Seasoned political observers haven’t been putting much weight upon Joe Biden’s chances this election cycle. Not because his political views are objectionable – who can object to something that’s not really there? – or out of tune but because he’s long, long, been known to have a wandering hands problem. This is something that just won’t wash in this modern era.
Sure, we can wonder whether each and every instance of some old white guy being called a misogynist is entirely and verifiably true but that’s not the point at issue here. The way that Joe handles women just isn’t quite what is expected these days:
Former Vice President Joe Biden responded for the first time on Sunday to allegations that he made a Nevada politician feel “uneasy” in 2014 when he kissed her on the back of her head, saying that he never believed he acted inappropriately. “In my many years on the campaign trail and in public life, I have offered countless handshakes, hugs, expressions of affection, support and comfort,” Biden said in a statement. “And not once – never – did I believe I acted inappropriately. If it is suggested I did so, I will listen respectfully. But it was never my intention.”
It could even be that that’s all absolutely and entirely true. That it’s just a little bit of overwhelmingly tactile good ‘ol boy stuff. Rather they way I would read it too.
I’ve my own objections to Biden, seeing him as a long running machine politician who is most unlikely to ever do anything useful. But there aren’t any grand stories of great wrongdoing out there. We’re not regaled with whispered tales of zipper problems a la Clinton, dubious bankruptcy practices a la Trump, he didn’t drown anyone like a Kennedy. He’s just a rather vapid career politician with wandering hands – and in this modern day that’s a problem:
In Biden’s case, there is not just photo evidence, but video evidence of him acting creepily among younger women as VP. His antics of rubbing women’s shoulders at events, sniffing their hair, and pecking at them has been the subject of YouTube compilations for years. There’s also a photo of Biden planting his nose in the hair of actress Eva Longoria at the same fundraiser in which Flores said he took liberties with her.
Biden might well say that’s just being friendly. Possibly a tad tactile, but, you know, no harm meant or done. And in an earlier age that might have been that. It’s not going to be that now. Even, Joe might be right, he is just being friendly. Today’s society doesn’t see it that way though. And the thing about politics is that it is all image, all vapourware, and if your’s doesn’t fit the current mores then you’re simply not going to win.
All of which is why no one – other than perhaps Joe Biden – has been taking Joe Biden’s possible run all that seriously. Because we all knew it would fall over from this very issue at some point along the road. He might not even be groping women but that doesn’t actually matter, appearances do.
I still think it’s quite wonderful that in an earlier campaign he plagiarised a Neil Kinnock speech but that’s another matter.