Long Dong Silver rides again!
OK, so the right-wing noise machine wants you to talk about Anthony Weiner’s wiener. That’s the ONLY thing they want you to talk about. Not how Wall Street is filling its pants in fear that the Frankenstein monster they’ve created called the 112th Congress will crash the economy because they hate Obama and want him to fail, even if it means we (everybody except the rich Republicans, natch) have to live in cardboard boxes under a freeway overpass and barbecue pigeons over a fire to make that come to pass.
Not the fact that a district in western New York that has been represented by Republicans since 1970 just sent a woman Democrat to Congress for swearing in today, because everyone in the GOP voted to do away with Medicare and give you a coupon for half-off the early-bird special at the United Health Urgent Care Clinic, and voters think that’s stupid and cruel.
And definitely not the financial disclosure forms that Clarence Thomas just filed on Friday. Definitely not those.
What the fuck is up?
To understand why Andrew Breitbart is obsessing on an erection in some anonymous guy’s underpants, and doing his damndest to inject insinuations into formerly respectable media outlets that Anthony Weiner is sexually harassing an attractive young African American woman, you have to go back in time.
Right-wingers have a disturbing habit of nursing their grievances across generations. They’re still convinced the wrong team won the Civil War, even though, back then, they were on the winning team. Yep, the Republicans led the Union, but they grieve for the Confederacy. And the mother of all contemporary right-wing grievances, believe it or not, is yet another battle they won. They love their grievances so much that they even transform their wins into opportunities to stew and burn with white-hot anger. I call them “sore winners”.
You see, there was this skeezy, low-down damp skidmark of a perv who lied to Congress and got away with it, and was elevated for life to the most unaccountable and untouchable job in the entire federal government, Supreme Court Justice, where he has been, by all accounts, one of the very worst practitioners in the history of that body, where he facilitated the corporate subversion of democracy, filed fraudulent financial disclosure forms, and failed repeatedly to recuse himself in cases where he had known (and sometimes concealed) conflicts of interest. The bad guys won. And they’re still not over it.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you — Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, lying sack of shit.
Let’s Start at the Very Beginning…
Once upon a time there was a lawyer named Clarence Thomas. He truly was born a poor black child in the American South, and by all accounts worked hard and diligently, gained the best education, and graduated from Yale Law School. But he sensed in his interactions with others that everything he had achieved had been tainted, because everyone presumed he had advanced due to affirmative action and not on his own merits. This was the key to his sore winnerdom. He couldn’t appreciate anything he achieved because of how others viewed him.
As a Republican, Thomas fulfilled several agendas for others around him as well as for himself. He was the proof, you see, that Republicans are not racists. Oh no, why look here, we’ve got one too. Why, anyone as smart and talented as Clarence here is welcome at our club! And he worked for everything he got, unlike those urban, Democrat “others”. He knew that he was a trophy and a prize pony for the party, and as a young man who had encountered and stood up to incidences of discrimination himself, he had to feel some resentment, and some corresponding sense that his meteoric rise within GOP ranks was also tainted by the role his race played. However, he was also smart enough never to speak out against this specific brand of “affirmative action”, even as his color insulated him and the GOP from charges of racial bias.
First appointed by Reagan to the Department of Education, then in 1982 made the Chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, he was instrumental in defanging the organization. The focus shifted from class actions based on race to individualized claims, and in 1984 he famously gave an interview in which he excoriated the African American community leaders because all they did was “bitch, bitch, bitch” at Reagan. He blamed African Americans for the social and behavioral problems that he asserted contributed to their lower status. He opposed affirmative action and big government, though he had been a career civil servant himself.
G.H.W. Bush appointed him to the US Court of Appeals DC district in 1991, and considered him for the Supreme Court vacancy that ultimately went to David Souter, but when Thurgood Marshall retired, Bush nominated Thomas to fill his vacancy.
FBI investigators started the routine inquiries into Thomas’ background, and when they did, they interviewed a former employee of Thomas’ first at the Department of Education, then at the EEOC. And what she shared was troubling.
Anita Hill, a Good Republican Soldier
Anita Hill had known Clarence Thomas for some time when she went to work for him at the Department of Education. As political appointees and African American Republicans, they traveled in similar circles and even belonged to an informal networking group together. It’s important to understand that Anita was a conservative good soldier, not a leftist or feminist. There was not a lot of daylight between the two of them in that regard, and their clashes never appeared to be about politics, no matter how much it suits people today to imagine that she was some liberal agent with an agenda.
