Although he hasn’t officially announced yet, Joe Biden has given every signal that he intends to run for president in 2020. And why not? Who can forget all of his landmark achievements, like being the hood ornament on an administration where each day’s news didn’t feel like a cattle prod to the face, or being frequently featured in the Onion?
Of course, one reason the former VP might want to at least consider not running to become Donald Trump’s successor is his not-impeccable track record with women. Even the Onion, whose memification of the Veep into a Camaro-driving, aviators-wearing, down-home good ol’ boy helped shore up affection for Biden, couldn’t help commenting on his attitudes toward women from time to time. Aside from his negligence during Anita Hill’s hearing in the early ’90s, for which he gave a half-assed non-apology recently, there are loads of documented instances of Biden behaving inappropriately with women while on the job.
One of those women, Lucy Flores, came forward recently with an op-ed about how Biden’s unwanted kissing made her feel at a campaign event when she was running for lieutenant governor of Nevada, which Biden also responded to with another half-assed non-apology, but this has all been out in the open for a long time. Here’s a segment the Daily Show did about it back in 2015:
It’s not surprising that Biden appears to be undaunted by all the bad press he’s accrued over his inappropriate behavior. If the #MeToo movement has taught us anything, it’s that old white men have a hard time seeing how anything they’ve ever done could be Bad if they can plausibly claim not to have meant it in a Bad way. What is surprising, however, is that even with such a robust crop of 2020 Democratic contenders, Biden has found ardent defenders from all over the spectrum–including women who have supported the #MeToo movement.
Boldface names like Nancy Pelosi, Whoopi Goldberg, Susan Rice, Mika Brzezinski, and even Alyssa Milano and Jill Filipovic have all jumped in over the last few days to defend Biden as, among other thing, “flirtatious.” You know, like how elected officials can be flirtatious?
The things Joe Biden has been accused of–hell, the things we have video footage of him doing–aren’t necessarily criminal. They’re the kinds of things a man should get rebuked and sent to sensitivity training for . . . if it were 10 years ago. In the current climate of rising awareness and shrinking tolerance for such behavior, there is no excuse for a man who is unrepentant about his boundary issues with women in the workplace and wants to succeed the guy who once bragged about walking in on Miss Teen USA changing rooms.
For women like Alyssa Milano who disagree on that point, but who ostensibly support the #MeToo movement, here are some new hashtags:
Use this hashtag if you support the #MeToo movement, but just sometimes.
This one has the same message as the previous hashtag, but cleaner.
A hashtag for when your character assessment is definitely more valid than another woman’s trauma.
This one has the same message as the previous hashtag, but messier.
Here’s yet another hashtag for when it’s not sexism because you know what’s in the guy’s heart.
Finally, a hashtag for when you have a woman’s back, but only if the offending behavior was sufficiently gross to you.