The Gathering Storm Over Tara Reade

Tara Reade’s allegations that Joe Biden sexually assaulted her back in 1993 continue to heat up to a slow boil, despite the major media’s best attempts to suppress or ignore them. No doubt the media are trying to “flatten the curve” of news stories to prevent them from becoming a pandemic that fatally infects the Biden campaign. But Biden’s weak pre-existing conditions mean that it might not take much exposure to put his campaign on life support.

A few liberal writers are actually trying to maintain some basic consistency and honesty in their coverage, such as Peter Beinart, who wrote in The Atlantic yesterday that Biden should open up his Senate papers, currently archived at the University of Delaware, as the records might contain evidence about Reade that could answer some questions about the matter:

[E]ven Democratic partisans should want the Biden papers opened. They could strengthen his claim that he did nothing wrong. And if they don’t—if they provide any corroboration for Reade’s accusation—Democrats need to know that now, before Biden is officially nominated. As the publication of the Intercept and Business Insider stories suggest, more information may well come out between now and November, whether the Biden papers remain sealed or not. Rather than let the Reade accusation fester, Democrats should get the evidence out now—while there’s still time for the party to react.

Democrats are not obligated to believe Tara Reade’s story. But they are obligated to make every effort to find out if it’s true. Unsealing the Biden papers could spare Democrats far more pain this fall. It’s also the right thing to do.

Then there’s Damon Linker of The Week (and occasional Power Line Podcast guest), who thinks the Reade accusation, if not taken serious by Democrats, could doom Biden in November:

Can Biden survive the gathering storm around Tara Reade’s allegations? And if so, will that fact be good or bad for the Democratic Party in November? . . . [T]he behavior Tara Reade has plausibly alleged about the presumptive Democratic nominee is going to be major liability for him as we head toward Election Day.

And then there’s Kevin Drum of Mother Jones, another smart lefty writer who typically shoots straight and is worth reading, though in this case he twists himself into a pretzel with pure Jesuitical postmodernism. Take in these two sentences:

[M]y best guess right now is that Biden is actually innocent. But that doesn’t mean Reade is lying.

After some unpersuasive hemming and hawing, Drum concludes thus:

To coin a phrase, being a progressive is not a suicide pact. We can agree to always take accusations of sexual assault seriously without feeling that we have to automatically believe every one of them.

Actually, being a progressive is a suicide pact, but we’ll leave that subject for another time. Let’s keep the second sentence handy for its declaration that “believe all women” is now a defunct standard at Mother Jones.

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