by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
He may be the only Democratic candidate who could likely win back some of the “deplorables,” “irredeemables,” and “clingers” of the critical Midwestern swing states.
But all of that said, the folksy Biden is hardly the sober and judicious alternative to a supposedly reckless Donald Trump.
In many ways, Biden has been far wilder in his speech and decorum — despite nearly a half-century in politics.
Could a Biden campaign withstand #MeToo-era scrutiny? Biden was widely criticized for his handling of Anita Hill’s sexual harassment allegations against Clarence Thomas during Thomas’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings in 1991. In 2015, New York magazine ran a photo essay showing nine instances when Biden, in creepy fashion, leaned in closely and whispered in women’s ears, with several of those women appearing visibly uncomfortable with such interaction.
Biden was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee that grilled Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork in such a crude fashion as to turn the failed nominee’s name into a verb. “Borked” is now synonymous with the sort of character assassination that Biden led. His later aimless and incoherent questioning of Thomas during his confirmation hearing managed to enrage both critics and supporters.
Biden was accused of — and confessed to — plagiarism in law school, and he withdrew from the presidential primaries in 1987 after being caught plagiarizing British Labour-party leader Neil Kinnock in campaign speeches (while also inserting fabrications about his family’s background).
On the 2008 campaign trail, Biden committed so many verbal gaffes that President Obama reportedly lamented in frustration, “How many times is Biden gonna say something stupid?”