She worked with Thomas as his first marriage was deteriorating and ultimately fell apart, and she began having uncomfortable interactions with him from the very start. He put pressure on her to date him and talked about sex and porn movies he had viewed, no matter how much she tried to dissuade him. But when he was promoted to the EEOC, in spite of her discomfort, she followed along and continued a working relationship with him because it seemed to be the best thing for her own career advancement, and she rationalized to herself that his bad behavior was on the wane.
The contents of Anita Hill’s interview had been shared with the Senate, along with all the other interviews and testimonials of Thomas fans and supporters. And Thomas’ hearings began like every other before his, with Senators asking Thomas questions attempting to tease out his judicial philosophy and temperament, and Thomas trying his best to be non-committal in his answers. The hearings were nearing their close when someone from the Senate leaked Anita Hill’s interview to the press.
Suddenly, Washington was buzzing with the story of a young woman who said Clarence Thomas was a sexual harasser. And though an issue of personal conduct like this had not come up in any modern Supreme Court confirmation hearings, it clearly needed to be aired and evaluated along with all the other witness testimony.
The Shit Hits the Fan
Once the interview with the FBI was leaked to the press, it was decided to reopen the confirmation hearings, and the Senate called Anita Hill to testify before the Judiciary Committee. From her opening statement, the Senate was thrown into issues it had never expected to confront and simply did not know how to handle.
During this period at the Department of Education, my working relationship with Judge Thomas was positive. I had a good deal of responsibility and independence. I thought he respected my work and that he trusted my judgment.After approximately 3 months of working there, he asked me to go out socially with him. What happened next and telling the world about it are the two most difficult things, experiences of my life. It is only after a great deal of agonizing consideration and a number of sleepless nights that I am able to talk of these unpleasant matters to anyone but my close friends.I declined the invitation to go out socially with him, and explained to him that I thought it would jeopardize what at the time I considered to be a very good working relationship. I had a normal social life with other men outside of the office. I believed then, as now, that having a social relationship with a person who was supervising my work would be ill advised. I was very uncomfortable with the idea and told him so.I thought that by saying “no” and explaining my reasons, my employer would abandon his social suggestions. However, to my regret, in the following few weeks he continued to ask me out on several occasions. He pressed me to justify my reasons for saying ”no” to him. These incidents took place in his office or mine. They were in the form of private conversations which would not have been overheard by anyone else.(snip)After a brief discussion of work, he would turn the conversation to a discussion of sexual matters. His conversations were very vivid. He spoke about acts that he had seen in pornographic films involving such matters as women having sex with animals, and films showing group sex or rape scenes. He talked about pornographic materials depicting individuals with large penises, or large breasts involved in various sex acts.On several occasions Thomas told me graphically of his own sexual prowess. Because I was extremely uncomfortable talking about sex with him at all, and particularly in such a graphic way, I told him that I did not want to talk about these subjects. I would also try to change the subject to education matters or to nonsexual personal matters, such as his background or his beliefs. My efforts to change the subject were rarely successful.
The cross examination was brutal, and as she was pressed for details behind the content of her opening statement by the ruthless questioning of Arlen Specter, Orrin Hatch and others, America stopped in its tracks to watch it all play out on live TV, and we learned more than we ever wanted to know about Long Dong Silver and pubic hairs on Coke cans. Even now, just reliving those days makes me want to stop writing this post periodically and shower.
Because the testimony Anita provided was so detailed, so specific, and so grotesque, people who didn’t really grasp or understand the pervasiveness of sexual harassment in our culture, or how limited the choices were for a woman in her situation, scrambled for excuses and tried to poke holes in Anita’s testimony. Why didn’t she do anything about her treatment? Why would she follow him from the Dept. of Education to the EEOC if he was so gross? Why would she continue to make occasional contact with him if he was such a letch? She must be making it up. She must have had the hots for him and he turned her down. Yeah, that’s got to be it. No way any of this could be true.
And then Clarence Thomas asked to make a statement, and the Senate blew up in a million pieces.
Playing the “Race Card” from the Bottom of the Deck
Clarence Thomas decided to go on the offensive. Not only would he categorically deny every allegation that had been made against him, he would open his testimony with the most potent language of victimization available to him.
