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Joe Biden finally apologized to Anita Hill! Hooray! Mind you, Old Joe didn't show up at her door, like the long-running Hill family joke, and come to think of it, he didn't actually apologize.

"They had a private discussion where he shared with her directly his regret for what she endured and his admiration for everything she has done to change the culture around sexual harassment in this country," said the deputy campaign manager, Kate Bedingfield.

Now that's some banal, disassociated corporate speak. Was he downsizing Hill? If she has any questions about her severance should she follow up with Human Resources? Biden doesn't really acknowledge that they've met. This is what you'd say to Hill if you bumped into her at the airport.


Yet guess how the media reacted to Biden's obvious PR cleanup in advance of his (third) presidential campaign?

Anita Hill is just like Prince's motherWaPo

The angry black woman is so ungrateful! Why isn't she "satisfied" with Biden's non-apology and jelly of the month club membership? Hill refuses to describe Biden's statement as an “apology" because it's literally not one. This isn't like the debate over whether a tomato is a fruit.

Let's check out the New York Times.

At least the picture's betterNY Times

The Times manages to misrepresent its own story. This is what Hill actually says.

"I cannot be satisfied by simply saying, 'I'm sorry for what happened to you,'" said Ms. Hill, now a professor of social policy, law and women's studies at Brandeis University. "I will be satisfied when I know there is real change and real accountability and real purpose."

Hill isn't interested in weak-ass words. She wants accountability. She believes Biden "set the stage" for Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation last year. That's harsh but true. Biden still refuses to own up to his mistakes. Here's what he said at an event last month.

BIDEN: I wish I could have done something.

Hey, so did we, but we were in high school at the time so our options were limited. Biden was chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He's what a genie would've conjured up if we'd wished for a way to help Hill.

BIDEN: I opposed Clarence Thomas's nomination, and I voted against him.

That's the bare minimum, Joe. Clarence Thomas is a right-wing hack who has always sided against working people and common decency. Even if he wasn't a creep, his presence on the court is a living testament to Biden's failure to stand up against the powerful. He sat back and let his Republican brothers in whiteness viciously attack Hill. They questioned her like she was the deranged lead in a blaxploitation version of Fatal Attraction.

Former Colorado Rep. Pat Schroder confronted Biden over the mess he was letting Republicans make of the Thomas hearing. Biden just mansplained to her, probably while awkwardly squeezing her shoulders.

SCHROEDER: We went to see Biden, because we were so frustrated by it. And he literally kind of pointed his finger and said, you don't understand how important one's word was in the Senate, that he had given his word to [Sen. John Danforth (R-Mo.), Thomas's chief sponsor] in the men's gym that this would be a very quick hearing, and he had to get it out before Columbus Day.

It's hard to let bygones be bygones if we don't know whether Biden has actually changed or not. As president, would he pursue political comity at the expense of the marginalized? Would he fall for Mitch McConnell's banana in the tailpipe and agree to replace a retiring Thomas with another conservative for the sake of "balance"? Even if Democrats retake the Senate, would Biden still replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg with a "consensus" pick (that always means boring moderate)?

When describing his part in the hearings, Biden constantly paints himself as utterly defenseless against 1990s-era Republicans who were like the campy Cesar Romero Joker compared to today's Heath Ledger versions. How does he propose to restore "America's soul" and all the other namby-pampy crap he's promised?

BIDEN: My one regret is that I wasn't able to tone down the attacks on her by some of my Republican friends. I mean, they really went after her.

Then why do you consider these assholes your "friends"? They're not ours. It's why we need a president Republicans wouldn't invite to the country club, either.

BIDEN: As much as I tried to intervene, I did not have the power to gavel them out of order.

He could have tried. He's describing rules of conduct like they're as inviolable as laws of physics. He could've risked his career to do the right thing. He didn't. Hill and Christine Blasey Ford are genuinely exceptional people who put themselves in front of the patriarchal cannon in service of a greater good. They're the ones who deserve our vote for president.

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He recently fled Seattle, where he did theatre work for Book-It Rep and Cafe Nordo.

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