Former Vice President Joe Biden began the race as the odds-on favorite to win the 2020 presidental election. Rasmussen Reports said he would beat President Donald Trump in a head-to-head matchup, echoing what nearly every other news organization or polling firm has found. But it’s not the unwanted contact issue that’s made Biden stumble in the last week or two. It’s his tone deaf response to the controversy that has Democrats understandably worried.
When news broke that Biden had engaged in unwanted contact with at least two other women several years ago, it caught Democrats off guard. Given that even his accusers were unwilling to admit that it was sexual harassment, it shouldn’t have been a problem for the front-runner. Even Republicans such as Sens. Lindsey Graham and Susan Collins came to Biden’s defense. There was even an easy solution to the problem: make a sincere apology, and never do anything like that again.
But there was Obama’s VP in an interview, refusing to apologize, saying he had done nothing wrong. He even joked about hugging a union leader, asking if he had permission to do so. Frankly, it smacked of behavior more in common with the man he hopes to unseat.
It would be easy to say that the situation is unfair. Trump wasn’t lying when he said he could shoot someone and still win the presidency, whereas Biden is in trouble for doing far less than the incumbent has ever done. But if the former Delaware senator believes he can copy Trump’s tactics and even win his party’s primary, much less the fall contest, he’s sadly mistaken.
Throughout his career, Biden has been a source of brilliance matched with a rare likeability and sincerity. He has legislative experience, executive experience, foreign policy experience and domestic policy experience, and will not need any of the on-job training some recent candidates require. And for all that some progressives have done to bash the Obama record, most liberals and moderates miss that time.
But yet, his record is marred by some severe, inexplicable gaffes that constitute unforced errors (from plagiarism to calling for a “clean” African-American candidate, to this). And this is who Democrats will get if he’s the nominee. It doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be the leader of the Democrats, but this is what comes with the package deal.
There’s a reason many women came to Biden’s defense. His support of women’s rights is pretty strong. I don’t think he meant any harm by what he did. But he’s got to realize that not all women want that contact, and it’s better to err on the side of caution.
Plus, in this new era of politicians beating their chest, refusing to admit even a single mistake, having someone in the presidential campaign expressing regret would be a welcome change of pace for voters, tired of these oversized egos.
I’ve seen Trump supporters go after Biden on social media, mocking him for his behavior, a truly jaw-dropping action. To continue to do so would actually be a worse decision than Biden’s bad taste jokes. It would yet again remind women of Trump’s own cringeworthy record on the subject.