempt at resolving it in 2019 gave the impression that he doesn't really care. And yet, no one seems to care.

With Sanders you have two things going on.

First, and most important, Sanders personally is not accused of sexual harassment. His campaign staffers were, and he's accused of ignoring the problem, minimizing it when called on it, and generally being a condescending asshole towards women with his brush off aporoach to the problem. But all that is rather different from Sanders personally being creepy so it's not going to get the same sort of coverage that Biden's direct and personal creepy behavior gets.

"Bernie Sanders was a jerk about the sexual harassment his staffers engaged in, dismissive of concerns of women, and way too little too late in his apology" is a story that just won't have the sort of blasting headline as "CREEPY JOE GROPES YET ANOTHER WOMAN!"

Also, unlike Biden who seems to basically be coasting on name recognition and doesn't really have much of a following, Sanders has a hard core of true believers who display what many people think of as disturbing personal fanaticism towards him. Those people make up a group that will shout down and minimize anything bad being reported about Sanders regardless of the truth of those bad things. Which discourages reporting.
posted by sotonohito at 8:07 AM on April 3 [12 favorites]


Also on Feinstein's and Pelosi's ' oh Joe, that's just him'/maneuver around the creepiness' responses, this is exactly how women in this generation (to a large extent) managed to move up in their careers. Brush it aside and carry on. I'm not condoning it and I am super glad that we have begun to move beyond these kind of apologist norms. But I also completely understand why they have responded as they have.

I agree; I am both glad that this behavior is seen differently by younger women and is less tolerated, and I know that older women often see it as "just life." I remember, again after Al Franken's resignation, there was comment after comment from women 60+ who often were part of the first wave of women in male-dominated professions, and it seemed they hated and blamed Gillibrand as much as men did. Why, back in my day, we knew how to work with handsy men! I put up with SO MUCH and how dare this pampered snowflake Kirsten Gillibrand call out normal, exuberant male behavior! Blah blah coddled millennials grow a thicker skin!

BTW, it makes me even prouder of Gillibrand when she says she's the mom of boys and is bringing them up to be respectful of others and an ally to girls and women. I've heard enough "waah waah my son is afraid to compliment a girl now because HYSTERIA!" and I think - isn't this on the parents? Did you, the mom, laugh bullying and boundary-busting off with "boys will be boys, tee-hee!"

I do see a generation gap in attitudes - and, btw, Joe Biden is a Silent Generation-er, not a Boomer, "Boomer" is not synonymous with "old people" just as "Millennials" are now in their 30's and are not Kids These Days anymore - I think a lot of people 60+ have bought into the "boys will be boys," "Men are just like that," and "if somebody does good in the world you have to excuse bad behavior." (See: reactions to Amy Klobuchar's alleged bad-boss behavior vs. Biden's boundary-busting.)
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 8:14 AM on April 3 [12 favorites]


I agree; I am both glad that this behavior is seen differently by younger women and is less tolerated, and I know that older women often see it as "just life."

I think that women of my generation (60+ you refer to) have begun to feel empowered about this. And the way I understand it is that a large part of the reason for this empowerment is that the mantle of 'no one will believe me', 'I did something to deserve this behavior' has begun to be lifted with the #meto movement. I think this is less an attitude than it is a perfectly legitimate response to there being no avenues to have this behavior addressed. This has just now begun to change - remarkably - in 2019 by women in younger generations feeling empowered to now speak out.
posted by bluesky43 at 8:56 AM on April 3 [7 favorites]


I'm as sick of Boomer hate as I am of stereotypical attitudes about millennials. Cut it the duck out.

I'm not super interested in Biden as President, and he has way too much baggage. But it's really early in the campaign, and the Right's hate and smear machine is running at full speed. We don't have to help them. Can we try to not lost those even before the primaries?

The US needs a *much* shorter election season.
posted by theora55 at 9:01 AM on April 3 [3 favorites]


there was comment after comment from women 60+ who often were part of the first wave of women in male-dominated professions, and it seemed they hated and blamed Gillibrand as much as men did.

While the cumulative effects are nowhere near the same for how men are treated compared to women in the culture regarding violations of personal space, it's also worth noting that a lot of older women are very "hand's on" or hug culture themselves and constantly feel free to interact physically with others without permission. It's been a common ordeal, for both men and women, in the customer service area I work in to be treated as if you have no personal space by some that seem to fit well with the Biden values set.
posted by gusottertrout at 9:01 AM on April 3 [3 favorites]


It's such a false scarcity. We have so many people who can run, who would do a good to amazing job as President, it's a more diverse field than possibly ever, in terms of race and gender. That is worth glorying in, it is a real accomplishment!

We aren't stuck with Joe. We don't have to be! Our opponents are known, their grossness is known, and I honestly don't think Biden is any more immune than Harris or Warren. We have to stop accepting the idea that a white dude is more believable/comfortable as President than a woman or woman of color.

And when has playing it safe worked for us, I might ask? I remember John Kerry. He was as white and safe as you could get, and he fucking lost.
posted by emjaybee at 9:02 AM on April 3 [14 favorites]


I think a lot of people 60+ have bought into the "boys will be boys," "Men are just like that,"

I had an aggravating conversation with my mother about this yesterday where I said I thought Biden was creepy and she said that he's from a "different generation" and then talked about a guy at work who used to give the female employees shoulder rubs (like 30 years ago) and I was like.... and you don't think that was at all sexual??? And she was like... nah.

Then we talked about what I was making for dinner because hoo boy.
posted by Automocar at 9:03 AM on April 3 [7 favorites]


Even before the stories about Joe Biden and his disregard for others' body autonomy came out, I knew I was #NeverBiden (just as I am #NeverBernie). Not just because we have three - three! - terrific women candidates, and because of his past record on financial issues as well as Anita Hill, but because of his age, which is my stumbling block with Bernie as well.

I am not for mandatory retirement, and I think people should be able to work in most* jobs as long as they want to. But President of the United States is not an ordinary job. It's a tough, demanding job where many millions of lives are at stake and many more are directly affected by what the President does and how they behave. Biden is already out of the norm being as healthy as he is, or appears to be, in his late 70's. This is the age when dementia, cancer, heart disease, and stroke become much much more likely to occur. It's also the age when small health problems can really snowball, and often 75 or so is the age when health can take a sudden downturn. Atul Gawande's Being Mortal is a great book to read which talks about this.

I would rather take my chances on someone younger - and Warren is about as old as I will go - because I want a healthy President who stays healthy and does not get dementia in office as our other oldest Presidents Reagan and Trump did/are doing.

*not pilot or surgeon or other "crucial safety" jobs, but most ordinary jobs can be performed by older people with no problems.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 9:16 AM on April 3 [8 favorites]


It seems to me that one has to look at someone's entire record.

It is interesting to observe everyone doing this when they evaluate their opinions, choices, or even votes they have to make, when looking at candidates. Be it Biden, Harris, etc. Everyone has different metrics for that record and what to value within it.

You accept what I see as a piece of evidence in a larger pattern of problematic behavior, because a sufficient financial settlement was reached. That's fine, not a problem. It is just interesting in the larger context of things that all of us make these kinds of calculations and still find a way to be okay with the answer they reach.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 9:18 AM on April 3 [2 favorites]


If someone can show me a pic/video of Joe sniffing a man’s hair I’ll absolutely believe it’s completely non-sexual.
posted by chris24 at 9:39 AM on April 3 [4 favorites]


I would assume he has a hair sniffing fetish, at that point, not assume it was non-sexual. Regardless, it is disgusting and bizarrely inappropriate.
posted by agregoli at 9:42 AM on April 3 [3 favorites]


But it's really early in the campaign, and the Right's hate and smear machine is running at full speed. We don't have to help them.

Bringing up concerns about a potential candidate is not hate, or a smear campaign. Please, please stop this. Please stop reinforcing the notion that we just have to shut up and take it, that we have no right to speak up and say it's not right, or that doing so means we're "hating" and "smearing". STOP.
posted by palomar at 9:46 AM on April 3 [28 favorites]


I'm trying to speak from a place of empathy here-- it's astonishing to see how much some folks have relinquished their ability to engage with everyday challenges and decisions on any terms other than their relationship to Trump. It reminds me heavily of spiritual bypassing (the "tendency to use spiritual ideas and practices to sidestep or avoid facing unresolved emotional issues, psychological wounds, and unfinished developmental tasks") except with Trump filling the role of the religious practice. There will be moments that have to do with voting for Trump or for some other person. But there are a million other moments, too, that decide what the world looks like-- these matter and they're not just instruments.
posted by dusty potato at 9:49 AM on April 3 [6 favorites]


If everyone who is worried about “these overreacting women are going to blow the election for the rest of us and I’m going to tell them until they shut up” devoted that same energy, time, and attention to getting nonvoters to register or Obama-to-Trump voters to flip back or “I like all the male candidates and none of the female ones but I’m not sexist” people to consider their biases, the world would be a better place for it.
posted by sallybrown at 9:55 AM on April 3 [29 favorites]


One more comment and I'll stop :). I think women in my generation did not have permission to find creepy behavior by men creepy. The lack of permission came from the culture and from an internal, perhaps unconscious realization that calling out the behavior would get you no where fast. This is a different explanation and more nuanced than saying 'women in that generation are just like that and they think creepy behavior is ok' (with full realization that this was not all women. I also note that the #metoo movement came about from a much younger generation who had to deal with the same crappy behavior, and in my estimation also had those attitudes ingrained, and felt the same 'I did something to deserve this/There's no one who will believe me'. This stuff is culturally very deep, and I for one am grateful for those who could finally challenged it in a powerful and undeniable way.
posted by bluesky43 at 9:56 AM on April 3 [10 favorites]


Pointing out issues that will come up in the general election is not “helping Trump.” It’s doing proper due diligence on candidates and preparing them to handle and fight in the general. If they can’t deal with Ds questioning them, they have no chance against the right wing noise machine.
posted by chris24 at 9:57 AM on April 3 [16 favorites]


If someone can show me a pic/video of Joe sniffing a man’s hair I’ll absolutely believe it’s completely non-sexual.

