Silver lining argument: It’s a good thing we’ve advanced enough that — for Democratic politicians, at least — it’s a problem when someone’s been ‘merely’ disrespectful / dismissive of women, without being actual rapists or pathological horndogs. Kinda like it was a problem for a certain long-term politician who praised then-candidate Barack Obama as “clean and articulate” back in 2007. Obama forgave Biden then; will voters (especially women voters, and voters of color) be as understanding today?
Jane Mayer, who was there for the hearings, at the New Yorker:
… Predictably, Biden was asked if he should have given Hill a fuller and more personal apology. Biden again stopped short of blaming himself, saying, “I did everything in my power to do what I thought was within the rules.” He then added, “I don’t think I treated her badly.”
Biden failed to acknowledge that, as the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991, he set many of “the rules” that damaged Hill and determined the over-all fairness of the process. As Jill Abramson and I reported in our 1994 book about the Thomas confirmation fight, “Strange Justice,” several of Biden’s Democratic colleagues in the Senate later acknowledged that, in his eagerness to be impeccably fair to all sides, Biden got outmaneuvered by the Republicans. That left Hill and, ultimately, the truth undefended. As Howard Metzenbaum, a crusty Democrat from Ohio, later admitted, “Joe bent over too far backwards to accommodate the Republicans, who were going to get Thomas on the Court come hell or high water.” An adviser to Ted Kennedy, the Massachusetts liberal whose own womanizing eroded his credibility, was more critical still, saying, “Biden agreed to the terms of the people who were out to disembowel Hill.”