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Hey Joe


That ain’t too cool.

Former Vice President Joe Biden joked twice about having permission to touch people on Friday during his first public appearance since several women alleged he made them uncomfortable in encounters over the years.

After his speech at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Construction Conference in Washington, DC, Biden also said that while he was sorry he didn’t understand more about the how his behavior made women feel, he made clear he was not apologizing for any of his intentions, telling reporters, “I am not sorry for anything that I have ever done — I’ve never been disrespectful, intentionally, to a man or a woman.” . . .
Biden used humor during his speech on Friday in reference to the allegations. After being introduced by IBEW president Lonnie Stephenson, Biden told the crowd, “I just want you to know. I had permission to hug Lonnie.”
Biden returned to the subject with another joke midway through his remarks — after inviting a group of children at the event up onto the stage, Biden put his arm around one of the kids and said to laughs, “By the way — he gave me permission to touch him.”
Speaking to reporters after his speech, Biden said it wasn’t his intent to “make light of anyone’s discomfort.”
He doesn’t get it and he’s not going to get it, because he’s too old to get it.
ETA:  A lot of people are agreeing with Yglesias and Silver that this is a conscious strategy, to win the old white PC is out of control vote.  That may well be true, but I tend to think that the strategy, if that’s what it is, simply reflects Biden’s sincere beliefs about the matter.
Good piece in the WAPO about what it feels like to be infantilized as a woman:

[A]s time passed I began to feel a sense of shame and belittlement every time I saw the photo. I had displayed it on a bookshelf in my room, but I eventually took it down because people would make fun of it — “It looks like he’s about to kiss you!” It brought up too many conflicting feelings.

On one hand, the photo helped the Rondinis, and the Oscars performance had an enormous impact on our discourse about sexual assault. The public had been reckoning with sexual harm sector-by-sector — the Roman Catholic Church, the military, college campuses — and now the dots were being connected. Perhaps some in the audience were inspired to share their stories about sexual violence in Hollywood, which would spark #MeToo the following year.

On the other hand, even though Biden’s gesture was well-intentioned, it was paternalistic. Perhaps Biden meant to act like a comforting father or grandfather. But he never asked whether that was okay. Had he said, “Is it all right if I give you a hug?” I would’ve welcomed it. He didn’t.

Take it away, Jane Austen:

“Do not consider me now as an elegant female, intending to plague you, but as a rational creature, speaking the truth from her heart.”

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