Oh is that what we’re calling it.

Joseph R. Biden Jr. came up in politics as an old-school backslapper whose greatest strength was his ability to connect. He doled out handshakes and hugs to friends and strangers alike, and his tendency to lavish his affections on women and girls was so central to his persona that it became fodder for late-night television jokes.

But the political ground has shifted under Mr. Biden, and his tactile style of retail politicking is no longer a laughing matter in the era of #MeToo.

His “tactile style” is it. I’ve heard that before – creepy guys explaining their creepy guy ways with “I’m a tactile person.” Uh huh, a tactile person with an oddly specific preference for tactiling laydeez.

For Mr. Biden, 76, the risks are obvious: the accusations feed into a narrative that he is a relic of the past, unsuited to represent his party in the modern era, against an incumbent president whose treatment of women should be a central line of attack. Mr. Biden has denied acting inappropriately but has said he will “listen respectfully.”

With a vibrant, youthful and multicultural field of candidates on the Democratic stage — and after a midterm election that swept dozens of women into Congress — Mr. Biden is already facing questions about whether this is the time for an older white man to carry his party’s banner into 2020. His handling of the 1991 confirmation hearings of Justice Clarence Thomas, who was accused of sexual harassment by the law professor Anita Hill, has also been the subject of scrutiny.

As it should be.

I think Biden is basically a mensch, but I don’t think we need him to run for president.


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