Monday, April 8, 2019

Commentary: 'What goes around...' By Paul Gottfried

In a column that had me scratching my head in wonder, New York Post columnist Andrea Peyser insists, as her title indicates, that "Uncle Joe is a Victim of Bonkers Feminism."  According to Peyser, Biden stands condemned because "many can't discern the difference between sexual violence and innocent flirtation."  Thus, the attack on Biden by a former Nevada legislator in an "attention-grabbing essay" has been used to set off a smear campaign against a lovable human being and humane legislator.  Peyser cites Biden loyalist and his successor as a Democratic senator from Delaware, Chris Coons, regarding Biden's "grandfatherly" relation to Coons's daughter: "During Chris Coons' swearing-in to the Senate, Biden whispered in the ear of the senator's then 13-year-old daughter and kissed the top of her head.  A pervert?  Hardly."
Peyser offers a reason why women are coming forward to make unfair accusations against a political figure whom Peyser deeply admires.  "Biden is a lonely political centrist in a constellation of socialist-leaning Democratic stars, which may be the reason that some in his own party are trying to destroy him with specious claims of sexual oddities."  Allow me to say as someone who has seen pictures of Biden putting his hand on women's thighs and kissing them on the lips that the phrase "sexual oddities" would hardly be a "smear."  It may indeed be the case that other presidential contenders have weaponized the accusations of sexual misconduct to go after an aging rival, but the complaints that have surfaced do seem plausible.  I'm also not impressed by defenses of Biden's uninvited intimacies that I've heard from Tucker Carlson and others with whom I often agree on political matters that one has to consider Biden's "generation."  Apparently, people of his age would find his behavior acceptable because, unlike a younger generation, they were less influenced by feminist ideology.  As someone who is Biden's age and who is anything but a feminist, I nonetheless find his groping and embracing of women in public utterly scandalous.
Finally, I am baffled to hear Biden described as a lonely centrist in his radicalized party.  Although Peyser is a Democratic neo-con who voted for Hillary, I am still baffled that she would characterize Biden as a "lonely centrist."  "Centrist in relation to whom or what?" is the question that inevitably comes to mind here.  In the Senate, Biden voted with the Left on most social issues and was particularly vocal as a defender of abortion.  During the now famous or infamous Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Robert Bork in 1987, he joined his soul mate Teddy Kennedy in accusing the distinguished nominee of being a racist and of hating women.  Biden's unsubstantiated attacks on Bork were the most vicious heard at the hearings.  In 2006, Biden went after the later Supreme Court Justice Sam Alito during confirmation hearings for raising constitutional questions about government-mandated quotas.  At these hearings, Biden erroneously and even laughably stated that he had been denied entrance to a top law school because of his Catholic faith.  Biden was also instrumental in his "moderateness" in advancing the gay agenda as Obama's vice president.  And lest I forget, he was entirely cool with the application of more stringent policies in dealing with male sexual harassment under the Obama administration.  In looking at the trouble now raining down on his head, one is put in mind of that saying that "what goes around comes around."  Or as Politico explains the matter: "Biden is living in a world of accusation he helped create."
It is also mind-boggling to read Peyser's tribute to a statesman of principle.  Are we talking about the politician who has consistently lied about his working-class background and who blatantly plagiarized a paper in law school?  In August 2012, while speaking before largely black supporters in Virginia, Biden threw this charge at the Republican Party and presumably at its white-bread presidential candidate, Mitt Romney: "They want to put y'all back in chains."  (Please notice the childish imitation of black speech patterns.)  Biden's speech on March 26, attacking "white male culture," abounded with so many misstatements that one has to wonder whether the speaker ever bothers with facts.  Perhaps Peyser considers such oratory worthy of a principled centrist.
Although we are free to speculate about the motives of those trying to bring down Biden as a presidential candidate, he is not someone who stands out as a person of principle.  Sometimes even one's political adversaries manage to take down a deserving target, and this may be one of those cases.  It also seems foolish to start celebrating leftist politicians, and particularly unprincipled ones, because the Democratic Party has managed to move in some respects to the left of where these politicians built their reputations.  Let us remember that it would have been hard for Sandy O or Beto to become political forces without Pocahontas and Uncle Joe blazing a path for them.

Editor's note: This article was initially published at American Thinker and has been rerun with permission of its author.


Paul E. Gottfried is Raffensperger Professor of Humanities Emeritus at Elizabethtown College, where he taught for twenty-five years. He is a Guggenheim recipient and a Yale PhD. He writes for many websites and scholarly journals and is the author of thirteen books, most recently Fascism: Career of a Concept and Revisions and Dissents. His books have been translated into multiple languages and seem to enjoy special success in Eastern Europe. 


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