Put Bernie Sanders’ Face on Those Joe Biden Photos, Then Imagine What Party Leaders Would Be Saying

By Thomas Neuburger. Originally published at DownWithTyranny!

Jon Stewart as Biden: “Hey girl, you seem tense. Is it the stress of me groping you for 28 straight seconds?”

An interesting thing is happening around Joe Biden’s #MeToo moment. Even though Al Franken was almost immediately rousted from the Senate by now-presidential candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and others for unwanted touching and kissing, handsy kissy Joe Biden is being held to a very different standard. Why?

The Democratic Party Reaction to Joe Biden

Let’s start with Kirsten Gillibrand’s reaction. Recently I asked, “Does Kirsten Gillibrand Consider Joe Biden’s Behavior ‘Disqualifying’?” We now have an answer. Here’s Gillibrand on Hardball speaking with Chris Matthews (link; skip to 4:38 to listen to the entire Biden conversation). When Matthews asks “What should he do?” Gillibrand responds (my emphasis):

Gillibrand: Well you know, Chris, [sexual assault] is something I’ve taken very seriously over the last seven or eight years, fighting against sexual assault in the military, sexual assault on college campuses, and actually changing the rules in the House and Senate on harassment, so I think with these allegations specifically, I think it’s something if Vice President Biden intends to run, he’s just going to have to address directly with the American people.

And there you have it: Even though I’ve made it my brand to care about sexual assault, Biden can stay in the presidential race, so long as he explains himself. She continues with this:

Matthews: What should he say?

Gillibrand: There’s a conversation about do we value women. And when you allow the space for women to tell their truth and what they experienced, you have to not only receive and believe them, you have to investigate.

Think back to Franken, who was forced out “without any real vetting of the allegations facing him,” as Politico put it. Apparently, the “you have to investigate” rule applies only to Biden. Quite the inconsistency.

So Matthews asks about Gillibrand’s position on Al Franken relative to her position on Biden. Gillibrand says the cases were very different because “there were eight credible allegations corroborated in real time” against Franken (whatever “real time” means). Then she repeats what she’s said many times, that she needed to not “stay silent” about the Franken accusations because she had a duty to make sure her sons knew that “it’s not OK to grope a woman anywhere on her body without her consent” (emphasis added).

This is a good time to watch the clip above. Not the Sam Bee part; the uncomfortable-to-watch Biden-groping-women part. Clearly some of those people do not consent.

Matthews then closes:

Matthews: Should he quit?

Gillibrand: It’s something he’s going to have to talk about and understand what’s happening….

Matthews: Do you call on him to leave the race?

Gillibrand: No, I do not, and what I’m saying now is that it’s something he’s going to have to address. And the truth is, we as a country have to decide if we value women at all.

Read the two sentences immediately above. This is beyond shameful, and way beyond stupid. Does she think no one has ears?

Gillibrand is not the only Democrat to come to Biden’s rescue. Nancy Pelosi: “I don’t think it’s disqualifying.” Sen. Tammy Baldwin: “There’s a failure to understand how one’s actions impact others.” Sen. Jeanne Shaheen: “I was surprised by the allegation…. All of us, including the vice president, need to continue to work on changing our culture.”

From all of this, the path to forgiveness for Biden is clear: Say you “understand” and move on. The voters may not forgive him for his misdeeds, but the leaders of the Democratic Party already have.

Why Is Biden Defended? Explanation 1, It’s Generational

Which leads us to ask, why is Biden so well defended by Party leaders and insiders? The reason most often offered is “it’s generational.” Let’s call this Explanation 1.

Here’s how EJ Dickson put it in Rolling Stone:

To an extent, this line of debate [“I don’t think it’s disqualifying”] is to be expected from old-school, establishment Dems like Feinstein and Pelosi, who have clear-cut reasons for standing behind a peer like Biden. But their refusal to outright condemn his alleged behavior is also representative of a generational gap in the #MeToo movement, between those who take quote-unquote “less egregious” violations seriously, and those who do not. Although the allegations against Biden are not of a criminal or even overtly sexual nature, they still involve the issue of consent, and whether or not a man invading a woman’s personal space qualifies as a career-ending transgression.

This generational gap is not specific to the political realm; indeed, there is substantial data to suggest that a chasm exists between the views of older and younger women across the board. A BuzzFeed survey in partnership with Ipsos, for instance, found that while 42% of people between the ages of 18 and 34 said that the #MeToo movement changed the way they thought about consent, only 29% of people over the age of 55 agreed. Similarly, while 64% of people between the ages of 18 and 34 said that women who accuse men of sexual assault and harassment should always be believed, 38% of people over the age of 55 said the same. An NPR poll found a significant gap between older and younger respondents who agreed with the statement that the #MeToo movement had gone too far, while nearly half of older Americans said they didn’t understand what crossed the line in terms of sexual harassment.

While these survey results didn’t differentiate between older and younger women specifically, anecdotally, many younger women report a stark contrast between their own views and the views their mothers and grandmothers share on the movement. In a Time piece on the so-called #MeToo generational divide, a 25-year-old woman says that “the women in my generation have been drawing a much harsher line for anything they consider even slightly inappropriate,” while her mother is quoted as saying that she believes Gen Y and Gen Z feminists like her daughter “are losing the high ground and allies through their absolutism.” Similarly, when discussing the allegations against Biden with her mother, a friend told me that her mother had responded “exactly the way I thought she would”: by saying, “’I think men of that age just do that and don’t mean it to be weird or sexual’” (essentially, the Feinstein/Pelosi school of thought toward inappropriate workplace conduct).

Shorter Rolling Stone: “The rules have changed for younger women.” (Note the element of criticism of this view in the article as this view: “Gen Y and Gen Z feminists like her daughter ‘are losing the high ground and allies through their absolutism.'” In other words, holding men to this standard is a mistake.)

