Uncle Joe and the secret of the double standard | HBR Talk 79

 

In its October 10, 1993 article “Rape, the Making of an Epidemic,” the Toledo Blade described Joe Biden citing the feminist-manufactured 1 in 5 rape statistic as an argument while promoting his Violence Against Women act on the senate floor.

According to Bonnie Campbell, former director, Office on Violence against Women, Biden wrote the bill years before it passed. “Every year,” she states, “He’d try to get hearings, and try to get it passed,” but… “the votes weren’t there” to even get it out of committee until President Clinton’s election. She went on to falsely cite the Clinton administration as the very first time our government has “spoken to issues of violence against women.”

Her statement completely glossed over the apparently inconvenient existence of an older federal law addressing intimate partner and sexual violence; the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act of 1984, signed by President Reagan, which established arrest guidelines, shelter funding, and a 24 hour hotline for domestic violence victims. That bill passed following discussion that goes back at least to the 1970s. 

In fact, VAWA is actually written as an “update” to FVPSA, as stated in the original bill. It changed the language of the law to presume perpetrators male and victims female, and changed policy to align with the now-discredited Duluth model for addressing domestic violence. It funded training for law enforcement, prosecutors, and court personnel based on that model. It used funding restrictions to mandate gendered arrest, prosecution, conviction, and sentencing standards that infringed on the due process rights of accused men and made it dangerous for men abused by female partners to file police complaints against their abusers. It allowed for shelters and the related assistance to become gender-exclusive so that even if they weren’t arrested for reporting their abusers, male victims had no assistance in escaping their relationships. That law and its subsequent reauthorization updates are Senator and former Vice President Joe Biden’s political legacy. 

Another fact that I don’t think anyone else has pointed out is that this bill was signed into law in September of 1994, by then-President Bill Clinton, who was fighting against a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by Paula Jones four months earlier, in May. Feminists were strangely silent about that case, and there was a lot of speculation from establishment Republicans and commentators like Rush Limbaugh that this was because Clinton was a defender of abortion.

I don’t think that’s what was going on. Abortion had just survived 12 years of Republican administrations. It wasn’t going away, and if it had been attacked during a second Bush Sr. term, that would have simply been campaign fodder for the Democrats. The Violence Against Women Act was another story. As we discussed in the Feminist Advocacy Research Scam and a few other past HBR Talk episodes, VAWA’s funding creates a particular job market for feminist ideologues, including administrators of women’s shelters and the advocates who work for them. Knowing that funding was at stake, the movement couldn’t afford to have anything tip the scales against that bill. 

Even Gloria Steinem was willing to maintain her silence until 1998, when she wrote an Op Ed for the New York Times, in which she downplayed the accusations against Clinton. In 1994, Steinem knew as well as anybody that the numbers being used to promote that bill were fake. She’s the publisher who “discovered” Kent State professor Mary P. Koss, creator of the survey method from which those statistics were garnered. In 1987, Steinem sponsored a national survey using Koss’s methods, and published the results in Ms. Magazine. The statistic cited by Senator Biden in his arguments in favor of the bill was the rape statistic from that survey, which also spawned the more widely cited 1 in 4 stat that combined rape and attempted rape into a single category. So in 1994, when logic and reason weren’t going to get the gender-neutral FVPSA replaced with the gender-exclusive, financially exploitable VAWA, feminists threw purported intimate partner and sexual violence victims under the bus to protect the politicians most likely to push it through. Clinton was accused of long term, sustained sexual harassment in the workplace. If they were willing to ignore that for the benefit of VAWA, what else might they have been willing to tolerate?

Today, things have changed dramatically for Senator Joe Biden. A quarter of a century after his senate battle to get it passed, VAWA is firmly entrenched in American federal law. It has been reauthorized repeatedly, with several expansions to its policy stipulations and funding over time. To legislators, it is no longer a question of whether this should be the law. The possibility of returning to the gender neutral standards of FVPSA isn’t even under discussion. The two major parties only argue over the ways in which VAWA should be expanded. In the age of #MeToo, a one-man “believe women” crusade is unneeded. Feminists have all of congress and half of the general population indoctrinated to believe their statistics and the dogma they’re used to support. 

For months, the senator has been the butt of a lot of jokes about his own behavior toward women, which appears terribly socially awkward at best, and is being labeled “creepy” with increasing frequency. It seems that he has a decades-long habit of being photographed or spotted on video in the midst of awkward displays of affection toward women, and toward children of both sexes. 

Now, four women have come forward to accuse him of “inappropriate touching.” Caitlyn Caruso says he put his hand on her thigh and hugged her too long. D. J. Hill says he put his hand on her shoulder and slid it down her back. Amy Lappos accused him of pulling her close to rub noses with her. Lucy Flores, his first accuser, says he put his hands on her shoulders, sniffed her hair, and planted a slow kiss on the back of her head. 

Biden’s apparent handsy nature has spawned memes and one-liners all over social media, though some of the images being circulated are of obviously consensual touching, one woman leaning in for a kiss, another sitting on his lap. Stephanie Carter, the subject of a screengrab from a video in which Biden appears to be behaving similarly to the description given by Lucy Flores, has come forward to say that image is being mischaracterized. In her medium.com post “The #MeToo story that wasn’t me,” she explains that in the moment, she was nervous due to having fallen on ice earlier in the evening, and felt her appearance wasn’t up to snuff. Biden had leaned forward to offer her words of support, and that is how she took the entire interaction. She is appalled that the moment is being used to imply any impropriety. Senator Chris Coons has also explained the similarly viral image of Biden’s conversation with his daughter, Maggie. According to Coons, Biden was praising Maggie, and had offered to introduce her to his daughter so that the two girls could “talk about the challenges of having a parent in politics.” Coons added that his children view Biden to be a grandfather figure. While this statement did not come from Maggie Coons, she has not spoken up to contradict it. The key, then, may not be in Biden’s intentions, but in different women’s reactions to his attention. It’s entirely possible that he’s too clueless to notice when someone is put off, and that everyone around him who is has been too polite to tell him.

