Joe Biden and a Dirty Little Secret

Dr. Malcolm Cross

The recent accusation of sexual harassment and assault made against Joe Biden by a former Senate staffer is important less for what it tells us about him and his accuser, and more for what it tells us about a dirty little secret about American politics and sex.  Acknowledging this secret is the first step in accepting a more fair standard of justice not only for judging Biden, but also for judging everyone– accused and accuser, man and woman, Democrat and Republican–in America.  But before we discuss the DLS, let’s look at the accusation itself and see what we can make of it.

In essence, a woman claims that in 1993 Joe Biden pinned her against a wall, stuck his hand under her skirt, and, uh, “digitally penetrated” her.  There were no witnesses.  Several people have said they remember her telling them of the alleged incident at the time she claims it occurred.  But most contemporaries claim no memory of her ever telling them.  Biden himself has vigorously denied it ever happened.  So whom should we believe?

Ironically, if we apply the “Biden Standard” to evaluating women who accuse men of sexual assault, we must conclude that she’s probably telling the truth and that Biden must prove otherwise to achieve exoneration.   As Biden himself has said:  “For a woman to come forward in the glaring lights of focus, nationally, you’ve got to start off with the presumption that at least the essence of what she’s talking about is real, whether or not she forgets facts, whether or not it’s been made worse or better over time. But nobody fails to understand that this is like jumping into a cauldron.”  This was the standard applied by the Democrats in the Brett Kavanaugh case in 2018, as well as against Clarence Thomas in 1991.  And lest anyone think these cases are settled, some Democrats are still seeking ways, means, and reasons to impeach either, or both, Kavanaugh and Thomas.

But if we apply the Republican standard for judging Kavanaugh and Thomas, we must come to a different conclusion about Biden:  Given the flimsiness of the evidence against him, not to mention the lack of timeliness of the accusation, he should be considered innocent.  And even if additional evidence or charges should be made, Biden remains entitled to the presumption of innocence unless his accusers supply proof of guilt.  

Which brings me to the DLS, which is not Joe Biden’s dirty little secret; it’s the secret the Democratic and Republican parties, for all their differences, have in common:  Whether a Democrat or a Republican is accused of sexual misconduct, neither party really cares about finding out what really happened; rather, the interests of both parties are limited to scoring whatever points they can off each other. Of course, decent women and men will, by definition, feel outraged and disgusted at any act of sexual harassment or assault, and will want to know who really did what to whom, without caring at all about who belongs to which political party.  But the pattern one can see over the last few decades is obvious—Democrats will do their best to crucify Republicans for acts they excuse when their fellow Democrats are accused of them, while Republicans will give each other the benefit of the doubt concerning acts for which they will try to destroy Democrats.  Everyone cares only about partisan advantage or lack thereof; nobody cares much about finding out the truth.

This pattern should be unacceptable to a nation dedicated to the rule of law.  Americans who put justice before party must let the leaders of both parties know that they can’t have it both ways:  Democrats can’t try to destroy Clarence Thomas or Brett Kavanaugh while defending Bill Clinton or Joe Biden.  Republicans must understand that having made excuses for Donald Trump even in light of the Access Hollywood tape must likewise accord Biden the same benefit of the doubt.  And both Democrats and Republicans must understand that once you begin taking away anyone’s rights to due process, you endanger everyone’s freedom

So if those in power really want to take accusations of sexual assault seriously, they should not base their actions on the political affiliations of the accusers and the accused, but rather do what neither party currently wants to do, but which both parties must do to promote justice:

  • Take all accusations and those who make them with the utmost seriousness;
  • Investigate them thoroughly before reaching final conclusions;
  • Accord the accused and their defenses the same degree of seriousness and due process; and
  • Preserve, protect, and defend the civil liberties of all, as spelled out in our national Bill of Rights.

That may not be either the Democratic or Republican way right now, but it’s indisputably the American way.

Malcolm L. Cross has lived in Stephenville and taught politics and government at Tarleton since 1987. His political and civic activities include service on the Stephenville City Council (2000-2014) and on the Erath County Republican Executive Committee (1990 to the present).  He was Mayor Pro Tem of Stephenville from 2008 to 2014.  He is a member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and the Stephenville Rotary Club, and does volunteer work for the Boy Scouts of America. Views expressed in this column are his and do not reflect those of The Flash as a whole.


  1. Jail them convinced u you Republican’s did that Trump was guilty of any such incidents.

    Who’s Who in the Jeffrey Epstein sex scandal
    A look at those linked to the billionaire found dead in his cell, from US presidents and senators to a British prince, female socialite and a French modelling agent
    13 August 2019, 5:02 am

    NEW YORK (AFP) — Jeffrey Epstein’s death in prison from an apparent suicide as he awaited trial on sex trafficking charges came after newly released testimony linked the disgraced financier to several high-profile personalities.