Explanation 2, He’s Our Only Hope

The “it’s generational” may explain some voters’ responses to Biden, but I don’t think it explains the defense of Biden we’re reading about. Note that most of his defenders inhabit the same corner of the world — they are people with power and influence in the Democratic Party and their strongest supporters within the media.

Reaction from those who are less Party-aligned has been more mixed. The Atlantic: “Don’t Defend Him as a Flirt.” Gawker: “Joe Biden, We Need to Talk About the Way You Touch Women.” Even the New York Times: “He is a product of his time, but that time is up.

So why the defense coming from Party officials? The Gawker piece linked above provides a hint: “Try this,” Sam Biddle writes, “look at all of those photos and imagine, say, Paul Ryan’s face instead of Biden’s.”

Or Bernie Sanders’ face.

So let’s be plain. We’re coming into the 2020 election season and on the Democratic side there’s a lot at stake — in effect, control of the Democratic Party itself from its very top.

As he did in 2016, Bernie Sanders is threatening a palace coup, a takeover of the Party that bypasses all the layers below the presidency — the Speaker’s chair, Senate caucus leadership, chair of the DNC, all of it. As the Party’s presidential candidate, he will have nominal control of the levers of Party power. As president he will have as much control of the country as he wishes to exercise, even if the leaders of both parties try to block him.

In the past, progressives — and by that I mean real reformers in the Bernie Sanders mold — have been remarkably ineffective in their own #resistance to Party leadership. At every turn, in every local election through 2016 and into 2018, every contest that threatened to put an actual progressive in power was fought bitterly by Party leadership via their control of the donor network, the DCCC, the DSCC, and their allies in other institutions of mainstream Party power, including the media. Some of these resistance candidates succeeded, a great many did not.

The single strongest breakthrough occurred in 2018, when a small group of aggressive progressives, reformers like Occasio-Cortez and others, defeated Party-approved candidates then showed themselves capable as a group of challenging its leaders on their own turf — from inside the halls of power.

Thanks to those victories and their continued opposition to leaders, progressive office-holders have gained some momentum, but not nearly enough. The Green New Deal is now a “thing” being discussed by voters, as is Medicare For All. But the pushback by Nancy Pelosi and other entrenched Party leaders has been fierce, corrupt and underhanded. Even Barack Obama is getting into the act. Even with a Democratic Senate, neither of these proposals is likely to be enacted soon.

The message in all this to progressives is simple: Don’t threaten the status quo. The reason: The status quo enriches and empowers us.We’re inside and you’re not. We mean to stay in charge. Go away.

Seen this way, a Sanders or Warren presidency threatens forty years of entrenched, neoliberal, insider-led and inbred Party power, the very power a great many voters want freedom from, if only they could manage it.

So where is Joe Biden in all this? If you examine all of the Democratic presidential candidates (including Biden himself, who hasn’t declared yet), they fall neatly into two groups — those opposed to the Obama-era status quo, rebels or “change” candidates; and those whose future depends on returning to that status quo, “faux-change” or “no-change” candidates. If you’re a “change” voter this time around, none of the non-rebels is even close to a choice, at least in the primary.

Beto O’Rourke? He wanted to cut Social Security. Kamala Harris? She sent poor mothers to prison because their kids skipped school. Pete Buttigieg? He’s an “all lives matter” kind of guy. Also this. Joe Biden? There’s too much wrong with him to begin to list.

It’s a very neat grouping — Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren on the one hand, all the rest on the other — and the 2020 Democratic primary will be, as it already is, an epic battle between the forces behind these two groups. The forces behind the change candidates are mainly outside the Party — voters and a handful of rebellious elected officials. The forces behind all the others are inside the Party and close to its center — mainstream Democratic leaders and those who keep them in power.

It should therefore be obvious that mainstream Party forces badly need a “Sanders (or Warren) stopper” — or, to borrow their own language, a kind of “Sanders killer“: As Axios writes, “One prominent [Biden] backer thinks Biden will run, and ‘is ready to kill Bernie.'”

If you accept all this, now consider the polling:

Results of a March 5, 2019 Morning Consult poll (source)

One can almost hear their cries: “Who will save us from these meddlesome candidates?” The choices, at least so far, aren’t promising. To date the only person positioned to knock off Sanders, or Warren should she surge, is Joe Biden. Kamala Harris, the nearest to either, is polling a quarter of what Sanders is polling, with the rest of the field well behind her.

Joe Biden, it would seem, is their strongest hope, perhaps their only one.

Are mainstream Democrats protecting him for that reason? From their lockstep defense of him, and the genuinely existential threat they face in the next election, I’d bet on it.

If you doubt me, put Bernie Sanders’ face on those Biden photos — and imagine what Nancy Pelosi would be saying then.

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  1. Isotope_C14

    “Joe Biden, it would seem, is their strongest hope, perhaps their only one”

    I had an uncle that liked to point out when a particular sentence had likely never been constructed before.

    He did himself in some years ago, but I’d like to honor his memory with the above sentence, as I’m reasonably certain this has been the first time Joe Biden has been anyone’s hope for anything.

  2. Michael Bryan

    To dismiss Buttigieg as a racist on such a spurious basis is some rather low politics. I’m disappointed in you.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Oh come on. This is a completely lame effort to deny an exact quote of what Buttigieg said. And you are upping the ante by putting words in Neuburger’s mouth. So pray tell, who is engaging in low politics here? Since when is it unfair to look at a politician’s statements?

        1. Otis B Driftwood

          Don’t be disingenuous. Like other mayors, he sided with his police department over the local BLM activists. For him, the police matter more.

          Buttigieg has a limited history, but it raises real concerns for progressives. Not low politics at all.