Still, the vultures are circling. His colleagues in the democratic party and their supporting media outlets have begun running with the narrative, most taking great care to pay homage to the “believe women” mantra, while also trying to cover their political butts in case Biden decides to campaign for nomination as the party’s presidential candidate, and manages to win it. While some are taking the position that he should not run because the allegations make him vulnerable to criticism, party leader Nancy Pelosi has said this shouldn’t disqualify him. That hasn’t placed him above her criticism, of course. Tuesday, the Guardian reported that she has warned him to change his habits.

The Republican response seems equally divided, with “creepy Uncle Joe” comments floating around Twitter, and the president, whose own campaign was similarly targeted with allegations of impropriety, taking a few jabs during a rally this week. Fox News commentators’ talking points mostly seemed to be based around claiming to be holding judgement for more information, while acknowledging that some of Biden’s documented, public behavior looks hard to explain. A few mentioned their own experiences with Biden’s similarly awkward, but in their cases harmless, displays of affection as evidence against ill intent on his part. The exception was Tammy Bruce, former president of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Organization for Women, who highlighted the description Lucy Flores gave when discussing her allegations, drawing a clear distinction between affection and inappropriate touching, and accusing Biden of having restrained women in order to engage them. She also pointedly stated that there’s a problem with an interaction “if you have to restrain someone.” It’s a valid point, if it’s proved that’s what he did, but at this point, we only have accusations to go on.

Is much of the right-wing media honestly skeptical? It seemed so on Monday night, but their responses are migrating toward condemnation as more accusations emerge, despite a lack of supporting evidence for any of them. It’s not like they are above lobbing the same kinds of accusations many of them started out criticizing in this instance. While many commentators are good at bringing up the innocent until proven guilty standard, it doesn’t always stop them from calling for judgement in the court of public opinion when it’s convenient. Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown experienced this when his opponents promoted a narrative around old domestic violence allegations against him even after the supposed victim publicly admitted that she had fabricated them during their divorce because she was angry. It’s hard to not view the dramatically different narrative on Biden’s situation as a similarly politically expedient choice. 

Of course, everyone facing an accusation deserves fair treatment, rather than the rush to judgement we usually see when accusations like those leveled at Biden are made. 

Every man doesn’t get such a level response, however. Should your average guy who is not in a position of political influence and can do nothing for the feminist movement face similar criticism, his intentions and the nature of his actions will not be the subject of this kind of debate. In fact, he doesn’t even have to be as overtly awkward as Biden. All he has to to do is be guilty of greeting the wrong woman while relatively unattractive, poor, and powerless, or in a position that provides her with something to gain from targeting him. As Tammy Bruce pointed out in her take on the controversy, if the average man engaged in the same behavior as Biden at work, he’d be fired.

That’s partly what Joe Biden’s Violence Against Women Act is for… to remove the presumption of innocence where other men are concerned. 

The feminist push for that has included some very public efforts to demonize men in general as sexual predators. At the time that VAWA was under consideration, campus feminists were holding Take Back the Night rallies and running fake wanted poster campaigns labeling innocent male students “potential rapists.” They’ve spent decades subjecting students to ideology-based rape prevention workshops and classes with an anti-male bias as part of their freshman curriculum, and they’ve gone through a variety of poster campaigns, including some suggesting that men are just rapey animals in general, and need to be taught not to rape women, so women can interact safely with them.

Websites like ihollaback.com achieve that gender-wide smear with unverified pseudo-victim-narratives. “Ten hours walking in neighborhood X” videos are designed to convince the viewer that harassment is common. In the wake of the now-crumbling case against Harvey Weinstein, the #MeToo movement involving similarly unverified victim narratives has similar designs. Feminist commentators smear Involuntarily Celibate men as creepy and dangerous for wanting women’s attention, and Men Going Their Own Way as misogynistic for having the audacity to reject it. It’s all about the implications, which to the victim identity cult, are the same thing as concrete proof of malice. 

You plebs who can’t do anything for the Steinems of the world do not get the benefit, temporary as it is, of the feminist political sugar daddy blind spot. You get thrown under the bus right away, even if you’ve done nothing wrong. Any argument against this will get you accused of hating women, or wanting to beat and rape women, or possibly both. 

And Biden? 

Like Bill Clinton found out during the initial #MeToo frenzy, since feminists have new blood to work with, his ticket is punched, and his time is probably up. I suspect that feminist leadership has a favorite already picked out for the next presidential election, and it’s probably not him. If he gets in the way instead of bowing out, I predict a feeding frenzy leading up to the primary. If he wins in spite of it, another frenzy may come from the other side.

Thus begins the first round of election season sexual misconduct allegations, and it’s not even halfway through 2019 yet. It’s gonna be a long one.

https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=w2NPAAAAIBAJ&sjid=XgMEAAAAIBAJ&pg=5854%2C2479318

https://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/FSupp/858/902/2253460/

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https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/436746-biden-spokesperson-criticizes-cottage-industry-of-lies

https://www.ihollaback.org/read-stories/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdBt4f2GUDY&feature=youtu.be

https://medium.com/@scarterdc/the-metoo-story-that-wasnt-me-6c1d5eb1e94d

https://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/2019/04/01/coons-addresses-photo-biden-daughter-during-2015-swearing/3333267002/

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/bidens-tactile-politics-threaten-his-return-in-the-supernumbermetoo-era/ar-BBVydAC#page=2

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/apr/02/joe-biden-nancy-pelosi-women-touching

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