The picture of Biden with his hand on a sheriff’s knee posted upthread is funny to me because it’s a less intimate touch than the ones people are complaining about and even so, the sheriff is looking at Biden like “wtf are you doing?”
posted by sallybrown at 9:59 AM on April 3 [17 favorites]


It's certainly true that some people, often though certainly not always, of an older generation are really bad about personal space.

I used to work at an office where there was a slightly older woman (she was in her early 60's IIRC) was uncomfortably hands on with me to the point where anytime she had a tech support problem I cringed. And all she'd do was touch my shoulder or arm.

I cannot imagine how much worse it is for women, or how much more common such behavior is for them. I a tiny little bit of uninvited shoulder/arm touching from a person who was neither personally nor professionally threatening to me and had absolutely no power at all over me made me uncomfortable enough I wanted nothing to do with her, the degree of discomfort that even that level of presumptively non-sexual [1] touching from a person who did have power and authority, and physical advantage, is horrifying to contemplate and the women who deal with that shit every day are going through trauma that is literally incomprehensible to me simply due to my own privileged status.

So yes, some people are uncomfortably handsy and that's bad enough even if it's just socially uncomfortable and has no power issues involved at all.

But when you're Vice President White Man, or Senator Joe White Man, or even just rich guy White Man, that's vastly worse due to the power imbalance, plus of course there's an obvious sexual element here and it's basically gaslighting to deny the sexual aspect of Joe Biden's constant and unthinking violation of the bodily autonomy of women around him.

The fact that he still does it, that no one has apparently ever told him to stop, and that it just keeps happening is a microcosm of white male privilege, patriarchy, and rape culture all three.

[1] But let's be serious here, no way is Joe Biden's creepy boundary violation and bodily autonomy violation of women non-sexual.
posted by sotonohito at 10:01 AM on April 3 [8 favorites]


Just a lighthearted little thought that this post plus the Tom Hiddleston Centrum video really get a creepy little multigenerational stew goin’
posted by Kemma80 at 11:35 AM on April 3


Biden responds (twitter): “Social norms are changing. I understand that, and I’ve heard what these women are saying. Politics to me has always been about making connections, but I will be more mindful about respecting personal space in the future. That’s my responsibility and I will meet it.”
posted by donatella at 12:23 PM on April 3 [2 favorites]


Biden with a new statement, this time a two-minute video to camera, complete with a "social norms have begun to change, they've shifted, and the boundaries of protecting personal space have been reset, and I get it...but I will be more mindful and respectful of people's personal space"

I guess it's a moderate improvement over his Sunday "not once — never — did I believe I acted inappropriately" nonsense, though he still doesn't exactly take responsibility, but the common theme here is one of not listening. The boundaries haven't been "reset." The boundaries existed before, and the number of times this issue has come up in the past points to the fact that everyone knew they were being crossed.

That's true regardless of what the intent was. Whatever his intent was, even if it's well-meaning, communication, including tactile communication, works both ways, and it's on him to listen and adjust. It's like, if you say something that's interpreted as racist, and you don't want to be a person who says racist things, it's now on you fix that; even if your intent wasn't to be racist, that's what the listener got from your message, and you now need to listen to them and change. So even if Biden's intent is not to be the creepy handsy ex-vice president, people have repeatedly pointed out that's how at least some of his touches are being received, and it's always been on him to listen and stop doing that to people.

If he wasn't able to listen to what people have been saying and take something away from it, say, in 2015 or even as recently as his statement on Sunday, that says a lot about him.
posted by zachlipton at 12:24 PM on April 3 [6 favorites]


I would like to reiterate armeowda's request above that men please not regale us with tales of how they did the problematic thing and that they now don't. That's great! Please keep your stories of inappropriate touching of women to yourself, same as your hands.
posted by agregoli at 12:26 PM on April 3 [23 favorites]


I was aware of allegations from adult women. I was not prepared for a Twitter thread that has clips of him posing with very young girls. Unfortunately many of the sources are conservative/anti democrat which always gives me pause. But they all are videos from press events. YouTube clip of events. (I don’t know the affiliation of the channel but there are many of these compilations.) Including a very disturbing one where he seemingly grabs a girls chest as she jerks away. (At 3:20 in the video). There’s clip after clip of hair smelling/touching, head kissing, shoulder/arm grabbing and jokes about ages and dating. It’s never okay to touch anyone that way. It’s espeically terrifying to see a pattern touching girls that way.
posted by Crystalinne at 12:36 PM on April 3 [9 favorites]


Putting your hand on a woman’s thigh has never been chill or cool or okay or paternalistic or “friendly.”
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 12:37 PM on April 3 [10 favorites]


I thought the Biden video did a fairly good job of putting his behavior both in context of how he viewed his behavior and in context of how this kind of touching violates personal space. I'm still not a supporter of his for the Democratic nomination (I can't forgive/forget the Anita Hill grilling) but I found the video to be fairly self aware.
posted by bluesky43 at 12:45 PM on April 3


YouTube clip of events.

jesus mother loving christ he can not keep his hands off those kids what the actual fuck
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:03 PM on April 3 [5 favorites]


The chattering class wisdom on the telly seems to be that what's happening here is a symptom of Biden waiting too long to get in the race and nature abhoring a vacuum. But that seems completely wrong to me? Isn't it way, way better for all of this to come out before Biden officially enters the race (or not)? It's not like all of this wouldn't have come up if he were officially running already and now, first, he saves face if he chooses not to run and, second, he can address it however unsatisfactorily before he's officially running if he still chooses to get in the race (which I think he obviously will).
posted by Justinian at 1:22 PM on April 3 [5 favorites]


I took my four-year-old grandson to a museum on Sunday. On the train home there was a guy who sat across from him and me. He touched the kid on his knee twice and touched his nose twice. He was being friendly and talking to my grandson, and the grandson was talking back. And he was also just letting himself be touched because he’s a four-year-old. I always ask my grandson before I touch him and he usually says no. Which is his right. And I was so flummoxed by this total stranger touching my grandson that it took me those four touches to get my shit together and to look at that guy in the eyes and say, “we are teaching him that people have to ask permission before they touch him.” The guy smiled at me and didn’t say anything but also stopped touching him.

I felt so guilty that it took what seemed like an eternity for me to be able to use my words and shut it the fuck down. The stranger apparently has a son just a little bit older. I have been around immigrants, as this guy was, who miss their children and then are extra special nice to my grandchildren. That may have been what was going on. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter what his intentions were because what his behavior did was teach my grandson that strangers get to decide what happens to his body. That is not OK. That will never be OK. Intentions do not matter in this case. Behavior and the results of that behavior are what matter.

I was never going to vote for Biden in a primary, not ever. Partly because I am skipping old people this election cycle. Partly because I am also skipping men and white people this election cycle. Also because he is a mediocre insider centrist and I am not voting for such people no matter how much personal heartbreak they may have experienced. Particularly ones who guaranteed that other people, sometimes millions of them, suffered their own personal heartbreak as a result of political decisions made or supported by said politicians. Fuck that guy.
posted by Bella Donna at 1:26 PM on April 3 [15 favorites]


Biden responds (twitter): “Social norms are changing. I understand that, and I’ve heard what these women are saying. Politics to me has always been about making connections, but I will be more mindful about respecting personal space in the future. That’s my responsibility and I will meet it.”

Yeah wow, entirely fuck this.

"Am I so out of touch? No, no, it's the children who are wrong."

This pig thinks that what he was doing was always okay, it's just that people out of nowhere decided it suddenly wasn't. No recognition of the problem. No recognition of ... anything. THIS WAS NEVER ACCEPTABLE.
posted by kafziel at 2:00 PM on April 3 [17 favorites]


"Making connections" does not mean touching people, for crying out loud. What the fuck is wrong with this guy?
posted by agregoli at 2:07 PM on April 3 [6 favorites]


Apparently nothing really does matter any more in politics.

Harry Enten: In the *still limited data* we've gotten back, the Biden stuff seems so far (and I really stress that "so far") not to have impacted his standing with voters. And it's not for lack of attention... His Google searches and media mentions have gone way up.
posted by Justinian at 2:07 PM on April 3


YouTube clip of events.

Ugh just remembering how awkward I felt in my body ages 12-15 and how itchy and desperate I would feel if a grown up had put his hand on my waist and just left it there. A Cathy-style “ACK!” moment. I hated adults who made jokes about dating/sex/looks to me at that age or even my changing body. Barf.
posted by sallybrown at 2:16 PM on April 3 [6 favorites]


What isn't in what I linked but is in other videos of the event is that he continually tells girls "No dating till you're 30" and confirming with their fathers. He asks to get photos alone with the children. (To which one father says "dad's going to stay nearby" and stays off to the side.) He continually says they're so beautiful and they must be a handful because so many boys want to date them. He specifically tells brothers it's their job to "keep boys away from your sister(s)". He jokes to one girl and says, "How old are you, 17?!" and she replies and he says "Oh! You're 6!" It's a pattern of sexualizing and aging young girls specifically. It's gross. It's more than just "I have granddaughters" vibes. Whether it's a product of actual creepiness or "grandfather-ness" or the social misogyny of the era he grew up in doesn't matter to me in 2019.
posted by Crystalinne at 2:26 PM on April 3 [32 favorites]


"Making connections" does not mean touching people, for crying out loud. What the fuck is wrong with this guy?