          1. James

            What he said seems to be the issue. Here’s the quote that some are taking exception to: “There is no contradiction between respecting the risks that police officers take every day in order to protect this community, and recognizing the need to overcome the biases implicit in a justice system that treats people from different backgrounds differently, even when they are accused of the same offenses.
            We need to take both those things seriously, for the simple and profound reason that all lives matter.”

            1. tegnost

              I don’t see the issue as a disputation of whether or not lives matter, I think the issue is that for some of us that’s a given, and for others of us it’s not so much. The phrase arose in that environment with the intent of making plain what all of us know deep down. That reality is that white me can do all variety of things in my car virtually without fear of inciting the wrath of law enforcement, while the polar opposite is true for a black person. To co opt this phrase as if the downtrodden includes the enforcers is a low game. This phrase co opting is the lowest form of getting front of a riot and calling it a parade. R.I.P. MLK

            2. a different chris

              Actually, the political issue is that he didn’t say anything. Read your quote – tell me what it means? Nothing at all, just a bunch of pretty words. We know police officers take risks. We know black people get screwed in court. We do take these issues seriously.

              So what the (family blog) is he actually telling us?

              What he is telling me, whether he means it or not, is that he doesn’t see a need to change anything, for either side.* Just speechify. We already got that in Obama. No thanks.

              *plenty of cops would like to see the bad seeds flushed out of the system

              1. shiny

                Plenty of cops seem unable and unwilling to do anything about it, or, and this is the important point, to support people who want to put into place means the cops do not control which would accomplish this.

                Buttigeg is a politician who knows all words matter and makes his choices carefully (unlike Uncle Joe) so let’s let him explain his choice shall we?

                1. pretzelattack

                  so he carefully considered and used the meme “all lives matter”, which is often used by cops and their supporters to undermine the people who want the system to be fair. this bothers me.

        2. KLG

          I have a friend who is pastor of a local Baptist church that broke away from the “white” congregation after the Civil War. Congregants are no longer restricted to the balcony. Imagine that. Needless to say, we live in a former Confederate state. He has a 19-year-old son. Yes, he has repeatedly had “the talk” with his son about how he must interact with the police. I have a son who is 8 years older. While I have reminded him from time to time to remain calm when interacting with the police, I have NEVER had to have “the talk” with him. This is the point, and the only point. Those who don’t understand are just being obtuse.

      1. Dan

        What is racism “in the classic sense?” He values European Ashkenazi Jewish lives over indigenous Arab lives. That’s racism. And he does it for personal gain, to receive Israel Lobby money. That’s more psychopathy to add to his racist psychopathy. End of story.

    2. todde

      He worked for McKinssey. I am assigning guilt by association.

      He is a corporate whore, and I have already dismissed him for it.

  3. The Rev Kev

    A modified statement-

    “I’ve always tried to make a human connection. That’s my responsibility, I think. I shake hands. I hug people. I grab men and women by the shoulders and say ‘you can do this’. Whether they’re women, men, young, old, it’s the way I’ve always been. The way I’ve tried to show I care about them and I’m listening.”
    And over the years – knowing what I’ve been through, the things that I’ve faced – I’ve found that scores, if not hundreds, of people who’ve come up to me and reached out for solace, comfort, something, anything that may help them get through the tragedy they’re going through. And so it’s just who I am.
    Social norms have begun to change – they have shifted. And the boundaries of producing personal space have been reset, and I get it. I get it. I hear what they’re saying. I understand it. And I’ll be much more mindful. That’s my responsibility. My responsibility, and I’ll meet it. I’ll always believe – governing quite frankly for that matter – is about connecting with people. That won’t change, but I will be more mindful and respectful of people’s personal space. And that’s a good thing. That’s a good thing.
    I’ve worked my whole life to empower women. I’ve worked my whole life to prevent abuse. So the idea that I can’t adjust to the fact that personal space is more important than it’s ever been is just unthinkable. I will. I will.”

    -Harvey Weinstein

  4. WheresOurTeddy

    There’s still 9 or 10 months until the voting starts. Plenty of time for a lot of Sanders voters to turn 18 and a lot of Biden voters to die. The dogs really aren’t eating the dog food this time around.

    1. polecat

      Look closely at that can of Allpol. It’s not food … At All !!

      So .. will the dog dish keep getting kicked over, until an unadulterated brand replaces it… ??
      Have yet to see whether the menu holds the real meat, or not .. 2020 : last chance to change out the bowl for something much more palpable.

    2. Kurtismayfield

      Quite frankly, the polls were extremely smart to allow parents to carry their kids up to age 26 on their health insurance. If they had to actually deal with the utterly corrupt and broken system at a young age, they might look into how the rest of the world does it better for 2/3 the cost.

    3. Cal2

      Lots of Sanders voters area also going to be older Americans shackled to their student loans, that thanks to Biden, are never discharged if they go bankrupt, no matter what the circumstances.


      And now, for act two:

      Coons and Klobuchar pitch retirement savings mandate plan

      “Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota has joined Sen. Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat,
      [Headquarters of corporate banks–Bidens Rotten Bourough]
      in the effort. The new bill from the two senators also would set up a portable retirement account for employees of small businesses modeled on the federal workforce’s Thrift Savings Plan.”…

      “The Board is required to contract out the administration of UP Accounts to a financial services company, and the Board must ensure that participants provide a menu of investment products that allows for diversification across stocks and bonds, including low-fee index funds,” the fact sheet said.

      “Workers are automatically enrolled to contribute 4% of their own earnings, but may opt out or select a different contribution level,” the fact sheet explained. “Worker contributions automatically rise to as high as 10%.”


  5. ambrit

    This is really about “power relationships.”
    As the DCCC et. al. have demonstrated time and again, the quest for social dominance is paramount. People like Weinstein and Epstein show the corrupting effects of financial power. Biden and his ‘Fellow Travailers’ in the vineyards of the Laird, those adroit Seigneurs of the Chemical Wedding, display the fell results of the political eleven dimensional games.
    To paraphrase Truman, the Democrat Nomenklatura is saying; “He’s a b—-, but he’s our b—-.”

