Ann Althouse has fallen into the Biden harassment rationalization trap.
“I’m not a Joe Biden fan. I thought he was loathsome in the 2012 VP debate with Paul Ryan (live-blogged here (“Ryan is speaking earnestly about preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons, and Biden is chuckling toothily, his body shaking like Santa Claus”)). And I’m a longtime opponent of sexual harassment (and kept true to the position even when Bill Clinton, the first person I ever voted for for President who won, got accused of it). But this hit job has made me sympathetic to Joe. I’m surprised how distinct and strong my emotional reaction is.”
So am I.
As regular readers here know, Althouse is one of my most quoted commentators here, because she is objective and usually perceptive. Her mistake in sympathizing with Biden, however, betrays some kind of ethical blind spot. This is the common confusion of motive with conduct. If the conduct is objectively ethical, then the fact that there may be less than ethical motives behind it doesn’t change anything about the ethics verdict. No doubt about it, the first of the accusations against Biden for sexual harassment and misconduct (There have been more since ) came from a Bernie devotee, and was, as Ann says, a political hit.
This was not, however, some manufactured, dubious accusation ginned up to destroy a blameless target, as with Brett Kavanaugh. We have photographic evidence that Joe does these things, after all. If there were ten years of photos showing Judge Kavanaugh throwing women onto beds and jumping on them, Dr. Blasey-Ford’s accusation would have been a bit more credible, don’t you think?
As I have written so often I’m boring myself, Joe Biden has been advertising the principle that if you have enough power, you can get away with indulging yourself with conduct that is taboo in every workplace in America, and has been for almost 40 years. He has promoted sexual harassment, while holding the second highest office in the land, while supposedly being a leader in “the party of women.” This was arrogance, hypocrisy and stupidity exemplified, and it should have been stopped long ago, but whenever the whistle was going to be blown on Joe, it was about time. Yup, she should have flagged this habit in 2014 when it occurred, thus saving other women from Biden’s groping. That doesn’t mean she was obligated to let the hypocrisy continue forever.
I’m going to use photos of Joe in my upcoming sexual harassment seminar. He’s a harasser; it’s simple as that. If a candidate has committed a rape or a murder years ago, and a witness came forward to finally reveal what she knew, would the fact that it was a”political hit” change the necessity of doing so? Does someone who points out how wrong Biden’s conduct has been, and how harmful to the cause of discouraging harassment, have to do so out of altruistic motives only?
Ridiculous. The fact that Althouse, a lawyer, could even suggest such a thing makes me wonder it, like many men and women of her generation, she really doesn’t regard sexual harassment as that big a deal, even though she’s “against it.” (And Bill Clinton was accused of sexual harassment? Take me now, Lord…)
I have sister who is smarter than I am, and I have watched her, and many other brilliant female friends, have to work twice as hard to get to the same place men of their talents (or less) reach professionally, in part because of the insidious, paternalistic, demeaning, subjugating, but oh so nice behavior of men like Joe Biden, who with every kiss, hug and gentle tone send the message that the “fairer sex” is eye-candy for the big, strong men in the workplace, and, like children, weak and sensitive participants who need to be shown love and appreciation.
Women like Ann Althouse enable men like Joe Biden, and the toxic message he sends every time he unashamedly puts his hands on women without their consent.