More women coming forward about Biden:
Vail Kohnert-Yount said she was a White House intern in the spring of 2013 and one day tried to exit the basement of the West Wing when she was asked to step aside so Biden could enter. After she moved out of the way, she said, Biden approached her to introduce himself and shake her hand.
“He then put his hand on the back of my head and pressed his forehead to my forehead while he talked to me. I was so shocked that it was hard to focus on what he was saying. I remember he told me I was a ‘pretty girl,’ ” Kohnert-Yount said in a statement to The Post.
She described feeling uncomfortable and embarrassed that Biden had commented on her appearance in a professional setting, “even though it was intended as a compliment.”
“I do not consider my experience to have been sexual assault or harassment,” she stated, adding that she believes Biden’s intentions were good. “But it was the kind of inappropriate behavior that makes many women feel uncomfortable and unequal in the workplace.”
I don’t like people touching me without permission- why is it so hard to understand that women may not want to be touched by Biden? I mean, personally, the list of people I want to touch me includes my doctors and nurses, my LMT, the ladies at the nail salon, and maybe a handful of other people. The end.
The thing about this that is so vexing is that I don’t think Biden is some sort of old pervert who is doing this out of some sexual perversion. I don’t think he is trying to dominate these women or do anything like that- I’ve seen video of him hugging it out with guys and invading people’s personal space. And I don’t think the women coming forward are doing this out of political motivation (I’ve seen people suggest Lucy Flores is a big Bernie supporter so that is why she is doing this), particularly since most of the women who have come forward have specifically stated that they like the guy and don’t think it was sexually motivated. It was just inappropriate.
I mean ffs just google “Joe+Biden+hugging” and you will see that if something has been alive in the past seventy years within five meters of Joe Biden he has hugged the fuck out of it. He’s a jocular guy and he’s handsy as fuck and it worked well in retail politics for him for years. But that doesn’t make it any less inappropriate. And it doesn’t mean that this shit isn’t going to be electoral poison.
Just don’t fucking touch people.
West of the Rockies
I’d rather he not be our nominee, but, yeah, the sudden chorus of “Joe rubbed my shoulders” seems altogether oddly timed. No one came forward when he was VP for two terms. A campaign to benefit Sanders (hence Trump) seems very possible.
My first red carpet for a series premiere I worked on, one of the producers stopped to take a photo with me & my friend. And casually just stroked my back from my mid-back to my butt. I’d never even met him before. This went on for the longest 6 seconds as the cameras & video crew took their pictures. Some men are so inured to considering that women are not there for their hands, they literally pet us like we’re some sort of animals. I could say it’s generational – and some of it is – but a lot of it is a cultural failing in instilling respect for a woman’s bodily autonomy in men and women. It’s disheartening to see how folks are twisting themselves into knots to excuse Biden for things they’d be livid about if he was a republican. Shake hands & ask if it’s ok to hug. That’s it. And don’t sniff women!
This attempt to slime a good Democrat has been brought to you by Bernie Sanders/Kremlin productions.
Where are the tax returns, asshole?
As a man who also has major issues with being touched unexpectedly (and yes a cis-het man who is not okay with being touched by women without permission).; I co-sign this fully. I get some people are like that sometimes it’s endearing, sometimes it’s creepy, but they more or less consider our feelings irrelevent.
Anonymous At Work
The ladies at the nail salon? Nail salon wasn’t in south Florida, was it?
Sorry, couldn’t resist. Delete if needed.
In the first picture McCrory is leaning into & hugging Biden who is standing straight up.
The second shows Obama tightly hugging Biden as well.
This last one is the only pic showing Biden holding another male without reciprocation.
Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism
OT: Fire destroys a building at Highlander Center, burning ‘decades of archives’
Not mentioned in the article are rumors of Iron Guard graffiti.
Darrin Ziliak (formerly glocksman)
Biden shouldn’t close any Doors behind him…
Jim Morrison aside, I don’t like people invading my personal space like he does sometimes.
Was he trying to sexually harass those women?
I don’t know, but I do know that most of the women I know are very uncomfortable when someone they don’t know well touches them like that.
In the end, I wasn’t going to vote for him anyway, so the allegations don’t make a difference for me in deciding who to back.
@West of the Rockies:
The Other Bob
I just don’t want to have a double standard when “our side” is accused. I am unsure about Biden. It seems like he might be kinda old-guy weird, not a perv.
@West of the Rockies:
I find this argument offensive, because it implies that coming forward now is insincere or opportunistic. There is never any upside for women coming forward about this stuff, and those who are doing it now are presumably doing it precisely because Biden is planning to run for president.
There’s nothing wrong with that, any more than there was anything wrong with Christine Blasey Ford coming forward only when Kavanaugh was headed for the Supreme Court.
Regardless, Biden’s touchiness was very well known while he was VP. What has changed is not the acceptability of his behavior (it never was appropriate for a politician to stick his nose in the hair of a teenager he doesn’t know), but that women now feel empowered to speak out against it.
Darrin Ziliak (formerly glocksman)
@The Other Bob:
Biden? Yeah, he doesn’t give off the “old perv” vibe.
Trump? He oozes it.
