Conservatives have been giddy about the sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden from 27 years ago, but we do need to keep perspective and not abandon critical conservative principles for very short-term political gain. Exposing hypocrisy is fine, but abandoning due process is not.
A former staffer says Biden assaulted her in 1993, and conservatives are now claiming Biden should be held to the same standard that he has advocated – “believe all women.” And yes, the hypocrisy of Biden and some of his supporters is worth talking about. Alyssa Milano aggressively attacked Brett Kavanaugh, then shifted 180 degrees to talk about “due process” for Biden. We should highlight these double standards.
But now is not the time for us to abandon our own standards to score some points against Biden and seek short-term political gain. Now is the time to say this: “Yes, we should treat Biden fairly, and we hope this serves as a lesson as to why we should treat all men accused of sexual misconduct fairly. Will you join us in seeking justice for victims and assuring that men do not have their lives ruined unfairly?”
Some would argue that due process standards do not apply to the court of public opinion the same way it does to a court of law. That is true, but we should still be careful to avoid unfairly smearing an innocent man. We should be careful in our rhetoric and delay pronouncing a public judgment until we are sure of the truth of the allegations. Remember, even people convicted of crimes in a court of law (like many “shaken baby” cases) are actually innocent and are later exonerated.
The allegations against Biden are a perfect opportunity to reverse the excesses of the “Me Too” movement. Can we please not allow partisanship to override our principles? Is that really too much to ask, in our hyper-polarized time? Can “fighting back” mean standing up for basic principles of justice?