    1. flora

      This is really about “power relationships.”

      Yes. One of the creepiest things about Biden stroking, petting, young women and girls in the youtube clips is he’s doing this in front of their husbands or parents. The husbands or parents who see it happening have to stand there with clenched teeth while “smiling” (but the look on their faces says they want to punch the guy).

      1. Lemmy Caution

        There does seem to be a brazen, in-your-face quality about Biden’s questionable behavior around women and girls that he is aware of and flaunts.

        An excellent example is the time he flirted with a female biker in 2012. By the expressions on the faces or her two male companions as they looked on, old Joe is lucky he didn’t get punched in the old kisser.

        Of course they knew Joe was Vice President at the time and that there were undoubtably armed Secret Service guys just out of the camera frame that would have arrested them if they laid a finger on Biden, or shot them on the spot. Biden knew he was untouchable then, just like he has been for decades due to his political power and influence. Yuck.

      2. John k

        I hadn’t thought of this, but maybe knowing he could mildly grope women, and flaunt their men’s inability to stop it, is part of a power trip.

      3. Dan

        They don’t have to stand there with clenched teeth smiling. And they don’t have to punch him, much as they’d like to. Get up, look him in the eye, and state in no uncertain terms that what he just did is beyond inappropriate.

        They could also ask him how he’d feel if someone did that to his wife or daughter. Since most of these politicians have no discernible conscience, I doubt the question about wife or daughter would even faze him. He won’t allow such a scenario to enter his consciousness, and if it did happen to one of his own who knows if it would even bother him that much. And if it did bother him, he’s probably not able to connect the pain he and his immediate loved ones experience with the fact that others experience the same pain when subject to the same experiences. Or, even if he can realize that on some level, he doesn’t care.

        By this point you recognize that I’m describing someone who suffers from some form of psychopathy, which no doubt Joe Biden does, as do most politicians. As one former president said, anyone who wants to be president is either an egomaniac or crazy. But the first point I mentioned above, the public shaming in front of the camera, will work to some degree on egomaniacs and psychopaths, as they’re extremely susceptible to any fractures in their carefully cultivated images.

        Beyond that, the much more important point is that they need to be shamed in front of the cameras so that the public at large can continuously be reminded how two-faced and absolutely vile most of these people are.

        1. Yikes

          Oh yeah, go up to someone who could destroy their career, destroy their loved ones career, have powerful government organs drum up any and all misery to inflict upon them, just go up to them and…

          …. Get up, look him in the eye, and state in no uncertain terms that what he just did is beyond inappropriate.

          1. Dan

            What would you do?

            What does it say of a human being who allows his or her child to be emotionally molested in the interest of their career?

            Anyone with a shred of dignity would have stood up and confronted Biden in that situation. I guess people who run in those circles don’t have much dignity.

            Anyway, they wouldn’t be out on the street starving (since you’re apparently so concerned with their well-being). They would have plenty of support, and would surely find their way, with their dignity intact. A whole new world would open up to them, one beyond the shallow halls of the political class and its minions.

            1. Yikes

              Your mighty brave for someone who wants to focus laying blame on the victim. Which is to say in real life I suspect not.

              1. Dan

                Your mighty brave for someone who wants to focus laying blame on the victim. Which is to say in real life I suspect not.

                Interesting that you immediately focused on me instead of answering the question “What would you do?” I’m frankly not interested in your suspectations about me and my life.

                I’m not laying blame on the victim. I’m saying until people take a stand – immediately, not after the fact – they will continue to be victims. Particularly when children are involved, for chrissake.

                Let’s try it this way. This is your daughter being moved on inappropriately by Papa Joe Biden:


                Again, I put the question to you: What would you do? I know what I’d do. It doesn’t take the bravery of a warrior to act when one’s child is being subtly molested.

                Watch him grab her arm and continue to move in on her as she’s clearly uncomfortable and pulling away. He rubs his nose on her, sniffs her hair, and moves in for a kiss.

                How old is this girl? And the parents just stand there and watch, although the mother has to look away for a moment and then has a tinge of conscience as she looks down with a bit of shame, knowing that she should have done something. But then she looks back up and feigns a smile and gives Papa Joe a few obligatory pats.

                The father just looks like a complete dimwit.

                But hey, they got a good photo-op and their careers are intact, so who cares if Papa Joe is a little inappropriate with baby girl.

                This is not the world I live in. If you run in these circles, where you sacrifice your children’s dignity for careerism and other nonsense, you have my sympathies. Though I suspect you don’t want or need them.

            2. Yves Smith Post author

              Oh help me. The examples we can look at to confirm this behavior are photo ops.

              A photo op is an explicit statement of important person knows supplicants. If the man objected, the woman might say it was OK even if she hated what was going on so as not to break up the photo or produce a visibly awkward image.

              1. flora

                If the man objected, the woman might say it was OK even if she hated what was going on so as not to break up the photo or produce a visibly awkward image.

                Or endanger her family in any way. imo.

              2. Dan

                Do you even realize what you are saying?

                I guess photo-ops are a good way to disembowel women’s empowerment.

                Gee, this guy’s making me feel like a piece of meat, but we have to get good pictures.

                One of us needs help, that’s for sure.

                1. flora

                  Oh Dan… you are clearly not a woman with a husband and a family… nor have any idea of what women will endure to protect their families from shunning or ridicule or poverty…

                  And if your response is “rise above”, that’s all well and good if there is a place you know you can and will land in ‘above’. But if not, ….

                  1. Dan

                    Oh, come on flora. There are plenty of women who maintain the utmost integrity and character without subjecting their families to the poorhouse. I mean, are you honestly reducing this to putting up with borderline molesters or else becoming poor?