I live and teach in higher ed in the south. I also don’t like people fucking touching me period (I’m a dude) and my colleagues have pretty much figured that out. I imagine that academic situations are kind of like political ones where there’s some grey area between social and professional, there’s often alcohol around, etc. I don’t get within 5 feet of my students except on graduation day, and it still feels creepy giving them a hug when they ask for one.
There is book for sale on Amazon called Hugs from Obama: A Photographic Look Back at the Warmth and Wisdom of President Barack Obama
And heaven forbid we suspect Bernfeelers or Putin admirers of being insincere or opportunistic.
The interesting thing is that Trump apparently is handsy as fuck, but no reputation for hugging.
CNN masturbating furiously because Congressman Tim Ryan has announced he is running for the Democratic nomination.
I don’t want Bidden to be the nominee but this is kinda slimy. Sure, Uncle Joe crossed several lines. But to me this more like what happened to Al Franken than anything else. And on that note I was really pissed to see Kirsten Gillibrand weigh in convicting Uncle Joe just like she did Al.
I like you Kirsten. Thankfully there is a great field of candidates so I won’t be supporting you (unless you win the nomination).
Joe has such a history of the touching, that finding lots of people that don’t regard it as business as usual and OK is probably like falling off a log – easy peasy.
So when Joe is polling well and thinking of running it’s going to be a big story. Because it tells a story of Democrats with issues. It’s a negative, and that will always be news.
For obvious reasons, I’m seeing a major parallel between Biden and a certain disgraced top executive in my own industry. The offenses are extremely similar, too — they publicly hugged and touched people who were uncomfortable with it but felt they couldn’t say no.
This is definitely a societal change that is now catching up to people. It’s a positive change, IMO, but we are in a transitional period where men who genuinely did not intend to harass women or make them feel uncomfortable are finding out that they did exactly that.
The men who did not have any malicious or harassing intent, as seems to be the case with Biden, will be horrified and apologize profusely. The ones who don’t apologize or who defend their behavior are the ones to watch out for.
And, yes, I think we can say that it’s not cool that Biden was doing this but also give him some time to demonstrate that he really did hear the message and will not be doing this going forward. “Coulda shoulda woulda” does nobody any good.
Biden isn’t my first choice as nominee but I would sure as hell vote for him and I’m not going to deny his strength as a candidate (if he ever chooses to run.)
The “Biden got into my personal space” stories are weird and sound politically timed. They are also not worthy of being news. A big middle finger to anyone trying to suggest Biden is a perverted degenerate. He most emphatically is not.
You’ve lost the plot completely. Stick with your homophobic rants.
Nice to see my disappointment will be unabated.
@Mnemosyne: A lot of men need a wakeup call & not to be comforted that they’re still nice guys.
We also need to stop making it into a conspiracy theory.
@West of the Rockies:
How the hell do you know that women haven’t been complaining about Biden for years? Just because the NYT wasn’t covering it back then doesn’t mean people weren’t aware of Biden and/or complaining about him. When men in positions of power get caught up in this sort of thing it is almost always the case that women have known and complained about it for years and were ignored. Or, as is often the case, were smart enough to know they were going to be ignored and so just warned each other privately and didn’t make a public stink.
Honestly I think this has more to do with Biden’s age than any grand conspiracy hatched by the Sandernistas. He’s just a man from another era and really not suited to lead a diverse country in 2020 and beyond. If Biden were to be elected in 2020 he would be taking office at age 79 which is TWO YEARS OLDER than Ronald Reagan was when he left office in 1989, riddled with Alzheimers and dimentia. Frankly, the same problem exists with Sanders.
For me, Biden’s handsiness with others, while definitely a potential source of serious embarrassment, is a minor reason why he shouldn’t run for president. I think it’s more significant that he’ll be really old for a candidate; that he ran twice before and was a weak candidate; that this time around his main selling point is name recognition. When Biden says, “Oh, stewardess, I can speak Republican,” he sounds wilfully naive rather than realistic.
I think one thing that’s important to understand is, most of the people talking about Biden have the same reassurances that they don’t think he intended to *make* them feel badly, but that doesn’t mean his behavior wasn’t impolite, and hopefully, *unthinkingly* disrespectful.
In Pulp Fiction, Vincent and Jules (or Barbarino and Samuel L, if you prefer) debate whether a foot rub to a wife is cause to get a husband violently jealous, and Vincent expresses a key concept – “okay, if foot rubs aren’t intimate behavior toward a woman, fine. You know, *I* could use a good foot massage!” and pressing Jules to admit that, okay, right, he WOULD NOT give a guy a foot massage.
If a guy engages in “I’m a man, and you’re a woman” behavior with a woman who hasn’t welcomed it, in public, one of two things is going on.
Either he’s engaging in some form of intimacy – maybe flirtatiously, but maybe he’s getting off a bit on it, and, key part here, without invitation/consent. That’s icky, and she’s trapped – she can’t say “this icky perv is using me to get off” (Yes, I know, not *all the way*, but a guy doesn’t have to blow his nose for you to be horrified that he he’s got a handful of your dress that he’s looking like he might use as a hanky if given the chance.)