He's a politician? The term glad handling was invented for politicians.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:03 PM on April 3 [1 favorite]


Uh no, THIS is not a common behavior among all politicans.
posted by agregoli at 3:18 PM on April 3 [8 favorites]


Yeah, Biden's statement definitely comes off as "Okay, okay, I'll stop [but fuck you if you say I was ever wrong and double fuck you if you want an apology]."

Also I feel like it's just bad beyond the substance itself. Even if I try to twist myself into seeing an apology and recognition of wrongdoing (which this isn't), he comes off terribly here. I think he compounded the damage with a bad appearance on top of the non-apology.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 3:39 PM on April 3 [1 favorite]


Glad handing refers to a literal extension of a hand or a warm welcome or meetings for political reasons, often for show. It doesn’t refer to shoulder rubs, hugs, hair touching, kissing, etc specifically of women. We also must acknowledge the political landscape has been dominated by white cishet men often during times where women were routinely sexually assaulted, harassed, and used for domestic and work labor while not being allowed to act for themselves in politics or society. Therefore this type of touching HAS been a norm but that doesn’t make it okay-ever-and especially now when people are pleading with them to stop. Excusing touching beyond acceptable business etiquette as playing politics is gross.
posted by Crystalinne at 3:44 PM on April 3 [13 favorites]


Joe. Joe. My man. Remember 1986? It was a year before you tried to run for President the first time. Anyway, a little band called the Georgia Satellites had a #2 hit song. I'm sure you heard it a bunch of times back in 1986 and 1987. Here's a handy link so you can listen to it some more. I'd say it was easy to miss the message of the song, but literally both the refrain and the name of the song are "Keep your hands to yourself".

1987, Hank Jr. covered it, so it got released again. Same chorus, my man. Same valuable life advice:
My honey, my baby
Don't put my love upon no shelf
She said
"Don't hand me no lines and keep your hands to yourself"
posted by Huffy Puffy at 4:12 PM on April 3 [5 favorites]


Yeah.... as someone who bought into the Onion/Parks and Rec diamond joe routine, I'm disappointed both in him and in myself for overlooking/rugsweeping a lot of the creeper behavior for so long. I can't excuse my past glossing over of it. Disappointing on all fronts.
posted by nakedmolerats at 4:43 PM on April 3 [1 favorite]


Next to glad-handing is kissing babies, which is not just old-fashioned, it's practically prehistoric.
posted by BungaDunga at 4:51 PM on April 3


A lot of the unfortunate reaction to Biden's issues is that some voters have held him up as the Great White Male Hope. "He's the ooooonnnnnllyyyy one who can beat Trump!" I've heard people caterwaul, even those who should know better. Like Al Franken before him, Biden was Valuable. And when a Valuable man does something wrong, accusers are blamed and conspiracy theories bruited about. Mr. Valuable Man couldn't possibly have done something wrong, it's those conniving harpies who are out to ruin a good man's name because of Reasons!

I actually had to unsubscribe from my local FB Indivisible group because the ostensibly "feminist" leaders devolved into squeeing fangirls when Biden (or Franken for that matter) were mentioned. Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand and even Elizabeth Warren got sniffs of scorn, but "ooh, Uncle Joe! He'd be the bestest President!" So I quit rather than get banned. :)

What is exasperating is that Biden is not the only candidate! He's not even declared! We don't need Joe Biden and anyone who thinks so is deluding themselves.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 5:17 PM on April 3 [15 favorites]


> "Making connections" does not mean touching people, for crying out loud. What the fuck is wrong with this guy?

>> He's a politician? The term glad handling was invented for politicians.

So this is all because a bunch of male politicians mis-heard "glad handing" as "glad HANDLING", eh?
posted by Secret Sparrow at 8:34 PM on April 3 [6 favorites]


It just occurred to me as well that this is a Schroedinger’s rapist kind of situation. Maybe Biden really didn’t mean anything and maybe he really is just an affectionate dude, but the women don’t know this. We cannot see intent based on this interaction in the moment. We only know that it’s not cool and have no idea where he’s going to go with it.
posted by LizBoBiz at 11:07 PM on April 3 [7 favorites]


Yeah, hate to keep going back to it, but the whole old-timer, just affectionate thing falls apart with the hair sniffing. Sure he touched that one male sheriff’s knee, and if it was just that kind of overly familiar touching of both sexes maybe you could accept/forgive it with the right response from Biden. (Which he hasn’t given imo.). But the sniffing of just women’s hair, and the fact that he is waaaay more physically familiar with women and waaaay more frequently than men personally seals the deal for me.

He’s not the right candidate for lots of reasons and this is one of them.
posted by chris24 at 5:33 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


With that crappy apology video, he has also brought this into the terrain of generational conflict for no apparent reason, a terrain he is very familiar with.

"I’ve always thought it about connecting with people. Like I said, shaking hands, hands on the shoulder, a hug, encouragement.

Now- Now it’s all about taking selfies together.
"

You just have to throw in the most over-used millennial-bashing cliche there is into your insincere non-apology, huh? On its own this isn't that big a deal, but it reminded me of his recent remarks about student debt:

"The younger generation now tells me how tough things are—give me a break. No, no, I have no empathy for it, give me a break."

This is a guy who's actively doing everything he can to piss off everyone under 40. Wonderful strategy for a presidential candidate.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 8:32 AM on April 4 [21 favorites]


Joe attended the University of Delaware in 1965. Google says for 1965:

"According to the U.S. Education Department, average undergraduate tuition and fees -- excluding room and board -- in the 1965-66 school year was $607 per year for a four-year college (public and private) and $203 for a two-year college."

You'd think he could have SOME empathy for today's student loan debt.
posted by agregoli at 8:52 AM on April 4 [15 favorites]


Just to add to that, in 1965 the minimum wage was $1.25/hr, so you could pay for a year's tuition with 12 weeks of flipping burgers over the summer (12 x 40 x $1.25 = $600). I guess living expenses make a comparison tougher, but I doubt the results are any less favorable for the 1965 students.
posted by skewed at 9:32 AM on April 4 [15 favorites]


It is inappropriate to be constantly "affectionately" touching women while doing your job as a elected official. I don't give shoulder rubs while doing PowerPoint presentations at my job, even though I am a super huggy person who is close friends with my coworkers.

It's not a question of whether each individual touch was explicitly consensual or welcomed or harassment or not. His behavior is just disrespectful of women, period. Nothing has changed about the appropriateness of this. It's not because of MeToo. I am so tired.
posted by desuetude at 10:37 AM on April 4 [15 favorites]


I'm curious here. Is it that Joe Biden, like Trump, is basically just an asshole who can't stay on message and as a result he's making his consultants rip their hair out in frustration, or is there a plan in place to try and win the nomination by basically getting the votes of all the people who hate people younger than them?

If the latter, I can almost see it as a winning strategy. Primary voters tend to be older, richer, and more conservative, including Democratic primary voters. If Biden's goal here is to basically tell the older, richer, more conservative Democrats that he's their man and he will do his utmost to piss off the kids they want off their lawn as an effort to get them to vote as a bloc for him, it'd be divisive as hell but it might also win him the nomination.

I'm more inclined to think he's just a selfish privileged asshole with no empathy, but I can't fully convince myself that all these "gaffes" aren't deliberate to at least some degree. I mean, sure, I've known selfish privileged assholes with no empathy, but they weren't as consistently as assholish towards one specific group as Biden has been.
posted by sotonohito at 11:03 AM on April 4 [2 favorites]


His voting constituency is a combination of old people, people who don't pay quite as much attention to politics as we do here but have warm feelings about the Obama Presidency, and people who just want to win and destroy Donald Trump. Politically, this week has been toughest on the last group's possible support since it puts a big question mark ontheoretical "electability". But if his polling against DJT stays where it has been it'll probably harden up again, barring worse information coming out.
posted by Justinian at 12:49 PM on April 4 [2 favorites]


This is a guy who's actively doing everything he can to piss off everyone under 40. Wonderful strategy for a presidential candidate.

Maybe if more of them voted this would be practical concern. Even with greatly increased turnout only an estimated 31% of eligible people ages 18 to 29 voted in the 2018 midterms.

But while millennials are quickly becoming the largest eligible voting generation, according to the Pew Research Center, they do not yet vote consistently enough to be the most influential voting age bracket.

posted by ActingTheGoat at 1:35 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]


Maybe if more of them voted this would be practical concern.

Maybe if ANY major party presidential candidates ever prioritized the concerns of millennials and didn't just condescend to us while further tightening the economic screws, we'd come out to vote for them in greater numbers. Until then, you're blaming the victims.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 1:56 PM on April 4 [11 favorites]


I mean, maybe I guess, but all the evidence is on the side of "younger people don't vote very much no matter what." Generally speaking in our system you gain political influence by voting in large numbers. You don't vote in large numbers because you are given political influence.
posted by Justinian at 2:00 PM on April 4 [6 favorites]


The good news is that Millenials are old enough now that they're going to start voting soon. It's really the post-Millenials who rarely vote.
posted by Justinian at 2:01 PM on April 4 [3 favorites]


Generally speaking in our system you gain political influence by voting in large numbers. You don't vote in large numbers because you are given political influence.

Well, there's kind of a give-and-take there. Older people are more able to take time to go vote because they are more likely to have money, jobs that give them the time, and reliable transportation. And when they do make it to the voting booth, they can choose a candidate who speaks to them and serves their interests, so they're incentivized in that way.

Millennials have a harder time making it to the polls, and when we get there we get to choose between a party that wants to actively immiserate us, and a party who wants to stand idly by and watch us get immiserated.

Kind of a derail anyway, and basically this is all just because millennials are more likely to be working class, so I'll drop it here.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 2:04 PM on April 4 [3 favorites]


In 2008, turnout among Americans age 18–29 was 51% (compared to 62% for the entire voting-age population). Good but not great. But note: Obama won this group by a 35-point margin (compared to just a 2-point margin among voters age 30+).

It is possible to motivate young people to vote, and it’s a winning strategy for Democrats who succeed at it.
posted by mbrubeck at 2:31 PM on April 4 [5 favorites]


A conservative take:
So, he’s clueless in the way that old Washington hands who refer to themselves in the third person and consider themselves living legends always are—only more so.

To use Biden’s own term, he believes his own malarkey.

He really thinks he’s the most charming man in the room and a master at human interaction. In his view, he’s doing everyone a favor by giving them a warm bath of Biden.
Anything to that?
posted by clawsoon at 2:58 PM on April 4 [3 favorites]


I found Figure 4 in this document to be pretty informative about the structural barriers to vote. Mostly because I get prickly when people make generational assumptions.

Being disengaged and uninterested in the process/candidates seems to be fairly universal.

Being able to easily register before a deadline, find time to get to the polling place and actually BE IN TOWN are huge things that disproportionately affect younger voters. (That last one sticks out like a sore thumb. I know going away to college is a common trope, but I always try to remember media treats college in America as more universal than it actually is.)
posted by politikitty at 3:17 PM on April 4 [9 favorites]


In PA, our primaries are held in late May when all the college students have just gone back home. So they can't actually do any volunteering/organizing in the place were they actually vote.
posted by octothorpe at 5:53 PM on April 4


If you want to know about my own personal experience with anti-youth disenfranchisement in Florida, I posted a comment here last year telling the story of how multiple ballots of mine got thrown out thanks to a draconian set of requirements for voting by mail clearly intended to keep as many of those votes from being counted as possible.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 7:11 PM on April 4 [6 favorites]




A photo of me and Joe Biden went viral. I want him to take ownership for his actions.

Good explanation of why something that may seem innocuous to some can be unpleasant and intrusive, especially this: ". . . even though Biden’s gesture was well-intentioned, it was paternalistic. Perhaps Biden meant to act like a comforting father or grandfather. But he never asked whether that was okay. Had he said, “Is it all right if I give you a hug?” I would’ve welcomed it. He didn’t."
posted by skewed at 7:08 AM on April 5 [8 favorites]


Joe Biden Jokes About Hugging in First Speech Since Women’s Complaints
As he took the stage, he hugged Lonnie R. Stephenson, the union’s president. “I just want you to know I had permission to hug Lonnie,” he said, and the largely male crowd burst into laughter.

....

Several minutes into his remarks, Mr. Biden spotted children in the audience. After welcoming them to the stage, Mr. Biden wrapped his arm around a young boy. “By the way, he gave me permission to touch him,” he said, to laughter.
posted by box at 9:34 AM on April 5 [3 favorites]


Joe Biden has permission to kiss my ass.
posted by kelborel at 9:50 AM on April 5 [24 favorites]


He doesn't fucking get it. Or worse, he thinks people uncomfortable with his affections are a joke. Fuck him.
posted by agregoli at 9:53 AM on April 5 [20 favorites]


Nothing says understanding and being mindful like immediately turning around and making disdainful, shitty jokes about how inconceivable you find it that anyone would be upset by you pawing them.
posted by Copronymus at 9:57 AM on April 5 [16 favorites]


Biden jokes about physical contact in first speech since allegations he made women uncomfortable
On Friday, when asked directly if he would apologize, Biden said he wasn't sorry for his intentions.
"I am sorry I didn't understand more," he said. "I am not sorry for any of my intentions. I am not sorry for anything that I have ever done -- I've never been disrespectful, intentionally, to a man or a woman. That's not the reputation I've had since I was in high school, for God's sake."
Flames, side of face, etc
posted by zombieflanders at 10:33 AM on April 5 [15 favorites]


That's the thing about plagiarists, they are pretty good at picking out phrases smarter people use to explain things, but they have little connection to what those words actually mean, since otherwise they could have expressed the same thing in their own voice. Biden has repeatedly shown little indication he connects words to the ideals behind them, which becomes all too evident when he tries to expand on the the concepts. He's stuck on, I'm a good guy, so what I do is good, in his own mind with the rest just fancy flavoring.
posted by gusottertrout at 10:41 AM on April 5 [4 favorites]


"I am not sorry for any of my intentions. I am not sorry for anything that I have ever done -- I've never been disrespectful, intentionally, to a man or a woman.

Generally when someone tells me that they *literally* have no regrets in life, I write them off as a sociopath. You can recognize that the mistakes you've made along the way are part of what have made you the person you are, life's rich tapestry, yadda, yadda, yadda, but if you're literally don't regret any mistakes you've made, you are just a bad person.

Similarly, saying "I am not sorry for anything I have ever done" and in the next breadth, acknowledging that you have, perhaps unintentionally, hurt people is really alarming. I have unintentionally hurt people in my life and I'm really sorry about that, I wish I could have not done those things. What the hell is wrong with someone who isn't sorry for hurting people?
posted by skewed at 10:44 AM on April 5 [15 favorites]


All the Women Who Have Spoken Out Against Joe Biden (NY Mag)
Last week, the Cut published an essay by Lucy Flores, a former Nevada lieutenant governor nominee, who wrote that Biden smelled her hair and kissed the back of her head at a campaign event in 2014. In the week since, six more women have come forward.
"This post will be updated if necessary."
posted by Little Dawn at 10:51 AM on April 5 [4 favorites]


Biden cracks jokes about his physical style at union speech (Politico)
Flores on Friday ripped into Biden, saying he didn't grasp the gravity of his accusers' complaints.

“It’s clear @JoeBiden hasn’t reflected at all on how his inappropriate and unsolicited touching made women feel uncomfortable,” she wrote on Twitter. “To make light of something as serious as consent degrades the conversation women everywhere are courageously trying to have.”

After his address Friday, Biden fielded questions about the allegations from reporters for the first time, where he continued to defend himself and insisted that he hadn’t been joking in his remarks.

“The president of the union put his arms around me — well, that's how it's always been. I've been coming here for a long time. That's how people react,” he said.
posted by Little Dawn at 12:14 PM on April 5 [1 favorite]


Maybe Obama should lean in and say, "Joe, this is a big fucking deal."
posted by agregoli at 12:22 PM on April 5 [17 favorites]


Either Obama has, and Biden has ignored him.
Or Obama hasn't because he doesn't really care much about Biden.

Either way, I think that if Obama had intended to do something, and Biden was receptive, it would have happened a long time back.

As it is, Biden's media team either can't even get him to hostage read an apology script, or they really are going all in on Boomer resentment as their strategy for victory and this is deliberate taunting of anyone not in the older, richer, more conservative cohort.
posted by sotonohito at 12:53 PM on April 5 [6 favorites]


(I was making a joke about when this happened.)
posted by agregoli at 12:58 PM on April 5


If you step on someone's foot, intentionally or not, you can either:
-pull your foot back and say you're sorry.
-immediately look for a reason it's their fault & you did no wrong.

One of these choices means you're an asshole.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:02 PM on April 5 [13 favorites]


HarrisX conducted a poll on this issue. tl;dr - the big majority don't view this as disqualifying, though that number varies signfiicantly with age.

Republicans are much more likely to view it as disqualifying than others, with 32% saying it disqualifies Biden. If you are wondering how they can simultaneously believe that these actions disqualify Biden while the much, much worse actions Trump brags about do not disqualify him, well you aren't a Republican.
posted by Justinian at 1:29 PM on April 5 [6 favorites]


I'm pretty skeptical of the language of that poll--saying that a politician is "disqualified!" has become something of a joke as the term became overused in click-baitey op-eds, and even ignoring that, it has no literal meaning. The only things that disqualify a presidential candidate are youth, lack of U.S. citizenship, or less than 14 years of residency in the United States.
posted by skewed at 1:47 PM on April 5 [2 favorites]


This post has been updated.

All the Women Who Have Spoken Out Against Joe Biden
(The Cut)

via ‘Creepy Joe’ Biden made women uneasy. Sorry shouldn’t be the hardest word (Gwenda Blair, Guardian Opinion)
[...] over the last week, after eight women have accused Biden of inappropriate touching, aka handsiness, his no-apology stance has turned into a very big deal.
posted by Little Dawn at 8:57 AM on April 7 [1 favorite]


Sen. Bennet says Biden controversy is no joke (Politico)
Likely Democratic presidential contender Michael Bennet on Sunday criticized former Vice President Joe Biden for joking about the controversy swirling around his touchy, avuncular style that some women say made them uncomfortable.

"I don't think anyone should make jokes about it," the Colorado senator told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union." "This is an important time in our country's history when women are coming forward and able to say when they've been made to feel uncomfortable, whether in a sexual way or a nonsexual way. People's voices should be heard on that."
posted by Little Dawn at 7:51 PM on April 7 [6 favorites]


Good for him for saying something.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 4:14 AM on April 8 [2 favorites]


I also noted Sen. Bennet during the shutdown. He gave a passionate floor speech that included discussion of what the founding fathers intended. He took the time during that speech to note that they were wrong about slavery, that it was evil, and that the people who worked to end slavery and to give women the vote are just as much founders as the "founding fathers." He took pains to point this stuff out even though it interrupted the flow of the speech and, frankly, weakened it rhetorically. So I'm not surprised to see him criticizing Biden. He'll probably end up as the Dem VP candidate.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 5:22 AM on April 8 [9 favorites]


He'd be a decent choice if Harris were the nominee. But there's an approximately 98.8217% chance that Biden or Sanders pick a woman as their VP if one of them wins, and Bennet is another white dude.
posted by Justinian at 1:38 PM on April 8


Biden launches 2020 bid warning ‘soul’ of America at stake (Steve Peoples and Thomas Beaumont, AP News)
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:36 AM on April 25


Joe Biden’s 2020 Campaign Won’t Take Lobbyist Money: But a Day One fundraiser with a Comcast executive shows the limits of his pledge.

