I’m a Lutheran and I can eat pretty much anything I want, but I’m asking for a friend. In any event, that brings us to Katha Pollitt, the Nation’s longtime feminist writer, who declares that even if Joe Biden boils and eats babies, she’ll still vote for him.
I would vote for Joe Biden if he boiled babies and ate them. He wasn’t my candidate, but taking back the White House is that important. Four more years of Trump will replace what remains of our democracy with unchecked rule by kleptocrats, fascists, religious fanatics, gun nuts, and know-nothings. The environment? Education? Public health? The rights of voters, workers, immigrants, people of color, and yes, women? Forget them. And not just for the next four years: A Trump victory will lock down the courts for decades. I cannot believe that a rational person can grasp the disaster that is Donald Trump and withhold their support from Biden because of Tara Reade.
I myself doubt Joe Biden eats boiled baby. Having dined with people Biden’s age, my guess is that boiled baby flesh is a bit too tough for sleepy Joe, and that he’s probably more into macaroni and cheese and liquefied peas. Boiled baby can be a great hangover food if you’re in your 20s, but when you’re pushing 80 it’s a bit too rich to digest.
I’m personally a little skeptical about the idea that Joe Biden raped Tara Reade. An old professor of mine was accused of something very similar by a graduate student, and he was ultimately cleared. I’m not saying politicians don’t crudely assault junior staffers in Washington, but I also think that it’s probably a bad idea to accuse a man of committing a serious crime unless there’s real evidence. We have plenty of proof that Biden is a misogynist and a reactionary. His support for the Hyde Amendment and his behavior towards Anita Hill during the confirmation of Clarence Thomas are part of the public record. We really don’t need he said, she said debates from the 1990s. I doubt Biden would even remember if he assaulted Tara Reade anyway.
That being said, the reasons why Kata Pollitt thinks Tara Reade is lying reveal a lot about bourgeois American feminism. They are essentially two.
1.) To paraphrase long time Hillary Clinton ally David Brock (on Anita Hill), Reade is nutty, and a little bit slutty. Pollitt vehemently denies that she’s biased against Reade because of her class, but it’s clear that Reade is not the kind of woman elite Acela Corridor feminists would have brunch with. She’s “not our kind dear” as the WASPS (or is it the British) would say.
2.) Tara Reade is pro-Russian, or at least was pro-Russian, and women who have previously expressed positive opinions about Vladimir Putin can’t be raped. It’s not that, like Norma McCorvey, who brought the landmark lawsuit Roe vs. Wade to the Supreme Court and who later became an anti-abortion activist, Reade is being paid off. Its that pro-Russian women in the United States are by very definition crazy.
You can call me a sexist or an incel if you want (I’ve been called worse) but here’s my harsh opinion of elite, bourgeois feminism. Most rich white ladies who call themselves “feminists” don’t care about stopping rape. Since they believe that all men are rapists, and many of them have husbands, sons, and brothers, they want to make sure that only the “right” kind of men get a pass. For feminists like Kata Pollitt, the rapes Donald Trump has allegedly committed are serious crimes. The sexual assault Joe Biden has allegedly committed is just a fact of life. Get over it.
What really bothers Kata Pollitt isn’t the fact that Tara Reade may or may not have been sexually assaulted by Joe Biden, but the idea that it may benefit “Bernie Bros.” For feminists like Kata Pollitt accusing a political opponent of rape or sexual assault is a powerful weapon in your political arsenal not to be “appropriated” by men. Whether or not it’s true is besides the point. The real issue is that men shouldn’t be allowed to control the narrative.
When I started writing this piece too many long days ago, Trumpies, Berners, and many feminists alike supported Reade’s allegation, first made public on March 25 on Katie Halper’s podcast, that Biden sexually assaulted her in 1993 when she was a staffer in his Senate office. I was on the fence. I wrote, “I’d like to know more” on Twitter and Facebook and was reviled as a feminist hypocrite—interestingly enough, mostly by men. It was also mostly men who demanded that I sign on immediately to #IBelieveTara.
In the end, the idea that Joe Biden and Bill Clinton have the right to commit sexual assault is a “feminist idea.”