The Tara Reade story won’t go away quietly, partly because Joe Biden refuses to deal with it himself. There are several new stories in the mainstream media over the last 48 hours that exhibit great latent anxiety among Democrats over the story.
The New York Times ran with a story that is a model of ventriloquist journalism and a memo to their candidate telling him to get his act together:
. . . As two more women have come forward to corroborate part of Ms. Reade’s allegation, the Biden campaign is facing attacks from the right and increasing pressure from the left to address the issue. And liberal activists find themselves in a tense standoff with a candidate they want to support but who they say has made little attempt to show leadership on an issue that resonates deeply with their party’s base.
“It’s difficult for survivors to see that a woman who has more corroborating sources than most survivors have in similar situations is being tossed aside and actively being weaponized by cynical political actors,” said Shaunna Thomas, a founder of UltraViolet, a women’s rights advocacy group that is involved in the effort to push the campaign. . .
“It can’t appear that she is being ignored,” said Nina Turner, a former national campaign co-chair for Senator Bernie Sanders, Mr. Biden’s last rival for the nomination. “If we want to keep our credibility as a party, then we will have to agree that this allegation and any allegation should be vetted in the public.”
Apart from the discussions with the campaign, some progressive activists have been debating how to respond to the allegation, a conversation that has intensified in recent days.
“Joe Biden himself needs to respond directly,” said Yvette Simpson, the chief executive of Democracy for America, a progressive advocacy organization, which plans to back the Democratic nominee. “While it is absolutely essential that we defeat Donald Trump in November, trying to manage the response through women surrogates and emailed talking points doesn’t cut it in 2020 — especially if Democrats want to continue to be the party that values, supports, elevates, hears and believes women.” . . .
Privately, some female Democrats are growing frustrated with being put in the position of answering for Mr. Biden when he has remained silent, and male progressive leaders, even outspoken allies in combating sexual assault, have not been pressured to address this point.
The subtext is pretty clear: Joe needs to step up and get everyone off the hook.
The Washington Post‘s fact checker Glenn Kessler notes that Reade’s story now has five or more contemporary witnesses (though not all of them said or recall whether Biden was the offending person).
And completing the trifecta is a story from NPR!
New information has emerged in recent days about a sexual assault allegation against the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden, made by Tara Reade, a former staff assistant in Biden’s Senate office. For the first time, someone has gone on the record to say that Reade detailed the allegation to her decades ago in the same way Reade is describing it now. . . This additional information is renewing attention on Biden’s behavior and has put pressure on the presumptive Democratic nominee to respond, which he has not yet done directly.
Reade’s allegation has put Democrats in an uncomfortable spot, torn between defending the presumptive Democratic nominee and believing all women who make allegations against any powerful men.
Asked about the allegation on Thursday morning, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who formally endorsed Biden this week, said “I have complete respect for the whole #metoo movement. I have four daughters and one son. And there’s a lot of excitement around the idea that women will be heard and listened to. There is also due process.” [Emphasis added.]
Slow Joe’s memory lapses and gobbledygook may come in handy for him just now.
JOHN adds: Am I the only one who is worried that the Reade allegations will ultimately come in handy for the Democrats? I think they provide a better excuse for forcing Biden off the ballot than the fact that he is inept and apparently suffering from dementia.
In the end, I believe he has to consent to withdrawing from the race. If he does that after the convention, the DNC can pick anyone it wants to replace him. So the scenario I fear is that the Dems nominate Biden, the chatter about Reade grows, and the Dems go to Biden and tell him that to remain consistent on this issue they need to replace him. Confronted with a united front of party leaders, Biden resigns on grounds of health. So Reade ultimately helps the Democrats field a viable candidate–someone who is neither senile nor an open socialist.
Someone please tell me I’m wrong.