Finley: I believe Tara Reade

Nolan Finley
The Detroit News

I'm waiting for the “I Believe Tara” buttons to show up on the backpacks and lapels of vigilant progressives, the way “I Believe Dr. Ford” pins were ubiquitous last year during the inquisition of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Tara Reade is a former Senate staffer of Joe Biden who says that in 1993 the now Democratic presidential candidate pressed her against a wall, forced his hand under her skirt and digitally penetrated her. She claims when she resisted, the senator said, “I thought you liked me.”

Her allegations are more serious and credible than those lodged by Christine Blasey Ford, who says at a party four decades ago a drunken teen Kavanaugh locked her in a room, pinned her to a bed and ground himself against her, fully clothed.

Reade levels the more serious charge of penetration, which is a felony sexual assault. Her memories are those of a sober adult in the workplace, not of a teenager at an alcohol-infused house party. 

More:Wake up with an earful from Nolan Finley

Joe Biden

The other key difference: Kavanaugh has no record as an adult of inappropriate behavior with women. Biden's inability to keep his hands off women and girls is documented by a library of video clips, as well as anecdotes from the women he's mishandled. 

Yet Ford’s accusation sparked a broad movement that nearly derailed Kavanaugh’s appointment and continues to inform his public image. Reade’s charges have barely dented Biden's presidential campaign.

Democratic leaders who demanded a full FBI investigation of Kavanaugh are ignoring Reade’s story and continue to champion Biden as their standard bearer. They haven't called him in to face questions about the claims.

Reade’s story has been trumpeted by the conservative media, but most other outlets have reported it without near the sensational frenzy they did Ford’s. 

Nor are her claims sparking the same outrage that erupted when a series of women accused Trump during the 2016 campaign of sexual impropriety.

Like Republicans back then, Democrats aren’t interested in the sordid details, as long as they think their man can win the White House. Both the Republicans and Democrats are familiar enough with Trump and Biden to strongly suspect their guilt; they just don’t care. 

That the #MeToo movement is also giving Biden a free pass is curious. Its mantra of “Believe All Women” was applied without question to the accusers of Kavanaugh and Trump. But Biden is enjoying a similar amnesty to that given Bill Clinton.

That the #MeToo movement is also giving Biden a free pass is curious. Its mantra of "Believe All Women" was applied without question to the accusers of Kavanaugh and Trump, Finley writes.

The Biden campaign denies Reade’s charges, while encouraging reporters to listen to her and vigorously vet her story. Few have taken up the assignment, though some have subtly tried to discredit her by noting she supports Sen. Bernie Sanders and once had an infatuation with Russia.

The lack of interest in Tara Reade’s story belies the argument used to bolster Ford, that the trauma of coming forward gives women a credibility edge in he said-she said confrontations. Biden mouthed that very sentiment during the Kavanaugh episode. 

For the record, I don't believe Ford. I find her memories too hazy, with too little certainty that she and Kavanaugh were at the party together. And the allegations are out of sync with the justice’s character. But who knows? Teenage boys do stupid, disgusting things. And I may be influenced by my own political leanings.

I do tend to believe Reade. As I said, her allegations fit into Biden’s pattern of interactions with women, and there’s no doubt the two knew and worked together.

But she and Ford share in common a lack of evidence to support their claims, beyond their own word.

Ford’s word was good enough for the left to embrace as a weapon against Kavanaugh. No one is thanking Reade for telling her story. Few are even listening to her tell it.

#MeToo should change its motto. Believe all women, except when their stories are inconvenient to our political agenda.

Twitter: @NolanFinleyDN

Sign up for the Nolan Out Loud morning report at

Watch Finley on DPTV’s “One Detroit” at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays.