Do we, now? How convenient to have discovered this “overcorrection” at just the precise moment that it endangers a Democrat politician. Politico’s Marc Caputo talked with four Democrat advisers to potential running-mate candidates for Joe Biden, and they seem to have suddenly found a whole lotta nuance in their previously comprehensive standard to “believe all women.” Nineteen months ago, when Brett Kavanaugh vehemently denied ambiguous and uncorroborated allegations of assault as a teenager, Joe Biden himself declared a new standard:
Former vice president Joe Biden, who was scrutinized for his handling of sexual harassment allegations made in Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s 1991 Senate confirmation hearings, said Monday night that any woman’s public claims of assault should be presumed to be true. …
Speaking generally, Biden added, “For a woman to come forward in the glaring lights of focus, nationally, you’ve got to start off with the presumption that at least the essence of what she’s talking about is real, whether or not she forgets facts, whether or not it’s been made worse or better over time. But nobody fails to understand that this is like jumping into a cauldron.”
That was then, and that was a Republican. This is now, and it’s the presumptive Democratic nominee for the presidency — and perhaps their client’s big brass ring, too. Suddenly, these Democrats think that they have overcorrected on #MeToo and want to endorse due process instead.
It’s a little late for that, no? No, they argue:
Advisers to four of the potential candidates who spoke to POLITICO — none of whom would go on record — expressed what they described as a sense of frustration that accusations against Biden are being examined more intensely than the more numerous allegations against President Trump.
The advisers all said they hoped Biden would speak out soon, but conceded there’s no way he — or those in contention to be his running mate — can continue to avoid the subject as they run for office or jockey to be on the Democratic ticket.
“‘Believe the woman’ didn’t mean believe all women, all the time. But this is an era of slogans and we’re paying the price for that,” said an adviser to one of the women under consideration, noting Reade’s story changed over the time.
“The #MeToo movement was an over-correction to decades of ignoring women and not believing them. And what we’re seeing now is a result of that over-correction,” the adviser said. “It’s not ideal. It’s not what we want to be talking about.”
That’s actually an accurate statement, but the belated enlightenment on due process is also hypocritical and self-serving. Democrats from Joe Biden on down established that “believe all women all the time” was indeed the proper meaning of their approach. Biden himself made that clear even outside of the sloganeering. To do less would be to attack victims/survivors and silence them. Indeed, as Caputo recalls, one of the presumed contenders for the Biden ticket explicitly declared that to be her biggest fear in the wake of the Kavanaugh debacle, just a month after Biden’s demand to believe all women:
[Kamala] Harris told reporters that in the wake of the Kavanaugh hearings, her “biggest fear is that there will be a group of people who retreat, right? That’s my biggest fear, that there will be people who will decide that if they speak out it doesn’t matter, and will feel deflated by what happened in a way that causes them to recede.”
She said, “That’s part of why I’m here today: to remind people that their voices really do matter, and they have to speak, and speak out and speak up and that they matter.”
Later, Harris called the Kavanaugh hearings “a denial of justice for the women of this country and sexual assault survivors — men and women — in this country.”
Now what does Harris think? Er …
Harris told The Chronicle that Reade “has a right to tell her story. And I believe that and I believe Joe Biden believes that, too.”
Harris said the case raises “a bigger structural issue, frankly, which is that women must be able to speak without fear of retaliation.”
The senator said she could “only speak to the Joe Biden I know. He’s been a lifelong fighter, in terms of stopping violence against women.” She pointed to his lead role in passing the Violence Against Women Act in the Senate in 1994.
“The Joe Biden I know is somebody who really has fought for women and empowerment of women and for women’s equality and rights,” Harris said.
That’s a far cry from Believe All Women. No one ever disputed that women had a right to speak in public to accuse politicians of sexually assaulting them. That wasn’t the standard Harris, Biden, and other Democrats wanted applied in September 2018, however. They demanded that everyone believe those claims even absent any evidence and deny office to those who couldn’t adequately prove that it never happened. They wanted the same burden of proof seen at the Salem Witch Trials — at least until now, when it’s a Democrat in the dock.
Just how craven and hypocritical has this sudden embrace of due process and presumption of innocence become? Even CNN’s Alisyn Camerota can’t quite let Nancy Pelosi off the hook when she claims to have been “satisfied” by Biden’s response. “To be clear,” Camerota replies, “he hasn’t addressed it — his campaign has addressed it, but he has not directly addressed it. Should he directly, publicly address it?” Pelosi never directly answers that question, instead preferring to lie that no one ever accused Biden of a pattern of such behavior — and then changes the subject. Get used to that.
Pretty incredible: Pelosi says she is “satisfied” with how Biden has responded to Reade’s allegations.
Camerota reminds Pelosi that Biden has not actually responded himself & asks if he should. Pelosi dodges, says, “You know, it is a matter that he has to deal with.” pic.twitter.com/P4Ns678AhY
— Mary Margaret Olohan (@MaryMargOlohan) April 30, 2020