Or he’s not, but it’s still an uncomfortable and awkward situation, and, there’s all kinds of ways for it to end with her being a horrible, rude, ball-buster, just for saying “Whoa, friend, my body; my choice; that includes foreheads, okay?”
No decent guy wants to put a woman in either of those situations, and it’s not a bit about “political correctness” and *all* about “trying to treat people with decency and respect.”
Oh, wait, many of the people who talk about Political Correctness *are* angry at demands to treat people with decency and respect.
Really? It didn’t originate with a Bernfeeler?
Take away imply and we have a deal.
Game over, man. Game over*. You can’t even build a campfire and sing a few songs to save this campaign.
(*The movie is Aliens, for those looking for the reference.)
@Amir Khalid: His relationship with David Fucking Brooks is the thing that automatically eliminates Biden from my consideration. That and his history of handsy behavior demonstrate his utter cluelessness.
I think Biden’s behavior is generational. My dad is like this. It’s was was deemed acceptable for affectionate men of a certain generation for a long time. Now it’s not. I thought Biden’s statement addressing the issue was spot-on. I’m frankly uninterested in and unimpressed by people coming forward to talk about what they say is not assault and not harassment and not an unwanted sexual advance and not even preferential hiring or promotion practices, just something that made them feel uncomfortable. This is the worst combination of age-old American puritanism and newish confession culture. And, yes, it does remind me of the accusations that Franken’s hand touched someone’s back when a picture was being taken. Good going, MeToo. I’m a woman who has seen lots of sexism in her professional life and I think this naming and shaming for trivial offenses that will destroy someone’s reputation forever is gross.
ETA: I don’t think Biden should run because I don’t have the sense that he’s offering much in the way of solutions to the disappearing middle class in this country but I couldn’t give a hoot that he’s a bit too affectionate for some people’s comfort zone.
I say this as someone who is not warm or affectionate, except for people that I REALLY know- that I understand that other people are with absolute strangers – and that there are those who don’t have a creepy motive behind it.
I have had people that made me uncomfortable, but, I didn’t take offense because I know who I am and I know who they are. Intent means a lot.
I don’t believe all women and won’t start now.
This thread is basically a real time illustration of why it’s so easy for the right to weaponize the left’s good intentions against them.
hells littlest angel
Yeah, Old Handsome Joe is just a weirdo, which, of course, no longer disqualifies one from being President.
But for that matter, neither does being a sexual predator.
So go ahead and run, Joe. I like you, but not so much that I wouldn’t love to see Kamala Harris humiliate you.
And we get yet another candidate next week:
Not that I disagree with his views, but I’m not sure that having a “campaign focused on gun control” is the way to go.
You want to die on the Biden hill?
@West of the Rockies:
How the hell do you know that women haven’t been coming forward and talking about Biden for years? Seems like it has been an open secret for at least a decade. It’s just that the NYT wasn’t covering it as front page news back then. I know for sure that the Onion was on the case. https://politics.theonion.com/shirtless-biden-washes-trans-am-in-white-house-driveway-1819570732
@LongHairedWeirdo: Well put. This is why his age matters I think. He’s from an era when the women around him in positions of power were the rare exception, and that difference in status allowed him the ability to disregard the agency of those women, however benignly intended, by doing the huggy thing. Even though isn’t an intent to be sexual, there is coded in that behavior an assumptions that he has the right to do that (unless he’s explicitly asking permission, and even that isn’t really adequate when there’s a significant power differential).
@Mandalay: I’m scrubbing that image from my mind because I just ate lunch.
See post #2.
Not particularly. I think Biden is the wrong candidate at the wrong moment.
But I’m not remotely on board with the Donald Trump gropes genitals uninvited, Joe Biden touches shoulders uninvited, so “both sides do it!” false equivalency that our enemies are pushing.
West of the Rockies
I doubt it will happen, but I’d sure like to see wgat a Harris/Abrahms administration would look like. Pretty sure there’d be no creapster allegations going around.
My wife’s family is mostly very Catholic. Many of them are very huggy. Always kind of creeps me out as my non practicing WASP family is not. My theory has been the “peace be with you” routine at mass cultivated their behavior. Biden is very Catholic. At work when men shake men’s hands and hug out the women, again I get creeped out and offer an often awkward hand to the women.
So, you think the Biden accusations are a false equivalency? Ok.
No one would have brought this up in 2008 because in 2008, short of “Did Biden stick his unwanted p3n!s in you while you were 100% sober?” no one would have taken any complaint seriously (okay, I exaggerate, but not by a whole hell of a lot). #metoo has empowered a lot of women to talk about the many, many ways we are made to feel unentitled to our own bodies. And sure, it may not always be a sexual thing, but it’s always, always a power thing.
I don’t get particularly weirded out by touch, but pulling someone you don’t know in to rub noses with them? Making a point of smelling an acquaintance’s hair? That’s weird. And I’ve yet to see any evidence of Biden doing those kinds of things with men.
It’s not about sexual harassment, specifically. It’s about seeing women as equal in worth to men. And a willingness to treat women with a familiarity that one doesn’t treat men with is indicative that a person doesn’t really see them as equals.
The flip side is, “why is so and so aloof and afraid to shake hands? Is he/she a germophobe?”
You will never, ever make anyone happy. But yes, don’t sniff women. Period.