    Epstein befriended many politicians and celebrities over the years and alleged victim Virginia Giuffre said in the court documents that she was forced to have sex with some of them.

    From US presidents and senators to a British prince, female socialite and a French modelling agent, AFP takes a look at the famous faces caught up in the Epstein scandal.

    The prince and the presidents

    Prince Andrew arrives for the wedding of Princess Eugenie of York and Jack Brooksbank at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, near London, England, Friday Oct. 12, 2018. (Steve Parsons, Pool via AP)
    Giuffre, now 36, testified that she had sex with Britain’s Prince Andrew when she was underage, an allegation Buckingham Palace has repeatedly and strenuously denied.

    A photo showing the prince standing with his arm around Giuffre’s waist was included in Friday’s unsealed documents.

    Epstein, who was 66 when he died, was known to be close to Donald Trump before he was president and Bill Clinton. No allegations of sexual impropriety connected with the financier’s activities have been made against them.

    Trump and Clinton traveled on Epstein’s private jet while Epstein was a regular guest at parties at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

    The English socialite

    Ghislaine Maxwell (Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 4.0)
    Ghislaine Maxwell, friend and former lover of Epstein, is the daughter of ex-British newspaper baron Robert Maxwell.

    Giuffre said that Maxwell recruited her and other high-school age girls to perform sexual favors for Epstein. She also took part in the abuse, Giuffre added.

    Maxwell, 57, denies the allegations and has called Giuffre a liar, leading Giuffre to sue Maxwell for defamation. Maxwell’s current whereabouts are unknown.

    The US politicians
    Giuffre said she was sent to have sex with former US Senator George Mitchell, an allegation he has strenuously denied.

    Mitchell, 85, was the Senate Majority Leader from 1989 to 1995 and one of the key architects of the deal that brought peace to Northern Ireland. He was also a special envoy to the Middle East under Barack Obama.

    Giuffre said she was also sent to Bill Richardson, a former governor of New Mexico. He also vehemently denies the charges.

    Neither Richardson nor Mitchell have been accused by prosecutors.

    The businessmen
    Leslie Wexner — the billionaire boss of US fashion retailer L Brands, which owns Victoria’s Secret — was thought to be Epstein’s biggest financial backer after hiring him as a financial adviser in the 1980s.

    The New York Times reported that a mansion in Manhattan that Wexner owned was transferred to Epstein for $0. A source told AFP that Wexner sold his interest in the property to an entity owned by Epstein for $20 million in 1998.

    Retail mogul Leslie Wexner, right, and his wife Abigail tour the “Transfigurations” exhibit at the Wexner Center for the Arts Friday, Sept. 19, 2014, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
    Wexner severed ties with Epstein after the latter’s conviction for sex crimes with underage girls in 2008.

    Wexner has said that Epstein stole vast sums of money from him.

    Giuffre said she was forced to have sex with French businessman Jean Luc Brunel who runs the MC2 Model Management agency.

    Epstein owned an apartment near the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and had been in the city just before his arrest in New York last month.

    On Monday two French government ministers called for an investigation, saying the US inquiry had exposed links between the disgraced financier and France.

    The celebrity lawyer
    Alan Dershowitz is one of America’s most famous lawyers.

    He successfully helped British socialite Claus von Bulow overturn his conviction for the attempted murder of his wife and was part of O.J Simpson’s legal team when he was acquitted of murder.

    In 2007, Dershowitz, now 80, helped broker the plea deal that saw Epstein spend just 13 months in a county jail in Florida after admitting a single state charge of soliciting prostitution from a minor.

    Giuffre said she had performed sexual acts on Dershowitz, an allegation he has repeatedly and vehemently denied. He has accused Giuffre of being “a complete and total liar.”

  2. In all honesty, I think them way that an accused person (usually a man) is assumed guilty until proven innocent that all sexual assault cases should come with a blanket gag order. No publicly attacking a victim or the accused, their identities should not be released to the public until a trial actually begins and a jury has been selected and is actually being used. It is the only way that both sides can have a fair trial. Too many times have I seen a man that was accused lose their job, their wives, their families, just to have someone say they made it up to hurt them (with no penalty for doing it might I add), whereas at other times I have seen them yell a woman was a whore and she deserved it, which might I add is equally disgusting. Mind you all this is done before a trial is even convened in most cases, dirtying a jury pool and making it extremely hard to get a fair trial. So yes, I think in sexual assault cases, it should be handled like minors in court until there is a verdict, then names come out and we can all talk about it however we want.

  3. All this calling out of Biden but did we all forget about the 26 sexual assult cases that include a minor with Trump? Or the fact that he was caught saying he forcefully kissed women or talks about grabbing them by their P$$Sy?

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