Thursday, April 04, 2019

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


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

by Thomas Neuburger

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: "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 plus 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. So 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 viable 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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At 9:22 AM, Blogger CNYOrange said...

Nice to see gillibrand prove what a hypocrite she is in real time. Anyone still defending her for what she did to Franken needs to shut up yesterday.

At 10:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

horse shit!

it's so simple... why can nobody see it?

biden is a corporate whore who would work gladly with gillibrand and the rest of the corporate whoring PARTY. It's OK if you're in the same tribe. they're in the same tribe.

Franken was more willing to voice a more progressive brand of rhetoric. Therefore the corporate whore PARTY demo was happy to rid their donors and congress of him.

If a single case of Bernie being handsy came out, gillibrand and the party would instantaneously "franken" him. He's not in their tribe.

Now, why didn't that interviewer ask gillibrand why trump is immune too? Trump proudly BOASTS of molesting women. But it's ok.. somehow.

At 11:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

chris Matthews? he's a Nazi. that's why he didn't ask gillibrand about the hypocrisy wrt trump.

or don't you remember him gushing about W's bulging codpiece on the carrier with "we're all neocons now"?

At 11:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gillibrand defending Biden when she hounded Franken out of the Senate is like Republicans defending Roy Moore. It doesn't matter what he's done, or to whom, because he's OUR GUY!

The fact that she's telling this to Chris Matthews -as Republican a democraptic media person there is- only amplifies the problem with the Party and why they are going to deliver yet another victory to the GOP in 2020: THEY HAVE NO VALUES.

We know that the Republicans are very Vince Lombardi in their motivation in that winning is the ONLY thing. The democraps -being GOP wannabees to their core- have gone a long way toward merging into that corruption.

The nation cannot survive under such greed - not that many people care.

At 12:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even though I was a big fan of Franken, the politician, the fact that there is a photo of him posturing to grab the breast of the actual woman who accused him of sexual harassment was too damning for the "I wasn't aware the norms have changed defense." Biden's encroachment of personal space is an issue Franken would have easily survived. Everyone knows a "shoulder grabber" is less evil the a "pussy grabber", right?

At 2:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Biden's a boob grabber. Lots of photographic evidence toward that charge. When are you going to apply the standard you used against Franken on Biden?

At 3:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

(Biden's a boob grabber. Lots of photographic evidence toward that charge.)
There is a doctored photo of Biden grabbing boob which doesn't qualify for this event-
If there's a real photo of Biden grabbing boob, do post the link?

At 3:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Franken pretended to grab the joy bags in order to be funny. He failed and it was pretty disgusting, but I don't remember anyone accusing him of actually fondling.

biden strokes backs and rib cages, sniffs hair, kisses the head and nuzzles. If he did that to me, I'd make him get facial reconstruction surgery.

to me, biden is worse than franken.

trump proudly boasts about molesting and there are plenty of stories around that he's indulged in hundreds of paid dalliances and at least 18 unwanted ones. One author quotes him as saying that him banging the wives of his friends and associates is what makes life worth living.

franken got railroaded. biden is being defended and will probably be the democrap nom. trump is golden.

the two who are tolerated just happen to be faithful servants of the rich and corporations... coincidence? nope!

justice in the inverse. why not? this is truly a cluster fuck of a shithole.

fuck we're stupid!

At 4:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As evidenced by 3:02.

At 5:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Below is what Franken faced along with an actual pic of him. Pictures are powerful and hard to deny. Biden is worse than Franken politically 4 sure, but Franken could be arrested for sexual assault for his actions,if true, whereas Biden could not. The point being that if Biden did what Franken did he be finished and if Franken did what Biden did he probably be running for President with the Dems blessing. Trump is a dishonest swine backed by an undemocratic senate composed of mainly swine whose morality is guided by tax breaks, otherwise he'd be arrested for all his actions. Clinton also survived all his rapist rep too.

“When he put his arm around me, he groped my right breast. He kept his hand all the way over on my breast,” Kemplin told CNN. “I’ve never had a man put their arm around me and then cup my breast. So he was holding my breast on the side.

“I remember thinking, ‘Is he going to move his hand? Was it an accident? Was he going to move his hand?’ He never moved his hand.” She said he held his hand on her breast “long enough that he should have known, if it was an accident.”

Kemplin said she eventually turned her body, to shift Franken’s hand off her breast, before the picture was taken:

"And I remember thinking — is he going to move his hand?"
An Army veteran tells CNN that Sen. Al Franken inappropriately touched her in 2003, cupping her breast during a USO tour photo op

— CNN (@CNN) November 30, 2017

Franken has said he is “fully committed” to cooperating with an ethics investigation, which was called for after radio host Leeann Tweeden released a photo of Franken similarly putting his hands over her breasts as she slept on the flight back to the U.S. from their USO tour in 2006.

At 5:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's for you, 3:02:

You need to hear this, because it's about you.

At 5:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joe Likes 'Em Young!

But I'm sure these were Photoshopped, weren't they 3:02?

At 6:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not every woman over 55 feels that disgusting behavior is acceptable. I think the poll is wrong. Most of us have experienced sexual harassment at some time in our working lives and did not think it was "all right." We do not want our daughters to have to experience that either and that is why so many young women do not put up with it. "Metoo" is not a new thing - remember the women's movement, feminism and bra burning? Biden needs to just retire and forget about being president. He really does not give a shit about anyone in this country, just like trump.

At 8:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Warren is not a threat to the establishment. She's met with Jamie Dimon, Wall Street has held fundraisers for her, she abandoned Bernie for Hillary... she is not Bernie with a vagina.

At 10:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahh the hyper ping-pong age of digital Calvanism at it's best.

My candidate Bernie perhaps explains this topic best with his 43 year old essay {"Many women seem to be walking a tightrope now. Their qualities of love, openness, and gentleness were too deeply enmeshed with qualities of dependency, subservience, and masochism. How do you love — without being dependent? How do you be gentle — without being subservient? How do you maintain a relationship without giving up your identity and without getting strung out? How do you reach out and give your heart to your lover, but maintain the soul which is you?

And Men. Men are in pain too. They are thinking, wondering. What is it they want from a woman? Are they at fault? Are they perpetrating this man-woman situation? Are they oppressors?

The man is bitter.) This is the famous Bernie supports rape essay that opens with ("A man goes home and masturbates his typical fantasy. A woman on her knees, a woman tied up, a woman abused.

A woman enjoys intercourse with her man — as she fantasizes being raped by 3 men simultaneously.") Does anybody even remember the year book photo of Ralph Northram? :}

At 11:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:00, been saying that since 2015 when she refused, adamantly, to endorse Bernie.

But Bernie also proved to be no real threat when he endorsed and campaigned for wall street's all time favorite whore.

The entire party is shit. If the left electorate ever figures this out, then maybe change can become possible. Until then, nothing will ever change.


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