This is not an opportunity to talk about difficult matters privately or in a closed environment. This is a circus. It’s a national disgrace. And from my standpoint, as a black American, it is a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves, to do for themselves, to have different ideas, and it is a message that unless you kowtow to an old order, this is what will happen to you. You will be lynched, destroyed, caricatured by a committee of the U.S. Senate rather than hung from a tree.
He stared down the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and dared them to press on with their inquiries into his past. He was an innocent victim of the most heinous racially motivated attack, and to continue down this path would be racist.
And the Senate blinked.
Anita Hill Stood Alone (in a Crowd)
People whose agenda depended on discrediting Anita Hill claimed that her charges were bogus because she hadn’t spoken out until Thomas stood to be appointed to the Supreme Court. But the committee heard testimony from a panel of supporters of Anita Hill on the third day of the reopened Supreme Court confirmation hearings. [You can view the entire panel testimony at C-SPAN by following the link. - ed.] Distinguished and credible witnesses came forth to verify that Anita Hill had made them aware of her treatment by Thomas years before he was nominated to the Supreme Court. One of the witnesses who corroborated Anita Hill’s story was Susan Hoerchner, who verified that Hill had shared information with her in the past about her experiences working for Clarence Thomas. The following are some excerpts from the panel’s testimony by Hoerchner, by then a judge in California.
SENATOR ARLEN SPECTER Republican of Pennsylvania: Judge Hoerchner, you called, according to the information you’ve given us before, you called Professor Hill the day of the appointment of Judge Thomas to the Supreme Court of the United States, is that correct?
JUDGE HOERCHNER: Yes, I did.
SENATOR SPECTER: And what was the purpose of that call?
JUDGE HOERCHNER: I called to ask her whether she had heard about the nomination. And she said she had been contacted by telephone by the press, and she heard about it that way, and that her stomach turned.
I asked her whether she was going to say anything. She did not give me a direct answer.
SENATOR SPECTER: Why did you ask her why she — whether she was going to say anything? Was there some thought in your mind that she should come forward?
JUDGE HOERCHNER: I had no thought of should or shouldn’t. I wanted to see what she was going to do.
SENATOR SPECTER: And what was her response to you at that time?
JUDGE HOERCHNER: She replied that she was appalled at the treatment of Professor, then-Judge Bork in his confirmation hearing. And from that I concluded that she did not intend to step forward.
SENATOR SPECTER: And did she tell you at that time that she thought that both Judge Bork and Judge Thomas should stand or fall on their ideas?
JUDGE HOERCHNER: I believe she did.
SENATOR SPECTER: Let me move on then, Judge Hoerchner. You talked on page 30 of your deposition about your view of Judge Thomas, and it starts page 30, line 5. Well, skip up to line 2, where it says:
Question: And you based, you said, an attitude toward power. Where did that come from? Why would you think that Judge Thomas had an attitude about power? Where did that come from?
JUDGE HOERCHNER: It came from the idea that most of the positions that he had that I knew about were in civil rights, equal employment opportunity, and that his behavior really showed a disregard for general principles of equal opportunity or the rights of individuals, and it led me to believe that he possibly thought that the law was for other people.
Question: My question, Judge Hoerchner, did you ever consider in the light of Professor Hill’s telling you that Judge Thomas had sexually harassed her and he was the chairman of the E.E.O.C., which was the nation’s chief law enforcement officer on this issue, did you ever consider giving Professor Hill advice that she ought to come forward and expose him so that he would not be in a position to thwart appropriate enforcement of equal rights and laws against sexual harassment?
JUDGE HOERCHNER: No, Senator, I did not. I believe that the tremendous inequity in power between them would have been dispositive.
SENATOR HERB KOHL (Democrat of Wisconsin): Judge Hoerchner, I’d like to ask you a question inasmuch as you are a judge, and interested in your opinion on — in contrast to Anita Hill who we discussed today, and the pain and suffering that she’s endured, from your vantage point as a judge, do you have any comment to make on the pain and the suffering that’s been endured by Judge Thomas’ family here? Can you give us some insight, offer some words?
JUDGE HOERCHNER: Yesterday Judge Thomas spoke here very eloquently about the pain that he has experienced. There is only one person to blame for that pain. I know no one who takes any joy in his suffering. His suffering is very apparent. There is, however, only one person to blame. It is not the press, it is not the person or persons who leaked the information. It is not Anita Hill. He is suffering as a result of his own actions.
And there’s another person who has been suffering much, much longer. She’s suffering now. She was suffering 10 years ago. And she is not suffering as a result of her actions. And that person is Anita Hill.
Note specifically that in the passage above, Anita Hill was taking the official Republican line, that the confirmation hearings of Robert Bork, someone with whom she had worked in the past, were inappropriately politicized and biased against him as a conservative. Are you getting the point yet that Anita Hill was not a flaming liberal with a political axe to grind against Thomas?
When Thomas published his autobiography in 2007, Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post, who had covered the hearings, wrote a column that summarizes the case against Clarence as simply and directly as anyone has.
Hill was not the only former subordinate of Thomas’s with complaints. Former EEOC employee Angela Wright described how Thomas pressured her to date him, showed up uninvited at her apartment and asked her breast size. “Clarence Thomas would say to me, ‘You know you need to be dating me… You’re one of the finest women I have on my staff,” Wright told Senate investigators.
Wright’s account was corroborated by Rose Jourdain, a former speechwriter who, like Wright, was dismissed by Thomas. Jourdain said Wright had complained that she was “increasingly nervous about being in his presence alone” because of comments “concerning her figure, her body, her breasts, her legs.”
Another former Thomas employee, Sukari Hardnett, said of his office, “If you were young, black, female and reasonably attractive, you knew full well you were being inspected and auditioned as a female.”
…some of the behavior Hill complained about resonated with episodes from Thomas’s past. Hill described an episode in which Thomas, drinking a soda, asked, “Who has put pubic hair on my Coke?” James Millet, a college classmate of Thomas’, recalled “an almost identical episode” at Holy Cross. “Pubic hair was one of the things he talked about,” another classmate said. Jane Mayer and Jill Abramson, in “Strange Justice,” found two others who recalled a pubic hair-Coke can comment at the EEOC.
Similarly, Thomas had a well-known taste for the kind of extreme pornography Hill said he brought up with her. “Listening to her, it was as if I was listening to the guy I knew speak,” said law school classmate Henry Terry. Washington lawyer Fred Cooke saw Thomas, while EEOC chairman, checking out a triple-X video of “The Adventures of Bad Mama Jama.”
Angela Wright, though her statement was entered into the record and was waiting in the wings to testify, was never called as a witness, leaving Anita Hill hanging out all alone, a shameful decision by the Judiciary Committee which facilitated those who painted the story as “he said/she said” instead of “he said/she and others said”.
In the end, the Senate Judiciary Committee split on the nomination and sent it to the full Senate without recommendation, and by a 52-48 margin, Clarence Thomas’ nomination to the Supreme Court was confirmed, a lifetime appointment from which it is virtually impossible to remove a Justice.
The bad guys won. But the process was so ugly, and the lessons both sides learned from it so searing, that we’re still living with the consequences.
I Believe Anita Hill
There was a huge and obvious gender gap on reactions to the Thomas confirmation hearings and the degree to which people found Anita Hill credible. The extent to which she was cross-examined, and the insulting and demeaning things that were said or insinuated about her, caused women everywhere to stand up and speak out as never before. Women came out of the closet about their own experiences with sexual harassment, and “I Believe Anita Hill” buttons popped up everywhere. That all of this disgusting behavior was being carried out inside the executive offices of the EEOC was an irony that was not lost on many Americans. Within a few years, major corporations had begun revising their codes of conduct to define harassment better, training managers and employees on the rules of the road, strengthening enforcement and attempting to make it safer for victims of harassment to come forward with their experiences.
Anita Hill went on to continue her career as a professor, and wrote a book about her experiences. Here, in a 2001 conversation, she shares some insights into race and gender, and how they played out in the Thomas hearings.
Angela Wright, the woman whose statement led to her being called to testify against Thomas, but who was never put on the stand, was interviewed by Michel Martin on NPR a few weeks after Thomas’ autobiographical book was published in 2007 (you can hear the interview at the NPR link).
MARTIN: I know that you read the memoir. You read it after we contacted you, and I mentioned you aren’t in the book, I don’t know how you feel about that. But I just wondered if you had any reaction to Clarence Thomas’s memoirs. Is there anything that you learned from the book that changed, perhaps, the way you view him or what happened between you?