Say what you will about the DCCC, but at least they waited a couple of weeks before explicitly breaking their fundraising promises.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:39 AM on April 25 [8 favorites]


In keeping with my pledge to not speak ill of a Democrat during the primary, my reaction to Biden's announcement is that I've really liked Elizabeth Warren's focus on policy.
posted by Etrigan at 6:39 AM on April 25 [24 favorites]


Joe Biden Is a Disaster Waiting to Happen:
If Biden has an ethos, it’s an antiquated, anachronistic centrism, not even focused on finding a pragmatic middle that most of the public can get behind, but on “reaching across the aisle.” In other words, somewhere between centrist Democrats and an increasingly far-right GOP lies the sensible, moderate, center-right voter that he believes populates the country.
The same author has written in-depth pieces on Biden's history on busing, mass incarceration, neoliberal economics, war and civil liberties, abortion, and immigration.posted by Ouverture at 6:57 AM on April 25 [7 favorites]


On April 4, One Second Before Awakening noted a recent remark by Biden - "The younger generation now tells me how tough things are—give me a break. No, no, I have no empathy for it, give me a break."

It should be noted that Biden was instrumental in getting the bankruptcy laws of the past 40 years passed, several times being the deciding committee vote or the token Democrat that could give the claim of 'bipartisanship'. To admit empathy for his victims would be too much to ask, I guess.
posted by Radiophonic Oddity at 6:58 AM on April 25 [13 favorites]


Yeah, let's be serious here: Biden is basically a walking talking failure to acknowledge the Overton window. He will pursue "bipartisan" support above all else, and will keep splitting the difference with the far right now matter how much farther right they move.

The right is not stupid when it comes to disingenuous cooperation -- they will happily pile upon him the adulation he so desires as he gives them everything they've ever wanted and more.
posted by tocts at 7:11 AM on April 25 [3 favorites]


I would take literally any of the other announced Democratic candidates over Biden. Even the worst of them will be easier to push left than he will, because he's so firmly lodged in the center-right and so connected, and because he has zero natural female/POC/GLBTQ/youth constituency to ground him in the issues faced by the majority. He is bad news. Hopefully as he becomes more known for his actual positions than for being a reminder of Obama, he'll fall in the polls.
posted by Frowner at 7:13 AM on April 25 [10 favorites]


In keeping with my pledge to not speak ill of a Democrat during the primary

Having never taken such a pledge, I'm hoping a cow kicks Biden square in the face and leaves a big hoofprint there and for the rest of the primary the media calls it "Hoofgate"
posted by Greg Nog at 7:16 AM on April 25 [15 favorites]


I too am not going to speak ill of a Democrat during a primary. I'm sort of in a pickle, though, because I don't know whether I should celebrate Biden's official announcement that he's running for President by giving money to Elizabeth Warren, by giving money to Bernie Sanders, or by giving money to both Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 7:18 AM on April 25 [7 favorites]


Charlie Pierce: Joe Biden's 2020 Announcement Claims America Is Better Than Donald Trump. Can He Prove It?
This is Biden channelling the spirit of Obama's famous breakthrough speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, a speech that subsequent history—and Mitch McConnell—have fed into the shredder, and a speech that the election of this president* proved to be woefully naive and, quite honestly, as full of shit as the Christmas goose. The fact is that many of us are not better than the politics we see today, that this moment in time is not as aberrant as Biden says it is. In 1968, Richard Nixon subtly stirred the same politics of resentment while simultaneously saying he would bring us together.

The current president* just doesn't bother with the second part, is all. We indeed are in a battle for the soul of this nation and one of the major fronts in that battle is just what the soul of this nation truly looks like. That question remains wide open.

Does Biden recognize this? Does his vaunted appeal to regular Joes and Janes blind him (and us) to the fact that a lot of those people have been digesting the ideological crud spooned out to them for so long that they've developed a taste for it, that a lot of the salt of the earth hath lost its savor? The arc of Joe Biden's long career almost perfectly traces the rise of conservative politics that culminated inevitably in the election of the current president. It tracks precisely the end of the Roosevelt coalition and the powerful salience among those same voters of appeals to racial and cultural hatred. It follows in close harmony the endless attempts by the Democratic Party to backtrack on its most profound principles in order to bring back people who have been taught to hate it day after day on their radios and television sets, and by the politicians who have convinced them that their lowest impulses are their highest triumphs, and that the better angels of their nature wear brass knuckles and carry a sap under their robes. To argue that we are better than the politics of the Trump Era requires a whopping offer of proof. Is Biden able to provide it?
posted by zombieflanders at 7:19 AM on April 25 [2 favorites]


The only things that disqualify a presidential candidate are youth, lack of U.S. citizenship, or less than 14 years of residency in the United States.

*natural-born* citizens. We naturalized citizens are excluded from eligibility for life, because fuck immigrants. (Though I wonder if there would be a case that the 14th Amendment supersedes the original Constitutional language.)
posted by tivalasvegas at 7:29 AM on April 25 [1 favorite]


I won't speak ill of Biden, but I'll say some true things:

(1) Biden would/will be almost certain to lose spectacularly to Trump

(2) The unlikely event of his winning 2020 would mean a disastrous one term presidency followed by president Tom Cotton who will institute actual, competent, no foolin' fascism of the sort that we would not survive as a country or as individuals.

(3) He's a bad and stupid person who will get us all killed

Oops, guess I spoke ill
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:34 AM on April 25 [8 favorites]


Biden would/will be almost certain to lose spectacularly to Trump

Why do you think so? Polls are of course notoriously unreliable at this point, but Biden is polling at +8 percentage points when head-to-head vs Trump.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 7:41 AM on April 25 [2 favorites]


In his quest for the secular grail of convertable Trump voters, he will manage to fail to convert them while also depressing Democratic base turnout. Seems like a not-great strategy.

I'm on team let's-not-have-another-white-dude-if-at-all-possible but at least Pete whatever-surname would probably be able to get Michigan and Wisconsin (outside chance of Ohio and Indiana) back.
posted by tivalasvegas at 7:46 AM on April 25 [6 favorites]


The nation's utterly tired of center-right neoliberal governance, and Biden is even more neoliberalism-made-flesh than the Clintons were.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 7:48 AM on April 25 [5 favorites]


Why do you think so? Polls are of course notoriously unreliable at this point, but Biden is polling at +8 percentage points when head-to-head vs Trump.

I say it because the polls now don't take into account Biden's coming failure to have any policy positions that concretely address material conditions and his inability to even acknowledge the failures of the Democratic party establishment that got us here in the first place.

People want a return to normalcy, and getting back Obama's lil' buddy from when things felt better is the reason he's so high in the polls. And that might well be enough to win him the primary, but it won't win the presidency: when push comes to shove there's no way in hell "let's get back to the status quo that led to Trump's election" beats Trump or, more importantly, whoever the next Trump is. The best case scenario is that it wins us a Obama-but-much-worse-third-term followed by whatever eternal darkness is to come.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:49 AM on April 25 [4 favorites]


I think Biden could win over Trump. I just wish we don't have to go there.
posted by mumimor at 8:03 AM on April 25


The same author has written in-depth pieces on Biden's history on busing, mass incarceration, neoliberal economics, war and civil liberties, abortion, and immigration.
a recent remark by Biden - "The younger generation now tells me how tough things are—give me a break. No, no, I have no empathy for it, give me a break."
It should be noted that Biden was instrumental in getting the bankruptcy laws of the past 40 years passed


If Biden had a (R) beside his name, he would be decried as one of the greatest political evils of the 20th century. I am really struggling to think of a single issue on which Biden would push an agenda that wouldn't be a wet dream for most Republicans.
posted by FakeFreyja at 8:10 AM on April 25 [8 favorites]


A master of optics right out of the gate, surely a sign of great things to come

The comments being half "uh rethink that layout" and half "please please please make Obama your VP" kinda sums up the state of affairs.
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:21 AM on April 25 [3 favorites]


Sorry but Biden's Merch Sucks Shit (Splinter)
posted by box at 8:54 AM on April 25 [4 favorites]


Maybe this is cynical of me, but when it comes to Joe Biden, does policy or position matter a whole lot? A great deal of the U.S. is still politically illiterate to the point where he could just point at himself and go " 'memba me? Obama! Me! Obama! Me!" and get a greater deal of votes off of name recognition than Elizabeth Warren could off of rock-solid policy. The 2020 primary race is his to lose at this point, IMO.
posted by Philipschall at 9:25 AM on April 25 [4 favorites]


The nation's utterly tired of center-right neoliberal governance, and Biden is even more neoliberalism-made-flesh than the Clintons were.

It would be nice if that were true but I have doubts.

47 percent of Democrats identify as either “moderate” (34 percent) or “conservative” (13 percent)
posted by octothorpe at 9:37 AM on April 25 [1 favorite]


Wonder what Joe's position on the cyber is.
posted by petebest at 9:48 AM on April 25 [1 favorite]


47 percent of Democrats identify as either “moderate” (34 percent) or “conservative” (13 percent)

Most of that article was spent explaining how "moderate" isn't really a cohesive thing. It then mostly concludes that the old white guy is the right person to win over moderates.
posted by tivalasvegas at 9:58 AM on April 25 [1 favorite]


Biden's announcement day, in his own words:

@JonathanTamari: Biden in Wilmington asked about a message to the rest of the world: “America’s coming back like we used to be”

Interesting message, but has he considered how well it would fit on a hat?