                    The video I posted above bothers me to no end. Biden’s behavior is vile, and the parents do nothing.

                    Incidentally, I do have some idea of what women endure, though obviously no firsthand experience. I woke up a few years ago and continue to be awed by all the things I took for granted for so long. You are truly amazing. I hope some day soon to find someone who’ll put up with all my nonsense.

                    I should probably stop ranting on political blogs…

                    1. flora

                      Gosh, it sounds like you never had to put up with a bad jerk boss in order to keep a job because your higher priority had to be keeping a roof overhead and food on the table for your family.

                  2. Dan

                    Gosh, it sounds like you never had to put up with a bad jerk boss in order to keep a job because your higher priority had to be keeping a roof overhead and food on the table for your family.

                    OK, I’m done flora. We’re on different wavelengths. There’s obviously a whole wide swath between putting up with a jerk boss, which most of us have had to at one point or another, and standing by silently while a man touches your daughter inappropriately. The two situations are in no way analogous. And the idea that these people would be scrambling for a roof overhead and food is frankly inane. There are plenty of people working at Burger King who would sooner lose their job than allow their manager to creep on their kid. They’re way closer to the poorhouse than your newly beloved political parents in the Biden photo-op. Keep making excuses for them. No wonder the world’s a mess.

                2. flora

                  shorter: if I make a fuss my husband/father will step in to protect me and he may get himself (and our family) economically destroyed, or may even get himself shot. And I don’t want that to happen. So I’ll put up with this jerk vp for a short period of time and then we can get on with our lives.

                  1. The Rev Kev

                    shorter still: Biden is doing this to these women/children in public and saying to their husbands/fathers ‘I am doing this to them and you can’t do a damn thing about it.’

                  2. Dan

                    Then I don’t know what the answer is. Because I think the only way this behavior is going to be stopped (or drastically reduced) is by standing up and publicly shaming these bastards.

                    I don’t agree that they’d be economically destroyed. That’s just an excuse. Their lifestyle may change, but they would find something to do. They could go into teaching or some sort of consulting or start a victims’ rights advocacy nonprofit. The possibilities are endless. Happens all the time. There’s any number of things they could do. It’s not about economics. It’s about the prestige that comes with the political lifestyle. They don’t want to give that up. It’s vanity, not economics.

                    And again, look at what we’re dealing with. We’re not talking about putting up “with this jerk vp for a short period of time” because he’s saying mean or stupid things. He’s touching their daughter inappropriately. That generally produces a visceral reaction in people, something that defies outward appearances and good manners for the sake of congeniality. I guess it doesn’t in these circles.

                    1. flora

                      Changing the economic system so that standing up against abuses doesn’t result in economic destruction is important, imo.

                      Have you looked at teachers’ salaries lately, or read about the teachers’ strikes in multiple states? And non-profit work isn’t rolling in the money, either. Good work all, but very poorly remunerated. Raising a family requires dependable and adequate funds. (Biden’s student debt ‘indentured servitude bill’ didn’t help, imo.)

                      So, imo, the first step is creating a better economy than the gig economy for young people. Work that will earn enough, and jobs plentiful enough, so people can quit abusive bosses and still keep a roof over their head and find another decent job with decent benefits.

                    2. UserFriendly

                      Yeah, that video is of chris coons family, the Senator occupying Biden’s old seat. So it’s safe to say they know each other and that Biden could really cause problems for him.

    2. Lynne

      This is really about “power relationships

      Among the many videos of Biden groping young women and children, some include a clip of Jeff Sessions purportedly slapping Biden’s hand away from his granddaughter while younger democrats dependent on their party powers that be ignore what Biden does when they are in that spot. No better example of the power dynamics.

  6. divadab

    Excellent article! I suppose that someone with the moral code that allows consigning a whole generation of young people to indentured servitude with undischargeable student debt might also be disrespectful of their personal space. At least the female ones – as Biden doesn’t seem to want to grope and sniff the hair of men…….

    NO way to this corporatist candidate – Bernie all the way!

  7. Sunday afternoon

    Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren on the one hand, all the rest on the other
    er…Tulsi Gabbard?

    1. Otis B Driftwood

      Agreed! Tulsi is close to getting her place on the debate stage. She is particularly articulate on foreign policy and the military. Ideally, for me at least, Sanders is elected president, with Warren and Gabbard in his cabinet.

      1. Anarcissie

        My understanding (maybe incorrect) is that she now has enough contributors to be in the debates. I think her presence could be very important, as her uniquely explicit antiwar, antiimperial stance will force all the other debate participants to deal with it as well. The issue won’t be swept under the rug as it usually is.

        The website: https://www.tulsi2020.com/

        If you do a search on just her name, you will observe that the MSM have already started abusing her, a testimonial to her virtues, although like our author here, they usually prefer to pretend she doesn’t exist.

        1. Dan

          You saw what they did to Ron Paul, the last truly antiwar, anti-imperialist voice on the big stage. He was at least allowed some latitude because his economic policies weren’t “socialist.”

          I hope Tulsi’s voice is heard. She speaks more eloquently than Paul did, and having a military background gives her even more credibility (to much of the masses…I don’t personally require someone from a military background to understand the horrors the U.S. military inflicts on the world).

    2. gsinbe

      Yeah, that jumped out at me, too. Funny how the one candidate who is seriously questioning the viability of the American Empire is consistently ignored, even by Neuberger and other progressives.

      1. Martin Finnucane

        She and my guy Mike Gravel. I guess being an “Assadist” is just beyond the pale. I implore my Bernie-supporting comrades to seriously question why that is, and just what an “Assadist” is in the first place. I’d also like an apology for “Chavez is a dead communist dictator.”

  8. Otis B Driftwood

    We don’t really need to imagine the difference had this been about Sanders instead of Biden. Remember this gem from the NYT back in January?


