News & Politics

Biden Utters Several Hundred Words About 'Personal Space'

(Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)

Ladies and gentlemen: Joseph Robinette Biden Jr.

“Folks, in the coming month, I expect to be talking to you about a whole lot of issues, and I’ll always be direct with you. But today I want to talk about gestures of support and encouragement that I’ve made to women, and some men, that have made them uncomfortable. And I always try in my career to make a human connection. That’s my responsibility, I think. I shake hands, I hug people, I grab men and women by the shoulders and say, ‘You can do this.’ Whether they’re women, men, young, old, it’s the way I’ve always been, and it’s the way I try to show I care about them and I’m listening. And over the years, knowing what I’ve been through, the things that I’ve faced, I’ve found that scores if not hundreds of people have come up to me and reached out for solace and comfort. Something, anything, that may help them get through the tragedy they’re going through. It’s just who I am. And I’ve never thought of politics as cold and antiseptic. I’ve always thought of it as about connecting with people. Shaking hands, hands on the shoulder, a hug, encouragement. And now, it’s all about taking selfies together. Social norms have begun to change, they’ve shifted, and the boundaries of protecting personal space have been reset. And I get it. I get it. I hear what they’re saying. I understand it. And I’ll be much more mindful. That’s my responsibility, my responsibility, and I’ll meet it. But I’ll always believe governing, quite frankly — life, for that matter — is about connecting with people. That won’t change, but I will be more mindful and respectful of people’s personal space. And that’s a good thing. That’s a good thing. I’ve worked my whole life to empower women. I’ve worked my whole life to prevent abuse. I’ve written a… So the idea that I can’t adjust to the fact that personal space is important, more important than it’s ever been, is just not thinkable. I will. I will.”

Watching this, I realize why the rest of the Democrats are scared of this guy. For all his many, many flaws, Joe Biden is a great retail politician. Even if you suspect he’s full of crap, which I almost always do, he’s personable and plain-spoken and just comes off as a decent guy. I never got that feeling from Obama, and certainly not from Hillary.

But if you know anything about Biden, you know that he’s currently caught in a trap of his own making. He stops himself from talking about it in that video, but he has worked really hard to make it tougher for college men to defend themselves from accusations of sexual harassment. He has worked really hard to make everybody assume men are always guilty as charged. He has worked really hard to change our assumptions about the burden of proof so that an accusation of wrongdoing requires no further evidence.

Seemed like a good idea at the time, I guess?

Welcome to the world you made, Joe. Enjoy being called a creep for the rest of your life, no matter what you do or say.