As I’ve always said, I go with the evidence in front of me. The evidence has changed, and for now I’ve changed my mind.
The case for taking Tara Reade’s accusations seriously rested on the fact that apparently she did tell several people of an incident of harassment while she was working for Joe Biden, fairly contemporaneously to the alleged incident.
But as I mentioned, there were certain eccentricities in her background that merited a second look, like her bizarrely fulsome praise of Vladimir Putin. Was that a red flag? Yes. Did it erase the accusation against Biden? No, not by itself.
Now we have a wider view, including some information that was brought up by several of our denizens here, and has been corroborated by professional and thorough reporting in Politico and PBS NewsHour.
1. Is there a pattern of actual, malicious harassment by Joe Biden — of the type that was known to be common among certain Senators (like Strom Thurmond and our own sainted Ted Kennedy)? Apparently not.
2. Is there a pattern by Tara Reade of dishonesty and manipulation? Apparently yes.
“You can use these words: manipulative, deceitful, user,” said Kelly Klett, an attorney who rented Reade a room in her home in 2018. “Looking back at it all now, that is exactly how I view her and how I feel about her.”
“She has a problem,” said Lynn Hummer, who owns a horse sanctuary where Reade volunteered for two years, beginning in 2014.
She described Reade as “very clever, manipulative. … I do think she’s a liar.”https://www.politico.com/news/2020/05/15/tara-reade-left-trail-of-aggrieved-acquaintances-260771
And on the subject of whether there’s a pattern for Biden — beyond the touching and personal-boundaries issues that he’s already addressed. Apparently there isn’t one.
The PBS NewsHour spoke with 74 former Biden staffers, of whom 62 were women, in order to get a broader picture of his behavior toward women over the course of his career, how they see the new allegation, and whether there was evidence of a larger pattern.
None of the people interviewed said that they had experienced sexual harassment, assault or misconduct by Biden. All said they never heard any rumors or allegations of Biden engaging in sexual misconduct, until the recent assault allegation made by Tara Reade. Former staffers said they believed Reade should be heard, and acknowledged that their experiences do not disprove her accusation.https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/what-74-former-biden-staffers-think-about-tara-reades-allegations
For Reade, this a lot of scrutiny for an ordinary person; and with the right spin, an unflattering story could be told about any of us. Politico’s juiciest quotes are all from people who rented to Reade, even as the relationships went beyond the merely transactional. If you squint really hard, maybe she was just trapped in a vicious cycle of monetary hard luck that is hard to escape. And maybe that required some manipulation, some tap-dancing, just to keep a roof over her head. This is not uncommon! Especially today, who can’t relate to that?
That’s a lot of squinting, though. You put this history versus Biden’s, and you just have to make a judgment call. For me, this puts Biden pretty much in the clear.