    The photograph tells us all we need to know about the real motivation of this attack. The MSM pile on that followed was immediate and consistently formulated to direct blame directly on Sanders himself. It didn’t work.

    And you only need to spend a few minutes on Twitter (and elsewhere, I’m sure) to find tendentious attempts to show Bernie doing the same thing in photos. One reason, actually, why I decided to cancel my account.

    1. jhallc

      From the Article:

      “She said the surrogate told her she had “beautiful curly hair” and asked if he could touch it, Ms. Di Lauro said in an interview. Thinking he would just touch a strand, she consented. But she said that he ran his hand through her hair in a “sexual way” and continued to grab, touch and “push my boundaries” for the rest of the day.”

      No excuse for that behavior.
      but…At least the creepy guy asked first. Old Joe? never.

  9. John

    That the establishment Dems pin their hopes on Biden as their front runner is a sad, sad state of affairs for the Democratic party.

    He’s not a Democrat by any stretch of the imagination in the real world of his actual votes and actions in his long career in office. Only in the carefully painted pictures we are told to believe: “Lunch bucket” Joe.

    And on that note, can anyone tell me when we last had a real Democrat as President of the United States of America?

    1. Strawman

      And on that note, can anyone tell me when we last had a real Democrat as President of the United States of America?

      Thought-provoking question. If we also exclude those (before Dems’ still ongoing abandonment of working stiffs in favor of corporate backing in the wake of the 1984 Mondale debacle) who were suckered by cold-war inspired red hysteria and the domino theory, I’d say the last real Democrat we had as president was that flawed but still the greatest ever, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

        1. ChuckT

          Because FDR, in the biggest mistake of his presidency, gave in to corporatist pressure to replace Henry Wallace with Harry Truman on the ’44 ticket. From Truman on, there was nearly uninterrupted rule by corporate MIC controlled presidents. The greatest president in history denied the presidency to a man who almost certainly would have been even better.

          1. James

            “From Truman on, there was nearly uninterrupted rule by corporate MIC controlled presidents.“

            But why?

            1. Cal2

              Because after Hiroshima, we had no real enemies and needed the co-opted Democrats to help manage, maintain and create new ones?

            2. ChuckT

              there are probably hundreds of causes that all contribute to it. I’ll try to rattle off a handful that I can think of off the top of my mind.

              1. What I think of as ‘real democrats’ are vanishingly rare in the whitehouse going back to the founding of the nation. We’re going through a long dry spell – one that may continue indefinitely, but America has rarely been a home to truely progressive policies, and any progress on that front is always fought tooth and nail.

              2. Americans like to think of themselves as rugged frontiersmen and self-made business people. This does not lend them to embracing a society of egalitarianism. Compassion is seen as weakness.

              3. After WWII, the US as not been on the ‘just’ side of any of the wars they have been engaged in. To say nothing of the countless evil deeds done covertly around the world. This litany of unjust wars and outright war crimes has taken a toll on the American psyche. I suspect that subconsciously, many citizens feel a great deal of guilt and shame and feel they dont deserve a government that treats them well at home while they abuse the rest of the world.

              4. In the same vein as #3 above, the inevitability our extinction or the collapse of our civilization due to the dual swords of Damocles of nuclear war an human caused climate change, leads many to resign themselves to their fates.

              5. Americans are, be design, getting dumber. Many now lack the ability to percieve that they are being badly treated by their government, and are susceptible to misdirection, causing them to blame the wrong groups for their problems.

              6. Americans no longer have time to devote to pushing for domestic change. They are juggling multiple precarious jobs, relocating frequently and barely know their neighbours. They are always on the verge of poverty or homelessness. It’s hard to be politically engaged when you’re struggling to pay rent. Again, this is a feature, not a bug of corporate rule.

              7. America is simply following the trajectory of all empires. This particular empire burned brightly but briefly.

              Getting late, I guess I’ll conclude by asking why would one expect more ‘real democrats’ than the US has had? America does not seem like a nation where one would expect to find them.

  10. Roger Smith

    “I was surprised by the allegation…. All of us, including the vice president, need to continue to work on changing our culture.”

    No, Ms. Shaheen, I am a male and I do not grope children or women. This is a Joe Biden problem, not my personal problem. What is with this nonsense? Let’s not address the actual problems, let’s pretend we have a cultural issue and defer the blame onto all males. Then we can pretend we are fighting for something while continuing to do what we always do. Identity! Rabble rabble rabble, clicks and ad revenue.

    1. Lemmy Caution

      100% Yes.

      Biden’s behavior is not old-school politics, or a relic from a different time, or a result of the sorrow that comes from the loss of loved ones, or an effort to spread more love and support. It’s the kind of behavior that would earn an everyday citizen a punch in the face and I don’t care if you’re talking about the 1970’s, 1980’s or hell, the 1920’s.

      To see the amount of pretzel logic deployed by Democrats and the media to excuse Biden is amazing.

  11. Norb

    Why the bipartisan effort to make Tulsi Gabbard invisible? She is always treated as an afterthought, even thought a strong case can be made that she is one of the most articulate, and thoughtful candidates running.

    In the influential media, Jimmy Dore seems to be the only person strongly supporting her. What am I missing?

    Nothing or no one is pure, but Gabbard seems a very principled person.

    1. Call To Account

      “Why the bipartisan effort to make Tulsi Gabbard invisible?”

      Because she could wipe the floor with Trump if given the opportunity– not what the Demo. party, deep state, status quo corruptus wants.

    2. DonCoyote

      Because she explicitly names as enemy and vows to go after the Military Industrial Complex. You think Big Pharma had deep pockets and many tentacles–you ain’t seen nuthin’ until you see the mighty MIC propaganda machine.

      I mean, who advertises weekly on MSNBC–Purdue Pharmaceuticals or Boeing?

      1. Dan

        you ain’t seen nuthin’ until you see the mighty MIC propaganda machine.