@GideonResnick: The most telling line in the Biden ad is his statement about people looking back at the Trump presidency as "an aberrant moment in time," while a host of his competitors [view] it as a natural byproduct of the direction of the GOP. If Trump is an indictment of a system, as opposed to a unique stain on the Oval Office, you get a pretty substantively different campaign and issue set as we're about to see

I see Biden is also going to campaign on the basis of the world as a series of polite fictions about what we want it to be in spite of the way that it is.
posted by zachlipton at 10:22 AM on April 25 [8 favorites]


it's just like if we've got to live in a dreamworld can't we live in a better dreamworld than the "the 90s were great let's bring 'em back!" dreamworld?

Like, if I'm going to take up residence in a dreamworld, in that dreamworld AOC has dragons. Three of them. This is non-negotiable. Any dreamworld where AOC has fewer than three dragons is simply not worth living in.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 10:38 AM on April 25 [9 favorites]


Let's return to the good times, when you were just worried about dying in the gutter of an easily treatable medical condition or of having your lifespan halved by climate change and not of being directly murdered by a fascist paramilitary*

*other than cops
posted by Rust Moranis at 10:57 AM on April 25 [6 favorites]


@GideonResnick: The most telling line in the Biden ad is his statement about people looking back at the Trump presidency as "an aberrant moment in time," while a host of his competitors [view] it as a natural byproduct of the direction of the GOP. If Trump is an indictment of a system, as opposed to a unique stain on the Oval Office, you get a pretty substantively different campaign and issue set as we're about to see

Right out of the gate, we see that Biden's dream is a more reasonable GOP to capitulate to.
posted by FakeFreyja at 10:58 AM on April 25 [7 favorites]




I must say, the one thing I truly appreciate about Biden is his power to bring folks together -- almost uniquely among Democratic primary contenders over the last decade or more, he has truly united Metafilter. It's such a pleasant respite from the wars behind and those ahead.
posted by chortly at 11:05 AM on April 25 [12 favorites]


The wise and talented Rebecca Traister in New York Magazine on why Biden is not the answer ends her comprehensive review with this:

In other words, a Supreme Court and decades of federal legislation shaped in part by Joe Biden and his party have managed to reverse many of the achievements of the 20th century’s most transformative social movements: the very achievements that had provoked the kind of backlash that politicians like Joe Biden were put in place to quell.

Very often, we are told — by people on television and in political media, perhaps by the people in our social circle and our families — that Joe Biden is the only way that Democrats can win in 2020. It’s a version of what we have been told over and over and over again for 50 years. But when I look at these last decades, I don’t actually see how much we’ve won with a party run by Those Guys. I see how much we’ve lost.


I couldn't agree more. His polling numbers cause me physical pain.
posted by 6thsense at 11:22 AM on April 25 [13 favorites]


can't we live in a better dreamworld than the "the 90s were great let's bring 'em back!" dreamworld?

The 90s were pretty damn great. The economy boomed. Poor neighborhoods benefited greatly. Crime dropped by more than a third. Teen pregnancy dropped to record lows. Black poverty dropped by almost a third, to record lows. Defense spending fell by a third. Plus, flannel!
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 11:45 AM on April 25 [6 favorites]


dragons or gtfo
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 11:50 AM on April 25 [4 favorites]


okay fine we'll do the 90s but with faster internet, no long distance phone calls, and also dragons.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:06 PM on April 25 [4 favorites]


The reason so many Democrats are running is they think Biden won’t survive.

This is true. But it's not clear to me that it isn't... the opposite of a self-fulfilling prophecy which I'm sure there is a word for but is escaping me. The more fractured the field the better chance folks with a solid core of support have of claiming the nomination, even if that core isn't close to 50% and is opposed by a majority. That's how Trump won the nomination with like 35% of the Republicans behind him (once he won that jumped to 90% of course).

Sanders' team is reported to believe he could win the nomination with as low as 30% of the total vote. That may also be true, but it means Biden could win the nomination with 30% of the total vote too and it still isn't clear Biden isn't the person most like to get 30% of the vote.
posted by Justinian at 12:10 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


that's perfect, I was really hoping these primaries would be fought in such a way that guarantees the maximum possible amount of frustration from every single person who's interested in candidates who fall outside the Benevolent Grandpa box
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:20 PM on April 25 [3 favorites]


Joe Biden seems to be saying, in effect, "I'm not like those other Democrats! Mitch McConnell hates THEM, but he's going to make an exception for ME!" While sweet fantasies of Tip-n-Ronnie! dance through his head.

NOOOOO. Because he won't and anyone who has been observing the political scene since about 2012 knows it, too. McConnell isn't going to suddenly make nice with a Democratic President just because he's white and male.

As for Trump being "an aberration" - no, doofus, no. Trump is, sadly, a good chunk of "reel 'Murka" or nobody would have voted for him. Russian ratfucking helped, the Electoral College helped, but they couldn't have actually put Trump over the top without the help of enough American voters, who looked at his message of hate and exclusion and pussy-grabbing and racism and said "Yeah, that's who I want!"

Yanno - the 90's were good to me. I had a great job, I was skinny, I was healthy as a horse and could hold my liquor, I wore Betsey Johnson and black lipstick, I had hot (if hipster asshole) boyfriends, I had two of the best cats in the world, I could afford to live in San Francisco. I would love to have all that back. Do I need to say This Ain't Gonna Happen? The 90's ain't coming back, Joe. They just are not. And Trump is a symptom, not a cause. If you don't get that, I question your fitness for President.

I want: President Warren and VP Harris, a Senate flipped to blue with Majority Leader Gillibrand, who will cackle as she turns Mitch McConnell over on his back in the sun. And Joe Biden to enjoy a nice cushy retirement.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 12:25 PM on April 25 [19 favorites]


I dunno, I liked Veep Biden. I was pleasantly amazed he kept it on the DL for 8 years. I mean, he's probably learned a lot from Obama, but the guy's got a reputation as a gaffe machine for some reason. I assume that will come out in the non-stop-talking that is the campaign trail. But in general I don't think he's history's greatest monster.

And there are days .. years .. minutes when I'd take pretty much anyone else. Pretty much. I'm all on board with the AOC Dragons, I say fire 'em up, but frankly there's a not-insignificant part of my political consciousness that's like, "Yeah, fine, Biden, whatever. It stop now?"

Although let me be clear (heh): Supporting impeachment is table stakes. Not supporting impeachment gets us another generation of Tom Daschles and we've already had too many.
posted by petebest at 12:35 PM on April 25


I agree with most of the policy critiques of Biden and why we should support someone else (the inappropriate touchy stuff goes without saying) but I'm seeing a lot of chatter in the usual quarters today about how nominating Biden would mean Trump wins and I don't understand the basis for that? All the polling has him as the strongest GE candidate, usually by a good margin. What's the counter argument? From where I'm sitting it looks like "I don't like him therefore I must argue he will lose".
posted by Justinian at 12:40 PM on April 25 [9 favorites]


All the polling has him as the strongest GE candidate, usually by a good margin. What's the counter argument?

Is it electoral college polling? I have no doubt that a hamster with an Uncle Sam hat could beat Trump in the popular vote. But the electoral college changes things. The candidate will need a lot of enthusiasm from people who are voting, but s/he will also need an enormous and systemic voter enfranchisement effort/GOTV effort in swing states. Biden maybe doesn't quite get the extent to which the GOP is going to try to straight-up steal this election so he may put his money in the wrong places / towards the wrong things. It also may be true that he is not able to mobilize the types of passionate volunteers who form the backbone of a successful voter enfranchisement/GOTV campaign. You can't pay for everything in campaigns---and the kind of scrappy fights that are going to need to happen to make this election work are where paid campaign labor really flops.

----
I don't necessarily believe or endorse the above, but that's the argument.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 12:57 PM on April 25 [3 favorites]


Biden's primary strength is reported to be in exactly those states which Trump flipped; the industrial midwest plus PA. Less enthusiasm for him in California doesn't matter when you're already winning the state by millions of votes.
posted by Justinian at 1:07 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


(This is yet another good argument for tossing the electoral college. Because it means prioritizing candidates who appeal to narrow slices of the electorate who happen to congregate in specific areas as opposed to people who appeal to much broader parts of the electorate who happen to live in other, less electorally important areas.)
posted by Justinian at 1:08 PM on April 25 [8 favorites]


Biden's primary strength is reported to be in exactly those states which Trump flipped; the industrial midwest plus PA. Less enthusiasm for him in California doesn't matter when you're already winning the state by millions of votes.

Again, not my argument:

You need enthusiastic volunteers on the ground in every state that Trump has a chance of winning. You need a lot of them. Those volunteers can (and probably will) come from other states.

Furthermore, as Biden's video suggests, if it's either him or the Nazi, this election day is not going to be people happily licking their ice cream cones on the way to the polls as the sun shines and the birds chirp. Not even in "the industrial midwest plus PA." It's going to be a knock-down drag-out fight, in some cases maybe even in the literal sense of the word.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 1:15 PM on April 25 [8 favorites]


NYT, Joe Biden Expresses Regret to Anita Hill, but She Says ‘I’m Sorry’ Is Not Enough

@AsteadWesley: Stating obvious here: Biden had 28 years to say something. Called weeks before his presidential launch

Biden's campaign doesn't call it an apology and just says "he shared with her directly his regret for what she endured and his admiration for everything she has done to change the culture around sexual harassment in this country," and Hill points out that's not good enough: "I cannot be satisfied by simply saying I’m sorry for what happened to you. I will be satisfied when I know there is real change and real accountability and real purpose...The focus on apology to me is one thing. But he needs to give an apology to the other women and to the American public because we know now how deeply disappointed Americans around the country were about what they saw."

