By FROMA HARROP
Special to the Star
There was always something fishy about the #MeToo complaint against Joe Biden. Putting hands on Lucy Flores’ shoulders and smooching the back of her head is in no way sexual. Even Flores admitted that.
Nonetheless, Flores gave a dramatic rendition of the distress it caused her. “I just froze,” she said. “I didn’t know what to do. Because again the only thing that you’re processing is that there is a very powerful man standing next to you … and you just don’t know how to respond.”
What doesn’t add up? Everything.
Flores was not a preadolescent nymph but rather the 2014 Democratic nominee for Nevada lieutenant governor. If a kiss on the back of her head made her freeze, how would she have responded to a genuine crisis, say, a terrorist attack?
She was about to go on stage, so you’d think she had other things on her mind. Then-Vice President Biden was doing her an enormous favor bestowing his prestige on her candidacy. And if this bothered her so much, why did she wait five years to “come forward”?
The most plausible answer is that this stunt isn’t about Biden but about helping Bernie Sanders. Lo and behold, polls show Biden leading Sanders among Democratic voters — as Sanders faces his own accusations of disrespecting women.
Some backstory: When Flores lost the 2014 election by a landslide, establishment Democrats stopped promoting her. (Two years later, she lost a primary run for Congress.)
In 2016, she joined the Sanders campaign, becoming a surrogate. She also joined the board of Our Revolution, an advocacy group backing Sanders.
Biden advisers share the hunch that the Sanders campaign is behind her charges, according to Mike Allen of Axios. And a former Sanders staffer, Tezlyn Figaro, just called Flores a “fraud” on Fox News.
We expect that, in the future, Biden will desist from getting so affectionate with women and will lose the grandfatherly touch. A politician should not do unto women that which he would not do unto men.
But let’s look at Sanders’ lamentable record on women. Women who worked on the 2016 campaign complain that they were made subservient to the boy geniuses.
And there was that unforgettable moment when the Bernie bros hurled the C-word at Democratic women running the Nevada State Democratic Convention.
Sanders responded to the use of that vilest of words against women with the mildest of hand slaps. Then he blamed both sides. (The official statement has been removed from his website.)
Because everyone is delving into Biden’s beliefs of decades ago, consider Bernie’s. In 1969, he opined that sexual maladjustment was linked to breast cancer. “You might very well be the cause of cancer,” he wrote with his trademark air of authority. Even back then, mainstream science rejected theories that psychological factors caused cancer.
Sanders also found fault with mothers unhappy that their 16-year-old daughters spent a night out with their boyfriends. “Are you concerned about HER happiness,” he wrote, “or about your ‘reputation’ in the community?” In this worldview, not putting out is an emblem of female repression.
Zoom to 2019. Sanders says he believes Lucy Flores, as do a number of other opportunistic Democrats. Thing is, we all believe Flores’ account of what Biden did. Videos show Biden hugging, kissing and rubbing shoulders of numerous women over the years.
What we can’t believe is Flores’ claim that she is bringing this up now to fix a grievous wrong done her — rather than an innocent gesture by a national politician who went out of his way to help her campaign. That Sanders and his people are fueling these petty attacks is something we can believe.
Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.