        That’s really where it all starts and ends. Big Pharma, Big Tech, Big Ag…they’re all intimately tied to the Pentagon. All of their “innovations” are funded at public expense through the Pentagon system, which includes the MIT’s and other universities where research is done. The public pays for the research and innovation, then it gets handed off to the big fellas in the private sector for profit.

  12. Roger Smith

    Yves, I think your hypothesis is correct. Biden is the closest shield these zombie democrats have to protect them from Sanders. I think I mentioned this before, but this time around there isn’t the scepter of Clinton, crime family politics to drown out the mass protest. They know this and as it is today (No Biden), Sanders is extremely likely to be our next president (if he can beat Trump). He’s definitely going to smoke Harris and these other nobodies running in the primary. Reluctantly, the Democrats need Biden to be their Ace-in-the-hole, though I am sure they all know what a clownfish he is. This is their desperate play to change the prevailing winds… so now obviously, knowingly bad behavior is okay.

  13. Roquentin

    Everything about this is phony and contrived, start to finish. I almost can’t bring myself to comment on it because it’s too ridiculous. It’s all the contradictions and hypocrisy inherent in blue team America turned up to 11. The important thing to remember is that events like this are first and foremost staged performances, show trials in the media, and thus any actions are taken in a performative manner. It is a mistake to think that most people involved have any concerns outside of “how does this make me look to _____.” All the world is a stage, and they’re all trying to fire up their perspective fanbases. The rest is mostly window dressing. A big dog and pony show, one I grew bored of a long time ago.

    I’ll just come out and say it, even if assumed what is alleged against Biden is 100% gospel truth, it doesn’t deserve even half the attention it’s been given. No one should be surprised that big names in the Democratic party don’t care about it, because they never did at any point during the MeToo movement. Their involvement was always crassly opportunistic to varying degrees. Franken got thrown to the wolves mostly because a ritual sacrifice was necessary at the height of MeToo, and his allegations broke at precisely the right time. Someone had to be taken out behind the shed and put down to prove that they were doing something about sexual misconduct and cared and Franken was as good a fall guy as any. And before anyone says it, most people who went down during MeToo got exactly what they deserved, but some didn’t and there’s always X amount of woke performative nonsense mixed in with any kind of movement like this.

  14. Tim

    I am a white male in my 60’s who grew up in the south. I regret many of my past views and perceptions but can say to some extent they were a product of the “place and time”. That being said, I don’t see how anyone can attribute Biden’s behavior to some previous standard that gave permission for men to touch women the way Biden does. What he does is inappropriate now and was inappropriate 40 years ago. The only thing that has changed is that women were discouraged from speaking up 40 years ago.

    1. Martin Finnucane

      My thought too. My dad was a peaceful and retiring sort, but he would have worn me out if I ever ever did anything remotely like what we have video proof of Biden doing, in public. “Autres temps, autres moeurs” just doesn’t ring true for me, not in this case.

  15. The Rev Kev

    So speaking as a guy here, I was at this public event when behind me, this 77 year-old rich, powerful woman comes up close behind me. She then leans in close and sniffs my hair and as a guy I find this really uncomfortable, especially due to her old age. She then leans in and plants a kiss on the back of my head. If she was any closer I would have called out “The least that you could do is pull my hair back there” but there is only one real reaction to this molestation-


  16. AEL

    People are missing out is just how powerful touch is as a communication device. In many ways our society is touch deprived. Thus a politician who touches people has an advantage over those who don’t. Since politics is all about communication, that person will be a superior politician as they have a better and bigger “toolbox”.

    Now, assume that 99 percent of all people who get touched appreciate it (a very high percentage). That still leaves 1% who don’t. Given that politicians meet tens of thousands of people that still leaves hundreds of people who didn’t want to be touched. If you are counting votes affected, touching gains you way more votes than you lose by disaffecting those few.

    Now, dial down the numbers from 99 to, say, 80, it still works.

    However, if you can lose your *career* by touching people, that changes the math entirely.

    #metoo has changed the basic arithmetic on “lunch pail Joe”

    1. Tim

      This not about whether people do or don’t want to be touched. It is about women not wanting to be essentially attacked. They aren’t fridgid or inhibited, they don’t like being mauled by men whose power makes it impossible for the women to defend themselves. They don’t want to be bullied.TheLhedon’lbulliedthves.

  17. Troutwaxer

    Of all the candidates, I think Joe Biden has the very highest chance of losing to Trump just like Hillary did. For the current crop of Democratic power brokers, the party will live or die depending on how good (or bad) a job you ancient, shriveled people* do of handing the party over to the next generation.

    * I’m over fifty myself, but I get it.

    1. cm

      Biden has the very highest chance of losing to Trump just like Hillary did

      Agreed. If he faces Trump it will be so easy to educate the 30 and under crowd exactly why they can’t discharge college debt in bankruptcy court.

      1. Lynne

        Even while Trump could get out of his debt. Biden kept the “bankruptcy out” intact for the powerful, just not for the kind of “those people” who need to take out student loans.

  18. ptb

    Maybe Biden was just doing what seemed to work well for Bill Clinton in the 90’s. In hindsight, not the best example. He should make a more serious apology.

    Effect on a potential general election campaign? Another genuine criticism of Trump gets taken off the table.

    1. John k

      Yes… would a Biden campaign want to talk about trumps groping problems?
      Biden candidacy says groping is ok.

  19. John k

    On the plus side, his behavior has been well discussed in the media, pretty different from 2016… few in media talked about bills assault allegations, or Hillary throwing accusers under the bus. I take this as little love of Biden and more acceptance of Bernie, maybe some recognition neolib has gone too far.
    Photos above of Bernie audiences very encouraging.