Last year, Hill talked about how his failure to say anything had reached the point where it was a running joke in her household, to the point that if someone rings the doorbell unexpectedly, they ask "oh, is that Joe Biden coming to apologize?"
posted by zachlipton at 1:27 PM on April 25 [16 favorites]


Biden rolling out his campaign like a finely. tuned. machine.
posted by Justinian at 1:29 PM on April 25 [2 favorites]




30 Pictures that Define Joe Biden's Career (Buzzfeed)

Includes such iconic moments as shaking hands with a grinning Clarence Thomas, smiling broadly at Bill Barr, standing awkwardly behind a flag while four female Representatives discuss the Violence Against Women Act, sitting in a chair backwards at an elementary school (the vice president has also removed his jacket and rolled up his sleeves), getting a little close to women including Stephanie Carter and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and, just to end on a good one, double-fisting ice cream cones.
posted by box at 3:03 PM on April 25 [3 favorites]


Furthermore, as Biden's video suggests, if it's either him or the Nazi

I think Biden's use of Charlottesville as emblematic of Trump is communicating: "sure, old white people, you're racist and sexist, but surely you're not ok with Nazis."
posted by benzenedream at 10:33 PM on April 25 [3 favorites]


Alexander Burns in The New York Times: “Joe Biden’s Paid Speech Buoyed the G.O.P. in Midwest Battleground” (January 23, 2019):
Joseph R. Biden Jr. swept into Benton Harbor, Mich., three weeks before the November elections, in the midst of his quest to reclaim the Midwest for Democrats. He took the stage at Lake Michigan College as Representative Fred Upton, a long-serving Republican from the area, faced the toughest race of his career.
But Mr. Biden was not there to denounce Mr. Upton. Instead, he was collecting $200,000 from the Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan to address a Republican-leaning audience, according to a speaking contract obtained by The New York Times and interviews with organizers. The group, a business-minded civic organization, is supported in part by an Upton family foundation.
Mr. Biden stunned Democrats and elated Republicans by praising Mr. Upton while the lawmaker looked on from the audience. Alluding to Mr. Upton’s support for a landmark medical-research law, Mr. Biden called him a champion in the fight against cancer — and “one of the finest guys I’ve ever worked with.”
posted by Going To Maine at 10:53 PM on April 25 [7 favorites]


Joe Biden is part of the problem, not the solution.
posted by vac2003 at 12:53 AM on April 26 [7 favorites]


Also, Joe Biden did not tell Susan Bro, Heather Heyer's mother, that he would be invoking her daughter's murder in his presidential campaign launch video. ‘I wasn’t surprised,’ Susan Bro told The Daily Beast. ‘Most people do that sort of thing. They capitalize on whatever situation is handy.’

Biden called Heather Heyer’s mother hours after mentioning her death in campaign video:
Biden called around 4:30 p.m., Bro said during a Friday morning appearance on CNN, and told her he didn’t reach out initially because he didn’t know how that would make her feel.

“I said, ‘yes,’ I noticed you didn’t mention her name because you hadn’t contacted me. So, we acknowledged that much,” Bro said.
I guess it's easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.
posted by peeedro at 7:49 AM on April 26 [3 favorites]


I understand why he’s invoking Charlottesville but as someone who lived there for a while it does burn me up seeing how it’s about to become a political football (feels like a smaller scale Rudy 911). I sure am glad he canceled his asinine and insensitive plan to launch the campaign from there, which would have been really over the line. I get that not everyone feels as tender about it but I just hate knowing he’s going to be flogging it all over the media even if I agree with his underlying point. He’s a Delmarva local but he didn’t even go visit in the aftermath to try and bring comfort, which makes this feel more like a political calculation...

Ms. Bro continues to be 1000 times stronger than I would be in her situation.
posted by sallybrown at 8:24 AM on April 26 [2 favorites]


It's so obvious that Biden's boundary problems with women, specifically, go far beyond hair sniffing and shoulder squeezing. He just assumes they'll be his props, no questions asked. He did not ask Stacey Abrams if she wanted to be his VP - he just assumed she'd be grateful for the honor. (She was not.) Likewise, he just assumed that Susan Bro would be OK with his using her murdered daughter, Heather Heyer, as a campaign prop and that she'd be honored, etc.

It's this crass entitlement that makes me go ARRGHH! I'm entitled not just to sniff women's hair and get all handsy with them, I'm entitled to use them as campaign props and they ought to be grateful that someone like me will notice them!

Fuck that shit. #ElectWomen #Warren2020 #Kamala2020
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 10:18 AM on April 26 [15 favorites]


If Joe Biden wants my vote (who doesn't?) then he'll need to lead the charge to impeach Clarence Thomas. He needs to stop apologizing and start acting. Until such time, I will support other candidates, spread their policy statements and speak out against him. I very much enjoyed some Muscle-car Joe bantering during the Obama years but...if we must have a white man to lead us (seems like we must) then I think there are other, better white men. We can also chose a man of color! I do feel we are a nation ultimately more sexist than racist. See also Anita Hill v Clarence Thomas.
posted by amanda at 12:07 PM on April 26 [3 favorites]


Biden has announced his first-day fundraising. 6.3million, which is the highest of any of the candidates thus far and almost certainly will be the highest of any Democratic candidate when everyone is in. Average online donation was $41. Average donation of any sort was somewhere in the low to mid $60 range.
posted by Justinian at 12:33 PM on April 26


Recap and Analysis: Joe Biden’s Visit to ‘The View’
The show, hosted by an all-female panel, was an interesting choice of venue for the 76-year-old Democrat: Mr. Biden entered the race weeks after several women came forward to say his interactions with them had made them uncomfortable, and he is facing a fresh round of criticism for his treatment of Anita Hill during the 1991 confirmation hearings of Justice Clarence Thomas.

Responding to the hosts’ questions about Ms. Hill, Mr. Biden said, “I’m sorry she was treated the way she was treated.” And pressed to apologize for his physical interactions with women, he offered, “Sorry I invaded your space.”
I thought he was pretty weak and surprisingly unprepared on both issues.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:54 PM on April 26


Joe Biden, the master of not quite getting it (Monica Hesse, WaPo): "Joe Biden is becoming the master of not getting it. Of almost getting it, but not quite, and then explaining that he had gotten it, actually, but he did it when you blinked. He’s the master of being affable enough that some folks are willing to capitulate — you’re right, Uncle Joe, we’re being too sensitive — because the alternative might be to hamper an “electable” candidate right out of the gate."
posted by BungaDunga at 10:48 PM on April 26 [1 favorite]


As a graduate of the integrated Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, I think it always important to remind everyone that Joe Biden led the fight against busing for integration, the only method of school integration that actually integrated schools. And let's not pretend that his opposition to it was some sort of principled opposition to the burden placed upon the kids on the buses--it was about getting racist white people in Delaware to vote for him. Integration was fine while it was in the confederate states and mostly theoretical, but once people started talking about actually integrating all the schools in the US, Democrats came down hard against it, and Joe Biden led them there.

Especially in light of his invocation of Charlottesville and associating Trump with Nazis, let's not let Biden off the hook for his own complicity in white supremacy. Until he denounces his previous actions and openly speaks out against white supremacy (perhaps by talking about reparations like Elizabeth Warren), he's a 1970s candidate, not a 2020 candidate.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:30 AM on April 27 [4 favorites]


Dear America,

This one person on the other side of the world can't speak for anyone else outside the States, but personally, really really really hopes you don't elect Biden or Bernie.
posted by daybeforetheday at 6:09 AM on April 27 [6 favorites]


This one person on the other side of the world can't speak for anyone else outside the States, but personally, really really really hopes you don't elect Biden or Bernie.

Well, I have good news for you, and I have bad news for you...
posted by Huffy Puffy at 8:23 AM on April 27 [3 favorites]


> ...if we must have a white man to lead us (seems like we must) then I think there are other, better white men.

Don't give up! It's by no means certain yet.

Nate Silver of 538 sees Biden as the front runner, but also has Harris, Sanders and Buttigieg in the in the top tier in an analysis that takes into account the candidates' name recognition, fundraising and endorsements as well as raw polling data. Silver has this to say about Harris:
I still think Harris fits the Tier 1 description. There’s no real reason to think she can’t win. She raised a decent amount of money, her favorability ratings are roughly as good as anyone’s, party activists like her, and she’s the only woman or person of color in a top tier full of white dudes.

But I wonder why Harris hasn’t gotten more endorsements. Harris fits the archetype of a coalition-building candidate, and endorsements are a pretty good benchmark for how well you’re building your coalition. Instead, Biden pulled ahead in our endorsement tracker after just one day and is already getting endorsements from black leaders that Harris is missing.
I trust Nate and the rest of the stats nerds at 538 more than most pundits. Harris is still hanging in the there, even though she's not well known to people who don't live in California and hasn't gotten the 'shiny new thing' treatment from the media that Buttigieg has. Harris could still emerge as the consensus candidate. She's relatively moderate, but she supports Medicare for All, a crucially important issue for Sanders and Warren voters.

I'm a white male working-class Democrat in a purple state. I'm one those people the pundits claim Biden is supposed to appeal to – but, nope, I'm planning on voting for Harris in the primaries. I think she's the strongest candidate we've got, and think she'll make a good president.
posted by nangar at 10:00 AM on April 27 [5 favorites]


Instead, Biden pulled ahead in our endorsement tracker after just one day and is already getting endorsements from black leaders that Harris is missing.