Biden is a dead man walking. He’s the choice of well-meaning white folks who can’t quite figure out who they might be ok with once Biden faceplants.
Considering that one is misdemeanor sexual assault, and the other is touching shoulders, I’d have to answer that with an: Uh huh.
We aren’t talking misdemeanors – we are talking electability. See my comment @ 49.
LOL this is so obviously wrong in a professional setting in America in 2013 and some of you are treating it like it’s some Sanders conspiracy to tank Biden. It’s always wrong to go forehead-to-forehead with a someone you just met in that setting; more so when there’s a power imbalance and veep vs intern is a pretty big one.
Occam’s razor said she came forward for the same reasons everyone else comes forward after the dam breaks in every other creepy-dude story. Was there a conspiracy against Trump, Weinstein, Brett Kavanaugh, Kevin Spacey, Bill Cosby, etc, etc, etc too? Can’t you just take women at their words?
@Mandalay: Congressman who came for Nancy Pelosi because he said so plans a presidential run?
Hard Pass. Hard. Pass.
Actually, we were talking false equivalency.
But I agree that Biden isn’t the most electable candidate. He has name recognition at this point, but he’s too old and his ideas are of a different time. I’d prefer he just stay retired and enjoy playing with his grandkids.
@The Other Bob: He’s from a huggy family. I am not. Huggers don’t always recognize that their hugging everyone might not be welcome. My husband’s darling aunt Kathleen was a hugger and it startled me the first time it happened, when I was about 18, but I liked this new experience. My family rarely hugged each other, no matter how happy or how sad we were. I felt like I’d missed something. Now all sorts of people hug me and I don’t mind, although if I’ve just met them I’m a little startled.
The thing Ruemara described, though, that’s just ICK! When I was in college I sang in the choir. When we did a concert we stood on risers, and for one rehearsal I was directly in front of a tenor who decided it was funny to bounce his crotch against the back of my head. In rhythm, of course. I’m short and he was long-legged, so a perfect target for this nonsense.
I turned to look questioningly (as in, WTF?) at him after the third bounce made me realize it was deliberate, and he just smiled. Total asshole. Later I heard that this was mild behavior for him.
Ok. You think touching folks who don’t want to be touched isn’t misdemeanor assault? Lol. See Cole above. Do you see what I am saying? If I can pick at your argument over “being touched”, there’s no way this ends well for Biden.
It’s called voyeuristic sex abuse. When Donald Trump behaves this way around Ivanka we all recognize what it is. What these women describe is more than a friendly hug. Guys, how many of your buddies smell your hair? If a man was smelling your wife’s hair would you view it as non-sexual?
A man who can’t or won’t conceal his desire for sex with his daughter it’s called voyeuristic sex abuse. Isn’t it the same thing when a powerful man does it?
I’m not so sure about that. I definitely recall a brouhaha after Dubya (who was just as touchy-feely in a non-sexual way as Biden) rubbed Merkel’s shoulders at a G8 summit.
Anyway, this NYT article from 2006 makes it clear that we can blame the vile Frank Fucking Luntz for all the politicians groping:
@Z: I see men and women hugging at the start and end of business meetings all the time, since the early 80’s to the present.
I’m pretty sure that Joe Biden feels like he is damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t. If he doesn’t choose to run, the narrative will be that he’s not running because women are coming out against him and he never gets a chance to redeem his reputation. If he does choose to run, they will never stop with this and his candidacy will be doomed.
Joe is not a perv, he’s a politician in a style whose time has long passed. He’s not Daddy Bush with a reputation for grabbing women’s asses — even at a funeral — but it doesn’t matter because the dogs are out and there’s blood in the water for Biden.
Not saying that he hasn’t made a ridiculous amount women uncomfortable over the years but anyone coming out now with a new story about Joe in 19-whatever is either looking for their 15 minutes of fame or is naive if they think that adding “but I didn’t think Joe was being a perv” is going to matter one whit.
Joe, if you had decided NOT to run when you should have — because if you can’t read the tea leaves when they are staring you in the face, you don’t belong running anyway — you could have spared yourself and your family all of this. Wishing for wisdom for Joe to find a way to not run with a minimal amount of damage.
@Mart: Oh yes the typical start to a one-on-one American business meeting of pulling someone in from a handshake to touch foreheads and tell them they’re pretty. I currently live in a country with way, way, way less personal space in personal and professional greetings and differences in greetings between different genders and this wouldn’t fly here at all.
The Moar You Know
He’s a hugger. Not a DQ for being president. He doesn’t seem insistent on it, which is why I’m OK with it. I have encountered people who are. Got a few friends that are. They don’t do that shit to me as described below.
I tell those who get real insistent about it, “you go for it and I’m going to hurt you”. And I have on two occasions. Hey, I’m claustrophobic and I warned them.
When they get insistent on it/butthurt about your refusal, is when you know you’re having someone pull a power trip on you. And I have zero problems kneeing those folks in the groin.
Just not getting that power-trip vibe from Biden. It does need to stop.
He’s older than I’d like. He still thinks America is one nation and not a loose (getting looser every day) confederation of two deeply dysfunctional political parties. These are problems. That being said, I have no problems voting for him under any circumstances, either in a primary or the general. He’s not a Republican and he’s not Trump and that’s all I give a shit about.