  20. Unna

    If I’ve listened to this Stewart “Groper Joe” clip correctly, it was made during the run up to the 2016 primary. Question: Why was it OK for a main stream opinion maker – propagandist? – like Stewart to push the “Groper Joe” meme at that time? Was it done to prevent Biden from entering the primary against Hillary because she was the candidate the Dem elites wanted at that time? Was Stewart’s comedy “weaponized” in 2016 against Biden for the same reasons that the Dem elites are defending Biden today? That is, because although the Dem elites didn’t want Biden in 2016, these same elites now very much want Biden in 2020 because of Bernie? Question for those who have TV: is Stewart still pushing the “Groper Joe” meme today? If not why not?

    Apart from the truth of Biden’s apparent creepy groping, so much of everything that comes out of the Tube and the rest of media, newspapers, TV, comedy, seems to be nothing more than psychological and political manipulation. 2016: Creepy Joe. 2020: Elder Statesman Joe, who gets it and has evolved.

  21. Thomas Neuburger

    Thanks as always for the thoughtful comments. Some of the readers have raised questions, and rather than reply piecemeal, I thought I’d address them all here.

    About Elizabeth Warren:

    No, I don’t think of them as equivalent, except that each represents a threat to mainstream governance and the money-soaked game they all play.

    There are indeed difference between them, and I’ve written twice about that.

    The Difference Between Sanders and Warren, or Can Regulated Capitalism Save the Country?

    Thoughts on Warren and Sanders: How Much Change Is Needed in 2021?

    Since those pieces were published Warren has surprised me with many of her proposals. I take her to be sincere about them and I have an open mind about her.

    About Tulsi Gabbard:

    I should have added “viable” in this sentence “If you examine all of the [viable] Democratic presidential candidates (including Biden himself, who hasn’t declared yet), they fall neatly into two groups.” Marianne Williamson falls into the unviable category as well, yet has policies many would support.

    BTW, Tulsi isn’t who Sanders supporters think she is. As one commenter noted, she supports the fundamentalist, anti-Muslim Modi government in India, for example. So far Howie Klein has the most comprehensive piece about her.

    A taste:

    Before a feud with Debbie Wasserman Schultz at the DNC exploded and brought her over to Bernie’s then-struggling campaign, few people outside of Hawaii had ever heard of Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. But once she endorsed Bernie, she became an instant hero to his grassroots army of supporters. That grassroots army that was so quick to embrace her was largely unaware of a long record of political conservativism going all the way back to her days in the Hawaii legislature where, among other things, she led the fight against LGBTQ equality and as a crusader against anti-bullying efforts. (Yes, led, which is quite different from “voted badly once or twice.”) In fact, like her mother and father, she won office primarily on anti-gay campaign messaging.

    Now that she’s about to declare a bid for the presidency— a ploy to get on a ticket as vice president— it’s important to take a closer look before her p.r. people re-define her. Few people know she first won a seat on the Honolulu City Council with the backing of the Hawaii Rifle Association, the local NRA affiliate. She was a conservative who shifted left to run against another— better-known— conservative. More than a conservative or a liberal, Gabbard is, above all else, an inauthentic opportunist. One week she’s a regular Fox guest bashing Democrats for not being xenophobic enough, dating Michael “Mikey Suits” Grimm and trying to get a job in the Trump Regime… and then she’s a Berniecrat. Now she’s organizing an L.A.-based presidential campaign for herself. Will her pals the Adelsons support her? Steve Bannon?

    Links at the source. Please read it and at least consider her candidacy with an open mind. (Also, if you know anything about Michael “Mikey Suits” Grimm, a mobbed-up thug who also worked for the FBI, Gabbard being his one-time girlfriend give me huge pause.)

    About Pete Buttigieg and his “all live matter” remark:

    It’s not just that one remark, but the context in which it was made. If you click through to the article I linked, you’ll find this:

    Buttigieg’s comments could also put a spotlight on one of the more controversial aspects of his tenure as mayor of South Bend, involving secret recordings allegedly made of South Bend police officers at the direction of the city’s first African-American police chief, Darryl Boykins. Buttigieg demoted Boykins, who ultimately obtained a $75,000 settlement from the city after suing over what he described as Buttigieg’s “racial animus.”

    The officers believed to be recorded in the tapes also obtained a settlement from the city, for $500,000.

    For more on Mayor Pete, read Nathan Robinson or Benjamin Studebaker. I can personally attest that what Studebaker says about Notre Dame’s effect on South Bend is true.

    And finally about Joe Biden himself, I’ve written elsewhere that if he runs in the primary he’ll be savaged not just for these offenses, but for his whole history of pernicious policy.

    People now think as well of Biden as they will ever think. As soon as the truth about Biden starts getting splashed in people’s faces and they start really paying attention, they’ll turn away. None of that truth is good.

    (See also here: Joe Biden’s Biggest 2020 Problem Is Joe Biden)

    So the odds of him winning the nomination, in my opinion, are very low, and the rest are just not strong candidates. Which is I why I’ve been thinking about who the mainstream’s ace-in-the-hole candidate might be.

    And even if Biden does make it to the general election, he’ll hold the Democratic vote, lose all of the Republican vote (some of which Sanders would win), and lose all the independent vote that isn’t “never Trump” (most of which Sanders would win).

    That forecasts another 2016-style squeaker, at best. But again, I’d be personally shocked if he got that far.

    BTW, there’s a new allegation of touching that looks for all the world like legal sexual harassment in the workplace. The woman was Biden’s employee at the time, and she alleges retaliation. But the national press, in their wisdom, haven’t noticed this distinction.

    Again, thanks to all for your comments.


    1. redleg

      Watch Gabbard’s interview with Jimmy Dore from last week, and that should be more than enough to debunk your criticism of her Modi connection.
      Further, both Gabbard’s words and record dispel the “anti-LBGT” accusation as maliciously false.
      You need to do some homework. She might not be “viable”, but at least get your facts straight when it comes to her positions on these matters.

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