That link is 404-ing. I think Harris has a solid chance and I absolutely would support her. However, if this is true that more black leadership is throwing their endorsements behind Biden then I feel like that falls in line with my sense that we are more sexist than racist. I also feel, in terms of who we think of as serious, that white women are really falling behind, have fallen behind. I think many, many people have actually had experience with strong, black women who don't take guff and put their reputation and energy on the line. Partially, I think that's due to how people of color need to do so much extra to prove themselves and be allowed a seat at the table. The women of color that we have currently representing our nation are some of the best of the best. Better than their white female peers, better than their white male peers. They sometimes lack the institutional finesse that their peers have but that's the system! That's by design.

Conversely, I think we all have experience of white women with plenty of systemic, institutional finesse and who use that to do fuck all. Or who use all their power and influence to fall in line with white men. It's a betrayal. So, maybe there's a backlash. I could be absolutely wrong about this but I think it's a small part of Warren's "problem" is just that she is a white woman. First, it's the woman part and second it's the white part. Even white women are sick of white women. Clinton (Hillary) was the closest to eclipsing that because of her bona fides.

Again, it's just a feeling I have. But, sexism seems pretty strong cross-culturally in a way that racism can feel more nuanced. It's all bad but one of them seems more acceptable and more fully baked in.
posted by amanda at 12:40 PM on April 27 [2 favorites]


Also, thinking more about this...Biden has shown (in some part) that he is not racist. He treats men of color well. He has not shown the same respect for women of color (hello?) or women in general. Feeling positively about women or protective of them does not show an attitude of equality or deference.
posted by amanda at 2:52 PM on April 27


He treats men of color well.
Unless they are poor, black, or Middle Eastern. In that case, Biden has supported systemic actions that have deprived millions of men (and women) of color of their lives and liberty inside and outside of America.
posted by Ouverture at 6:12 PM on April 27 [8 favorites]


Unless they are poor, black, or Middle Eastern.

Or under 40
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:10 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]


we are more sexist than racist.

Hm, when did black men get the vote again, vs. when all women did? Note the 50-year difference between the two?

Which is to say, I totally agree. Gender seems to be the very first "you're different from me! Must hate you!" trigger thing in our gene pool.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:26 PM on April 27


(It wasn't all women, though.)
posted by Iris Gambol at 9:48 PM on April 27


(It wasn't all women, though.)

And if people honestly think all black men could vote in 1870 (or even 1970), I'd love to hop into that much nicer timeline they're living in.

I'm not sure how much this has to do with Biden though. He's been and will continue to be bad news for people of all races and genders, except for the very wealthy.
posted by Ouverture at 9:55 PM on April 27 [7 favorites]


Obviously, there's a candidate I prefer and plan to vote for in the primaries. I hope by the time the primaries are over enough people in the Democratic Party agree with me that I get to vote for her again in the general.

I do not go along with efforts portray any Democratic candidate, or their supporters, as manifestations of absolute, pure evil. I don't think any of the announced Democratic candidates are as bad or worse than Trump. I intend to vote for the Democratic nominee even if they're not who I voted for in the primaries.

We had enough of that hateful bullcrap last time around. I hope the moderators are willing to ban people who persist in engaging in these kinds of hateful attacks this primary season.
posted by nangar at 10:38 PM on April 27 [7 favorites]


Definitely whiffs of 2016! It's much worse in the usual places like /r/politics than on Metafilter but it is absolutely becoming depressing.
posted by Justinian at 10:44 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]


Maybe we can agree that sexism and racism have all been and will continue to be horrible in their own particular ways until long after we're dead, so let's do what we can about both of them while accepting that someone born today will, 30 years from now, definitely think that we were all awful about something.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:11 PM on April 27 [4 favorites]


I think they'll definitely think that we were all awful about something if we re-elect Trump and Pence because progressive or moderate Democrats didn't think Biden/Harris/Bernie/Buttigieg deserved to be the nominee, and they're still dealing with the consequences of that.
posted by nangar at 11:42 PM on April 27


This severe JCPL spike is doing little for my blood pressure. :|
posted by snuffleupagus at 11:53 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]


I think they'll definitely think that we were all awful about something if we re-elect Trump and Pence because progressive or moderate Democrats didn't think Biden/Harris/Bernie/Buttigieg deserved to be the nominee, and they're still dealing with the consequences of that.

I suspect it will have more to do with our not all being vegetarian, or having owned cars, or failed to advocate the right kind of reparations, or whatever. We will turn out to have been critically wrong on issues we didn't even know were issues. So let's just do our best and get rid of the electoral college now before more kids make us feel bad about it.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:07 AM on April 28 [1 favorite]


I don't think comparing sexism to racism is a good idea (and consider that, if you're white, you may not have the full picture of racism in the US.)
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 12:29 AM on April 28 [11 favorites]


Hm, when did black men get the vote again, vs. when all women did? Note the 50-year difference between the two?

This is truly off base. Securing voting rights—for black men and women—was the cornerstone of the civil rights movement of the mid-1900s. It was the driving force behind Freedom Summer, behind the VRA of 1965 and so much else. I’m disappointed to read this on Metafilter.

Pitting women and men of color against each other (with women of color caught and usually ignored in the middle) has never been anything but a fool’s game. Solidarity is the only thing that’s helped all of us rise.
posted by sallybrown at 8:45 AM on April 28 [12 favorites]


From what I understand, a group of African-American women voters was surveyed in South Carolina, and they loved Joe Biden because they saw him as a steadfast ally to our first black President, Barack Obama. He didn't try to undermine or overshadow Obama, so this particular sample of voters felt Biden was an ally who could be trusted. The survey was on Twitter and now I can't find the original link.

And, of course, many Democrats of every race, gender and creed feel burned by 2016 and want what they consider a "safe" option, and they feel that is Biden.

I do not feel this way - I am ready and rarin' to go for a woman in 2020 - Harris, Warren, or Gillibrand. Or, if I want a white guy, Jay Inslee is my man. Inslee has governing chops, he's a liberal and a climate hawk; he's not going to set crowds on fire, but he'd be a good safe pair of progressive hands in the WH.

The primaries are a time to vote our hearts. We don't have to play it safe in the primaries. Vote for Elizabeth Warren or John Delaney or Deez Nutz or whoever makes your heart sing in the primary. That's what primaries are for (and voting for "electability" alone gets candidates like Kerry who people like only because they are "safe" - who would attack a war veteran, right? Right? lolsob). Then, in the general, that's the time to #VoteBlueNoMatterWho and hold your nose if necessary.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 3:57 PM on April 28 [6 favorites]


As recently as mid-January, Hunter Biden thought his complicated personal life (he'd taken up with his brother Beau's widow, Hallie, in 2016, while separated from his then-wife Kathleen) would not affect his father's presidential run (Vanity Fair has his statement); now the couple appears to have split (PageSix). Looks like he was right.
posted by Iris Gambol at 7:39 PM on April 30




"Biden’s support is driven by older Democrats and by nonwhite Democrats — two groups that aren’t always well-represented on social media or in other forums that sometimes dictate the conventional wisdom about the candidates. Biden had 50 percent of nonwhite voters in the CNN poll, well ahead of Sanders’s 14 percent. In Morning Consult’s poll, Biden polled at 43 percent among black Democrats, compared to Sanders’s 20 percent. Biden had 46 percent support from Democrats age 50-64 in CNN’s poll and 50 percent support from those 65 and older."
posted by clawsoon at 7:23 AM on May 1


Jesus. It's going to be Biden, isn't it?

All my hope that his lead was just name recognition, not any actual measure of real support, was just so much whistling in the dark...

Fuck.
posted by sotonohito at 9:36 AM on May 1 [2 favorites]


I expressed that to my wife and she reminded me that he has almost a year of being in the spotlight in front of him before the voters actually vote in the primaries. There's a ton of ways that he can fuck up between now and then. I'd say that he's by far the favorite to win right now but still far from being a sure thing.
posted by octothorpe at 9:41 AM on May 1 [4 favorites]


Warren is also gaining in the polls - she may prove to be the electoral tortoise in this race. As it is, I am swooning hard for all her policies. And, yes, I think she is "electable."

I noted also that Bernie Sanders is bleeding votes - many of them to, would you believe, Joe Biden, who is as opposite policy-wise as he can get. I think what we are seeing is "I'm just gonna vote for the white guy, kthx; if this one isn't likely to win then I'll vote for the other one."

More encouragingly, Warren seems to be picking up some Sanders supporters as well, probably because she is backing up talk with policy - reams of it.

I still like Harris and Gillibrand and hope they pick up some momentum. Or, failing that, a cabinet position.

One final, final note: We need the Senate. Bad. A President Biden + blue Senate would at least be able to get some things done. A President Warren + red Senate would be stymied at every turn. (See: Obama, Barack, second term of) We need to defend Doug Jones - luckily our only vulnerable Democratic Senator (barring any damning missteps or scandals or poor campaigns in swingier states) and flip as many as we can. Colorado should be a gimme by now, and Arizona should be in our reach as well. Iowa, North Carolina, Georgia are stretch goals but we need to try.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 10:16 AM on May 1 [8 favorites]


Look, the Kentucky Derby is this weekend and it’s basically the same thing. Biden’s the early favorite; if you had to pick one he’s probably the most likely. But the overwhelming favorite is really the field.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 10:22 AM on May 1 [1 favorite]


Perhaps the real story is less that Biden is the favorite and more that Bernie is not actually the favorite.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:49 AM on May 1 [4 favorites]




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