I don’t for a minute think Biden has been a creepy toucher but I’m with Cole. I grew up a Midwesterner with Scandinavian roots, usually the exact opposite of Biden demeanor, so I’m not comfortable with exuberant hugging, etc. unless I know the person well. My spouse and I both said it reminded us of relatives or other adults pinching our cheeks and clasping us to their chests when we were children which we hated. Thank goodness it was rare. So seeing Biden doing his thing long before now, I would think, that’s enough already. We were happy to learn that one of our toddler grandchildren goes to a pre-school that teaches about personal space. Times have changed and Pelosi’s arm’s length advice is spot on.
If Biden runs in 2020 he would be starting his term TWO YEARS OLDER than Ronald Reagan was when he left office in 1989 riddled with Alzheimers and dimentia. Bernie Sanders is even a year older than Biden.
This is a really tough 24/7 job in a diverse and rapidly changing world. I don’t think the winning strategy is to put forward someone who is really old and white but hey…less racist/sexist/senile than Trump.
We can do better.
This is partly generational. Guys of that era were taught it was okay to touch women, especially if it wasn’t meant sexually. I’m a woman of that generation. We had it happen and we put up with it. But it’s a new day. Standards change. I mean Robert Byrd was once a member of the KKK and that wasn’t seen as meaning he couldn’t be a Democratic Senator. Today, he’d have a lot more trouble getting past a Democratic Primary.
It does bother me that people are focusing on the fact that one of the women bringing up the problem supports Bernie. If what she says is true and really enough other people have recounted similar stories, so I think we can say it’s true, then that is all that matters. Eventually TODAY in 2020 the right for women to not be touched without their permission is an actual thing. If anyone thinks that the Republicans won’t use this against Biden if he becomes the nominee, then they are living in dream land. Yes, Trump does far worse, but Biden will be used as an example that the Democrats don’t REALLY believe women shouldn’t be harassed. They are just being Social Justice Warriors who are trying to make it so hard on white males, and don’t even really care about the issue when it’s one of their own. At the very least, Biden needs to get ahead of this thing. And then apologize to Anita Hill, because that will come back to haunt him as well.
I will add that although the touching is a problem, the hair sniffing is just icky to me.
It’s not how you show your appreciation for teamwork, it’s how you assert the balance of power because you get away with it and the person on the other end has no control over the situation. Same thing for Trump’s idiotic handshake. If you want to show you value someone as a team member then you empower them by asking for their advice and giving them responsibility, not with a shoulder rub.
I don’t want Biden as the nominee and didn’t want him before all these stories. But I MOSTLY don’t want Sanders as the nominee. I have a queasy feeling that these are all coordinated attacks to knock out everyone but BS. So that we can LOSE BIG in 2020.
The offense you’re thinking of is battery. And no, it wasn’t.
Simple assault doesn’t require touching, but does require an intent that your physical act create a reasonable apprehension of harm (i.e. I swing my fist at your face, but stop short of your nose). If the punch connects, it’s assault and battery.
Bernie’s goal is to get Trump a second term.
Yeah, but much like Biden’s touchy-feely prior to #metoo, it was written off as a joke- I remember oodles of comedians, et al, doing bits about it, not so much serious think-pieces about Bush not respecting Merkel’s bodily autonomy. I also recall people speculating if it was a sign Bush was drinking again. (I may have been one of those speculators.)
All that said, I googled for a bit of background on Obama’s one big gaffe on this front- when he called Kamala Harris the country’s “best-looking” AG at a fund-raiser. I googled it because I remembered he did what he should have done, which was apologized promptly to her personally, and that was the end of that and I can’t imagine he intended any sort of harassment with his comment. I think he simply meant to compliment a friend (and, certainly, she is very, very pretty). But the initial comment was still inappropriate, and this article from the Atlantic did a great job explaining why. It doesn’t specifically apply to touching in an intimate way in a public sphere, but I think it applies in what it says about women and men and power. Anyway, I thought it was a good and thought provoking read.
First, I don’t buy that these attacks are “coordinated”. I think women are finally actually being listened to when in the past they weren’t.
Second, I’m not sure how having Biden in the race hurts Sanders. They aren’t campaigning for the same demographic at all. I tend to see Sanders in 2020 to be similar to Trump in 2016. There were so many other GOP candidates jockeying for position in 2016 that no one really went after Trump until it was too late. The faster we get rid of distractions like Biden, the easier it will be for a better and more serious candidate to get down to the task of confronting the nonsense that is Sanders and then put together a powerful, united, and diverse coalition to confront the orcs that are at the door.
@Kent: I don’t know if the attacks are coordinated, but I share @zhena gogolia‘s fear that the many Democratic candidates will split up the vote and Sanders will emerge as the victor. I saw this happen in Maryland in the gubernatorial race. We had 5 serious candidates and 4 split up roughly 70% of the vote leaving Our Revolution candidate Ben Jealous with the plurality but not majority. Jealous went on to have one of the most devastating losses for a Democrat in the general in quite some time. I don’t want to see this repeated on a national scale.
