Presidential contender Joe Biden is under attack from fellow Democrats for how he treated Anita Hill in 1991 after she accused Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment.
#MeToo advocates are warning that Biden had better apologize if he wants the women's vote in next year's election. Biden's an expert panderer. He's already expressing contrition for how he, as chairman, handled the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearing on Hill's accusations: "To this day, I regret I couldn't come up with a way to get her the kind of hearing she deserved."
Sorry, Joe. That's rewriting history. The hearing was fair.
Hill's testimony was full of holes and devoid of evidence to back up her claim that Thomas harassed her by talking about porn and other vulgar subjects at work. Thomas categorically denied it. When testifying, she embarrassed herself, flip-flopping on a key question between her morning and afternoon testimony. She had to backtrack on repeated statements that Thomas asked her to his apartment to watch porn, finally admitting it was an "inference" she drew.
At first, she denied initiating calls to Thomas after she left her job with him, but she had to recant and admit she made several. The hearing and an FBI inquiry failed to demonstrate Thomas did anything wrong.
Last week, Biden expressed mealy-mouthed regrets that he had allowed senators to ask Hill "inflammatory questions." Justice required nothing less than tough, piercing questions. Hill's accusation threatened to wreck Thomas' life, but her claim didn't hold up under scrutiny.
Now, 28 years later, Biden is struggling to appear sympathetic to Hill. On The View, he asked, "How do you stop these character assassinations?" He meant Hill's character, but it was Thomas whose name was dragged through the mud without evidence.
The public, watching on television in 1991, believed Thomas over Hill by a 2-1 margin, according to Gallup polling. Yet, following Thomas's confirmation, Democrats turned Hill into a feminist icon and made believing her a litmus test.
Last year, Dems doubled down, insisting they believed Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of groping her when both were teenagers. Never mind that Ford couldn't even say where or when or provide corroborating evidence.
Senate Democrats including presidential wannabes Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand declared they believed her even before hearing her testimony.
Hill herself piled on Kavanaugh, demanding that the "burden of persuasion" should be borne by him, not his accuser.
Now, Hill wants an unambiguous apology from Biden for what happened in 1991. Caving to Hill will get Biden points with the far left but not with most people, not even with most women. They have fathers, sons, brothers and husbands they don't want skewered by the #MeToo movement. One accusation of sexual harassment can cost a man his education, his job or his entire future, even if the accuser has no proof.
Unfortunately, top Democrats couldn't care less. One of the biggest differences between Republican and Democratic pols right now is their attitudes about #MeToo. Republicans value time-honored principles like due process and the presumption of innocence. Democrats have no patience for it.
Voters need to keep that in mind in 2020. America doesn't need a #MeToo president. We already had one — Barack Obama. Thanks to his policies, college men accused of sexual harassment are often stripped of their rights by campus courts rigged to benefit women accusers. Fortunately, President Donald Trump's education secretary, Betsy DeVos, is reversing the Obama policies and restoring due process protections such as the right to cross-examine one's accuser. Senate Democrats, meanwhile, are resisting these reforms.
Trump says, "It's a very scary time for young men in America." He added, "You could be somebody that was perfect your entire life, and somebody could accuse you of something."
If it happens to you, know that most of the Democrats running for president, including Joe Biden, won't have your back. Sexual harassment is a grave matter, and accusations need to be taken seriously. But both the accused and the accuser deserve fairness. Sadly, that's not on the Democratic Party agenda.
Betsy McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York State. Contact her at [email protected] To find out more about Betsy McCaughey and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.