Ms. WRIGHT: Well, no. I always knew him to be a mean spirited, nasty, you know, fairly unstable person. It was enlightening to read his account of his childhood because that did put it in perspective. I actually, my heart went out to the young child Clarence, once I understood, you know, he was a child, you know, whose father was absent and whose mother sent him away. He was raised by an unemotional grandfather. I finally understood where all his anger and mean spiritedness came from. I knew it was there. And also, his self-loathing and his hatred for anything black or civil rights-oriented or affirmative action.
MARTIN: By wait, wait a minute, I’m sorry, Angela. This was some fairly strong words that you’re using so I do have to ask, what is the basis for your saying that you feel that there is self-loathing there? And I know we don’t have – we only have a couple of minutes left but…
Ms. WRIGHT: Oh, for doing it – I know. Well, I mean, as his director of public affairs, I sat in his staff meetings while he made jokes about pickaninny dolls, and he did it for the entertainment of white people. And he teased some other white staffer who was having some trouble getting a loan or something, saying, you’re just not black enough. You need to get black. Wear a Dashiki and pump your fist and then you can get all the money you want. So it was that kind of thing. He always took a special effort to denigrate anything about black people, about civil rights, affirmative – and that to me is self-loathing. [Remember, this is the head of the freaking EEOC under Reagan and Bush I we're talking about here. Talk about regulatory capture! Jesus H Tapdancing Christ... - ed.]
MARTIN: So finally, Angela, I know this, I feel I need to emphasize for the sake of – and we only have time for yes or no answer. Do you stand by the testimony that you gave or rather the interview that you gave 16 years ago to the Senate Judiciary Committee saying that Thomas made these inappropriate comments to you? Do you stand by those comments?
Ms. WRIGHT: Absolutely.
The Political Aftermath
Even though Thomas had been appointed to the Court, the experience of his confirmation hearing had ripple effects that shaped an entire generation of political operatives. A conservative sleaze-merchant by the name of David Brock wrote a brutal hit-piece of a book called The Real Anita Hill, in which, as he characterized it later, he did everything he could to “ruin Hill’s credibility,” using “virtually every derogatory and often contradictory allegation I had collected on Hill into the vituperative mix. I demonized Democratic senators, their staffs, and Hill’s feminist supporters without ever interviewing any of them.”
Not long after, while working on smearing the Clintons in similar fashion, he had an epiphany and renounced his evil ways, and ultimately founded Media Matters, the liberal-leaning organization that monitors the smear and disinformation machine of the American Right.
At the same time a young man named Andrew Breitbart watched the Thomas hearings and had an epiphany of his own. He credits the treatment of Clarence Thomas, and a daily dose of Rush Limbaugh, with converting him to the cause of conservatism. In fact, Breitbart’s latest book is dedicated to Clarence Thomas, and he grows verklempt relating the story of the time Ginni Thomas introduced herself to him. (Don’t click this clip of Breitbart being led through his paces by Armstrong Williams without a puke bucket standing by.)
It’s fascinating to think how each of them changed teams as a result of the Thomas hearings, and how they remain, to this day, sworn enemies. And how the events of that hearing are still driving the narratives of resentment and sore winnerdom for the vicious, sleazy, lying scumbuckets who are now attacking Congressman Anthony Weiner.
Ginni Thomas, the Intersection of Right-Wing Cash and Judicial Capture
Clarence Thomas’ second wife Virginia, the Seka look-alike who was photographed sitting primly and grimly behind Clarence as he underwent his “high-tech lynching” was herself a right-wing True Believer. She cut her teeth at the Chamber of Commerce, where she worked but failed to prevent the Family and Medical Leave Act from being enacted into law. As spouse of a Supreme Court Justice, she continued her career at the Department of Labor, and then worked for Congressman Dick Armey, later of FreedomWorks. No one denies the right of any judge’s spouse to work and have other interests. The question is, when does that work and those interests create conflicts of interest for the spouse in the judiciary? It seemed that Ginni Thomas was constantly at the heart of the conservative movement, and her fingers were all over the major issues of the day, many of which would come up in Supreme Court cases. By 2000, Thomas was working at the Heritage Foundation, and while Bush v. Gore was being decided, she was already collecting resumes for political appointments to the George W. Bush administration, then serving as the Foundation’s White House liaison during the Bush presidency.
Though Ginni kept a generally low profile and managed to keep her name out of the newspapers, she and Clarence did give some interviews when he published his autobiography. This led to some renewed talk of concerns about her explicitly political career and how it might impact Thomas’ impartiality, but they brushed them off.