@tobie: I’ve heard several of Franken’s accusers stories.They make me uncomfortable.
I think of sexual harassment as kind of like (please be patient) demonic possession. See, in some cultures, a demon can’t possess someone good, so they tempt them, do this one *tiny* bad thing that benefits you. That’s the chink in the armor, and if you let the demon keep digging, you’ll do more, and worse. Some guys let the demon in all the way; others think they’re still okay, because they let it in, but just a little bit. Thing is, demons don’t go away – they have to be confronted, and driven out. That’s why I say it’s like possession, see? Behavior that excites a person sexually makes them want to do it, and if they’ve gotten into the habit of indulging, just a bit, you know, not like *real* harassment, well… I don’t have to draw a picture, right?
Imagine a guy finds that he can cop a feel on a woman’s ass, and occasionally exclaim it was a terrible mistake, he’s just reaching out, group hug, pulling people close. Does this make the guy a horrible person? No, but it’s a guy who should have confronted his own little demon. (Double entendre intentional, obviously.)
The stories (plural, and this is key) I heard about Franken were consistent with the example I used above. That doesn’t mean I’m accusing him – it means I can’t accept his denial, because it could be self serving. It means, if Franken were to read this, I’d hope he’d realize “holy crap, this weirdo’s right, I should have taken better care where I was putting my hands, because harassers *always* have an excuse; I didn’t realize how hard that makes it for people who make honest-to-goodness mistakes.”
I really, really, hope he’d realize he was stupidly careless, because I don’t want to have to think he was being sneaky harasser, excusing himself by his behavior’s relatively lesser intrusiveness. If not, I’d desperately hope he’d confront his behavior, once he couldn’t hide behind “I didn’t know”. Because once you know it’s there, if you’re a decent person, you have to exorcise it.
While I agree with the concern, the Dem primary process would not allow a 30% plurality candidate to move forward. Worst case scenario it would mean a brokered convention until someone rose to the top.
In any event, I’m not sure how propping up Biden helps the case against Sanders. I think its the opposite. The faster we get rid of these sort of vanity candidates (and I see Biden as a vanity candidate) the faster we can coalesce around the right candidate to take on Trump. I don’t have a good sense of who that is at this point. I’m leaning towards Harris. And somewhat cool on Booker and Beto. But pretty much any of the serious candidates other than Sanders would be OK with me.
10 out of 10 snowballs agree they stand a better chance of surviving Hell.
Mike in Pasadena
Totally ready for Joe to stop playing footsies and declare he isn’t running. He should campaign for other Democrats.
Must avoid any comment about the coincidence that these allegations are arising now as other commenters on this thread have done.
@Kent: As the buildup to Iowa grinds on, we should have a better sense of who rises to the front of the pack, and I genuinely hope support coalesces around a few candidates, although the divisions are already becoming fairly entrenched. Frankly the contested primary is not getting more than political junkies excited. I see this among my family and friends. They’re burnt out from the past two years and just want to know whom they can throw their support behind to beat Trump.
You know what I think? I think we should all STOP being suckers for this bullshit distraction and focus on the infinite list of more important shit we have to talk about. #PTBarnumWasAFuckingProphet
Enhanced Voting Techniques
Worrying about Biden hugging is like worry about did Huge Hefener take pictures of the nekkied women folks. God lord, there are pictures of Biden with Biker Chicks in his lap from 2012 .
Hey, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I should start walking up behind women and just start touching them when we talk.
@LongHairedWeirdo: I don’t know about demonic possession…but I agree there can be patterns and Joe Biden is a handsy figure by his own admission. As for Franken, so many of the accusations were so trivial — one was the hand on the back, the other two were a brush of the butt during a photo-shoot — that I’m inclined to believe the guy’s a little ungainly in his movements. Whatever. He fell on his sword for the good of the party and left office, without any inquiry, so he wouldn’t be a distraction.
I just revisited how the media treated Duya’s shoulder rub, and you are right – it was largely treated as a joke at the time. I unwittingly proved your point.
And the author of that Atlantic piece you linked to (Garance Franke-Ruta) is one hell of a writer.
Me too. I’d like to see tons of front-page posts about the different candidates’ programs and rallies.
Too many people seem to ignore the underlying reason Biden’s behavior is being questioned is his legislative history of paternalistically ignoring women’s actual experiences. Including his now widely known failure as Judiciary Chairman to call the corroborating witnesses during the Anita Hill hearings. He was involved in the major moment where modern hostile workplace regulation became a widely understood necessity, and yet he appears to not comprehend unequal power dynamics.
And what I’ve been thinking while watching him dithering on the precipice (& quite a few other white male candidates over the past month or two) is have they learned anything valuable over the past 10 years?
And I believe we can’t afford Lili Loofbourow’s definition of male bumblers in the Democratic Party anymore.
ETA and enabling this behavior isn’t good for us either, bc it’s the same impulse that allows us to rationalize the long strand of excuses & choices since Watergate that’s degraded our institutions in the first place.
I don’t care. Yes, times have changed, but unless Biden did something criminal, I don’t care. “Inappropriate” is not necessarily a crime.
Also, we need to change the rules. No touching for anybody. Any public appearance, the public needs to keep back. No hand shakes. And no babies held up to be kissed. This is obviously child abuse, and being done without the baby’s permission.
