Port: Heitkamp endorsing Biden, after she voted against Kavanaugh, makes her a resounding hypocrite

110118 Biden speaks at Fargo Air Museum
Former vice president Joe Biden appears to support Sen. Heid Heitkamp in her re-election bid Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018, at the Fargo Air Museum. Michael Vosburg / Forum News Service
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MINOT, N.D. — I'm not convinced that former Vice President Joe Biden did anything particularly untoward to Tara Reade.

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know Reade worked as an aide in Biden's Senate office and now says he sexually assaulted her in the early 1990s.

You can read a timeline of her accusation against Biden here .

We all know Biden is a handsy fella, and prone to saying deeply inappropriate things , and there's certainly no excuse for that, but what Reade is alleging is on a different level from the sort of Biden behavior that's a verified part of the public record.

I don't want to say she's lying, or not credible, because I don't know if she is or isn't. I will say that the evidence she's provided so far is unpersuasive.


Absent more facts, it's time the debate in the 2020 race moved past Reade to other issues.

I do not want Joe Biden to be President of the United States of America. Still, because I'm a rational and compassionate human being and not some troglodyte addled by partisan politics, I'm capable of evaluating an accusation against him based on its merits and not his political affiliation.

Many right-of-center Americans won't extend that courtesy to Biden. They see Reade as an opportunity to pay Democrats back for what they did to Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

While Democrat-aligned media operatives drag Reade through the mud on Twitter and cable news, their more intellectual counterparts have taken to the opinion section of major news outlets to explain how Reade isn't at all like Kavanaugh's accuser , Christine Blasey Ford.

Except, she is.

Both women have holes in their narratives. Gaps in their recollections. Contradictions in their stories. Neither wields a smoking gun.

Yet for our Democratic friends, Reade's accusations are baseless, while, at least for former Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, Kavanaugh's body language was enough evidence of his guilt .

"We communicate not only with words, but with our body language and demeanor," she told a CNN talking head at the time . "I saw somebody who was very angry, who was very nervous. . . . I saw rage."


One might argue that the rage on display from Justice Kavanaugh had less to do with guilt than being forced to defend himself, in the brightest of national spotlights, against scurrilous charges of heinous behavior that were as vague as they were unsubstantiated.

And if you want to argue that Blasey Ford's charges weren't vague, and weren't unsubstantiated, then why were people like Heitkamp forced to resort to a standard as specious as body language to justify a vote against his nomination?

Heitkamp endorsing Biden , after she voted against Brett Kavanaugh, makes her a hypocrite.

All Democrats who are now supporting Biden for the most powerful political office in the land after they believed Blasey Ford's accusations against Kavanaugh are hypocrites.

The Republicans who defended Kavanaugh, but want Biden to drop out of the 2020 race because of Reade's accusations, are hypocrites too.

We need to stop this sort of hypocrisy. We need to stop treating accusations against high-profile political figures as a useful partisan cudgel, especially if we want a world where both accusers and the accused are treated fairly.

Not that this circus is anything new. Bill Clinton's accusers weren't believed, were attacked and vilified by the former president's political allies, for decades. Despite multiple accusers, touting facts and details far beyond anything Reade or Blasey Ford has offered, Clinton was still invited to campaign for supposed champions of sexual assault victims like Heitkamp.

Ironically, our Democratic friends only really began to have problems with Clinton's behavior when their past cover for him became inconvenient to their case against Kavanaugh. But now that the Kavanaugh folderol is over, and they've shifted back to defending one of their own again, Clinton's value as a political surrogate seems to be climbing again .


Go figure.

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Rob Port, founder of, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at .

Opinion by Rob Port
Rob Port is a news reporter, columnist, and podcast host for the Forum News Service. He has an extensive background in investigations and public records. He has covered political events in North Dakota and the upper Midwest for two decades. Reach him at Click here to subscribe to his Plain Talk podcast.
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