A Phone Call Out of the Blue…
In October, 2010, a truly bizarre story broke. Anita Hill had contacted campus security at the university where she teaches because someone had left an odd and ominous voice mail message for her, purportedly from Ginni Thomas. She wanted an apology.
Good morning, Anita Hill, it’s Ginni Thomas. I just wanted to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider something. I would love you to consider an apology sometime and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband. So give it some thought and certainly pray about this and come to understand why you did what you did. Okay have a good day.
In short time, it was confirmed that Ginni had placed the call and sincerely felt the two of them had unfinished business that needed to be resolved, while Anita Hill indicated she had done nothing wrong and had nothing for which to apologize. Shortly thereafter, the motivation for this oddly timed call became clearer, when Lillian McEwen, who had dated Clarence between his marriages, announced that she was shopping a memoir of their time together that would confirm much of what Hill had shared about Thomas’ sexual interests and aggressive style of pursuing women. People speculated that word of this book had filtered to Ginni and triggered a defensive reaction to re-accuse Hill of lying about her husband, in hopes of inoculating at least the right-wing True Believers against yet another confirming voice.
Shortly thereafter, Ginni Thomas launched Liberty Central, a Tea Party group, and stepped out into the spotlight on her own right in an unabashedly political role which seemed to market her behind-the-scenes influence on conservative politics and the Supreme Court, triggering yet another round of conversations about conflicts of interest as she took explicit positions on legal matters that would potentially come before the Court, most notably the Affordable Care Act.
Someone Finally Notices
Perhaps as a result of the newfound attention to Ginni Thomas’ political influence and the conflicts of interest her actions created for her husband, Common Cause took a look at Thomas’ annual financial disclosure reports and noticed a glaring omission. Thomas had indicated no employment or income for Ginni from 2003 to 2009, while she had earned over $680,000 from the Heritage Foundation, and no indication of her employment and income from Liberty Central.
While legal experts concluded this was not a crime, and in fact the Supreme Court is not bound by the same code of ethics as other federal judges, such an obvious oversight over many years seemed an especially egregious lack of transparency and ethics on Clarence Thomas’ part. Ultimately, the Thomases filed amended forms for the period in question, and finally put her employment on the record.
A Letter from Congressman Anthony Weiner
In February, 2011, armed with all these concerns, and anticipating the release of Thomas’ 2010 financial disclosure forms that would reveal Ginni Thomas’ Liberty Central income for the first time, a Congressman drafted a letter that was co-signed by 74 members of Congress, taking the issue of recusal and conflicts of interest directly to Clarence Thomas’ door.
Weiner followed this letter up with the Conflicted Clarence Thomas campaign, highlighting Thomas’ conflicts due to Ginni’s work and income, collecting signatures from citizens who shared his outrage, and making life very uncomfortable for Thomas and his die-hard supporters.
The Friday-Before-Holiday-Weekend Document Drop
At last, on Friday, May 27, just before the Memorial Day weekend, Clarence Thomas released his 2010 financial disclosure forms, and Anthony Weiner was standing by, ready to pore over them and broadcast what they revealed across all media, including… Twitter.
You know what happened next. And if you’ve been living in a cave for the last week, you can read all about it here.
But notice now what you may not have noticed before. How allegations that Anthony Weiner sexually harassed a young African American woman just appeared out of the blue at the very moment when Weiner’s campaign to discredit Clarence Thomas was peaking. Think some more about what you’ve learned that you may not know, or have forgotten, about the history of the players in this drama and their nexus with the story of the man whose name came to be synonymous with sexual harassment in the American culture 20 years ago. Think about how distracted the media have been from the story of Clarence Thomas, in spite of the efforts of Anthony Weiner to keep a spotlight on Thomas. Think of how CNN and all the other networks want to talk about allegations of sexual impropriety against Anthony Weiner, when 20 years ago their attention was focused on Thomas.
However this story ultimately resolves, and whatever we ultimately learn about the photo in question and how it ended up where it did, and why a mysterious stranger on Twitter has been stalking people for some time whose only connection is Twitter friendship with Congressman Weiner, it seems this strange conservative True Believer has been searching for dirt on Weiner and/or the most media-genic candidate to pose as a victim of Weiner’s harassment, and timed it expertly to explode on the same day Thomas’ financial disclosure forms were released.
And that is why when you say Weinergate, I say Clarence Thomas.
[cross-posted at Balloon Juice]