Mike in Pasadena
@Mart: Have stopped all hugging of women. (Most men never want to hug.) I no longer hug women who approach with outstretched arms, eager to hug. I will reach for their right hand to shake. No hugging! It is just asking for trouble to accept a hug. Ever. Well, I will still hug grandma. Otherwise, no, just no. I go to opening night for a play at a theater I donate to. Women who work for the theater want to hug. They now know, no GD hugging!
No, it’s more that people want to punish Biden for Anita Hill and push him out of the presidential race. So they want to re-read his history in order to rationalize their actions.
Pretty soon, the only candidate left standing might be Loser Bernie, a prospect the Republicans will love.
@zhena gogolia: I don’t think this will have the effect you would want. I hate to say it but it’s already clear that the differences between the candidates are minimal with the exception of Sanders and Gabbard: all think we should move to single payer but recognize that the only way to get there is by introducing an early buy in to Medicare or a public option; debt-free college is now the gold standard for most post-secondary proposals; free community college; path to citizenship for dreamers; an aggressive effort to tackle climate change; ending cash bail, private prisons and mandatory sentences for petty drug possession charges; more funding for K though 12; paid family leave; etc. This is just off the top of my head of the pretty major issues where there’s widespread consensus. I’d like posts that are less personality driven at the Presidential level and focus more on specific areas (regulating the banks, carbon mitigation, etc.). Or posts that look at down-ballot races. I’m already exhausted by the Presidential race. I would, though, be really excited to learn how we can help whoever will challenge Lindsay Graham for the Senate seat.
The differences between the candidates are minimal in terms of their positions; they aren’t necessarily minimal in terms of their priorities. This is really critical, because it’s very unlikely the next Democratic president will be able to deal with every important issue, even if they have a full two terms to do it. That makes their priorities the most important distinguishing point.
@Roger Moore: Good point. I agree and to this extent style, how candidates frame issues means something.
These are the reasons I will not vote for BIden in the Democratic primaries , if he runs:
Add this to his actions with regards to Anita Hill and the Bankruptcy bill and hIs handsie-ness is just the icing on the Hell No cake…
“In 1981, for example, Biden proposed the Foreign Assistance Act, which barred U.S. aid from being used for any medical research on abortion. It’s still in effect to this day. He has also voted in support of the Hyde Amendment, which bars federal funding for abortion procedures. ”
“He also supported former President Ronald Reagan’s “Global Gag Rule,” which prohibits the U.S. funding any nongovernmental organizations that offer or advise on reproductive health care if they also offer abortion. ”
“Biden has also consistently voted in support of banning so-called “partial-birth” abortions ― the medical term for which is “dilation and extraction.” These procedures are often politicized despite heart-wrenching stories from women whose lives were saved because of them. “
You know how Cole used to ask “how can we be losing to these people?” Here’s the answer. We’re even stupider than they are.
This is an important point. One example. I was working for NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) during the Clinton years. It was obvious that the Arkanas-based Clinton folks had absolutely no interest in Ocean policy, marine environmental issues, or anything like that. As a consequence, during that time period GOP senators basically got to determine fisheries and marine environmental policy on their own with no pushback from anyone in the Administration. Clinton nominated some decent environmentalists to the EPA and Interior but paid no attention to marine affairs at all. During my time there, in deference to the Senate, and to get an easy confirmation, he nominated one of South Carolina Senator Fritz Hollings, aids, Penelope Dalton, to run the National Marine Fisheries Service. She was decent enough but didn’t have much science experience and was somewhat in over her head running a major science agency. There were hundreds of much more qualified oceanographers and marine science advocates available but that would have meant actually fighting for progressive environmental policy on that front. Something that didn’t interest them.
Likewise, Obama was great on a lot of things, but his education policy was an abysmal failure and he basically turned the whole thing over to the Charter School and standardized testing advocates like Arne Duncan.
It is easy to have all the right positions Where you put your time and energy is the real test.
What gets me about this is that it’s really fucking easy to read whether someone wants a hug. I’m autistic and this is one of the few aspects of neurotypical body language that has never confused me, and that I’ve never felt I needed to ask about. Don’t move in to hug someone; extend your arms and let them decide whether to move forward or not. If they don’t, just deflect with a joke. Not a big deal.
I can buy that Biden didn’t actually mean any harm, but that doesn’t actually mitigate it that much for me. My ex-girlfriend’s sexual assaulter, by her own telling, didn’t mean her any harm either (long story, and it’s not mine to tell). Didn’t make it any less harmful to her.
Obviously what Biden did isn’t remotely in the same league as sexual assault; it probably isn’t even criminal. But at the same time, this sort of cluelessness seems to me emblematic of exactly why he isn’t suited for the presidency these days. The fact that he apparently never thought to ask whether he was making anyone uncomfortable dovetails with his cluelessness on Anita Hill, on abortion rights, on any number of other issues. The dude is just too fucking old to be president; he’s out of touch with our populace.
Like I said, I don’t think he even meant anyone any harm. But a Biden presidential run would be a disaster, just as his past runs were. I don’t even dislike the guy personally, but he’s pretty close to the bottom of my list. (Gabbard and – ugh, do we have to take him seriously? – Tim Ryan are lower.)
It’s fine to oppose Biden, but cherry picking his record on women’s issues is unfair. If his conduct with respect to Anita Hill is a deal-breaker, I understand and respect that. But asserting that he has no understanding about women and the issues that matter to them is disingenuous. He’s a practicing Catholic who has never wavered in his support for a woman’s right to choose, though he is not perfect on this issue. He was a passionate sponsor and pivotal player during the passage of the Violence Against Women Act. These are issues that matter to many women. You can make a case against Joe without distorting his record.
There’s a guy in our social circle who does this. I can’t stand it. It’s like someone told him when he was 15 that he was a good hugger, and he really, really took it to heart. He doesn’t just wrap his arms around you, he wraps them tight, and holds on tight, and keeps holding on as if he thinks he’s water to your desert, and his warmth will cause you to burst into tears or something.
He’s like, 70 yrs old; I’ve known him for about half that time and it never changes, no matter how politely you signal that this is NOT WELCOME.
Joe would be fine with me, though. ANY of them winning would be the most thrilling, fantastic, wonderful moment. The moment we got the house back felt SO amazing; the moment we win the presidential election is going to be time to rush into the streets, shouting with joy.
Even if it’s Joe.
There are a lot of privileges that guys have that they’ve never had to think about and are shocked to hear they have.
I’m okay telling people that they’re not terrible human beings for not realizing sooner that they were able to do the thing they were doing because they had privilege. I’m more interested in what they do once the clue bat hits them and they realize they’ve been hurting people without realizing it.
My metaphor is usually stepping on someone’s foot on the bus. No one thinks you did it maliciously, but you look like a ginormous asshole if you say that people shouldn’t tell you that you did it because you shouldn’t have to know about other people’s feelings.
Relevant from classic literature:
@Z: Just saying I see it all the time. I hare the hugging women at work BS. I step back from the hug and offer a handshake.
@eemom: Yep. People still fall for this crap.
A Good Woman
I come from an environment that would not have criticzed Biden much, if at all.
Are we determined to throw the baby out with the bath water, simply to acquire purity points? I was not happy with the Franken outcome. Have we changed that much,?
Since Biden has not done zip in terms of putting out anything, and I mean anything, in terms of an interesting candidacy, does it make much difference?
Everything I’ve seen Biden do so far is running kindly Uncle Joe schtick. Over incompetent political consulted posturing and BS. He can’t even manage astute and memorable foreign policy one-liners everyone remembers and quotes anymore, like the job he did on Giuliani.
So, like, a person, somebody who is supposed to be a best candidate doesn’t do anything but empty posturing, and you got nothing interesting to talk about wrt to his campaign, what are people going to talk about? Seems like Biden is getting ripped up from several directions and in several dimensions, but that is because he isn’t doing anything a candidate needs to do, really. And why wait forever to announce? He needs to line up big money support? That seems very stale and out-of-date.
Some other candidates are taking approaches that seem very stale, out-of-date and out-of-touch. At least Biden has the excuse of being calendar-years officially ‘old’. That excuse is the best thing I can think to say of him right now. Not much.
@dogwood: But this is why so many women are doing the online equivalent of commenting on Biden’s record holistically, & then zeroing in on specifics. Traister may have provided the framework, but I know exactly what he is most responsible for and how that has effected me. (For example, on my part I guess most of us are probably not bringing up his abortion record because he’s not exactly unique in the Democratic Party in foolishly agreeing to restrict my medical needs or my bodily autonomy. Plus, I don’t want to talk about that today). Anyway….
Fundamentally women are major local ground game organizers in the Democratic Party. These are the women who’ll be door knocking for him, and if we’re not happy, he needs to know now.
I really don’t want him to run. I also wish Bernie wasn’t running. If I had my druthers they’d both be playing elder statesmen. I also think what Biden did as a VP & loyal subordinate is qualitatively different, and less important, than what he did when he was a Senator. (Since Senators’ powers are independent of the Executive). And I believe that Anita Hill is one big reason why he shouldn’t run to be President at this moment.
As Chairman, Biden held back corroborating evidence of Clarence Thomas lying under oath about his behavior at work. It’s one of the what if historical moments of my young adulthood (along with the Iran/Contra pardons and a few other things). He was very much responsible for the conduct of those hearings, & what was & wasn’t presented to the public. I think that it’s important to discuss that, & I also think we do have to be concerned that he seems unprepared to address any of that.
I really hate this looping, incredibly frustrating, discourse where trying to talk about anyone’s legislative/committee successes & failures, along with their intended & unintended consequences, doesn’t break thru until we find a behavioral/metaphorical hook to frame it all onto. And yet it’s only once we do that, that the media or lots of other people notice. (Because our human tendency is to focus on the narrative framework, instead of the problematic choices & behavior).
I love Joe but he needs to go the fuck away. Too many men don’t know when or how to retire gracefully and Huggin’ Joe is Exhibit A. When you are 76 years old, write your memoirs and play with the grandkids and stop thinking that young, pretty women want any fucking thing to do with a wrinkled up, Impotent old man!
I’m so tired of living in this world. It sucks.