Thursday, December 12, 2002

In recent days, Matt Drudge has been saying that HarperCollins is on the verge of signing up Clarence Thomas's memoir (a possible million-dollar book deal, says The Boston Globe). And now comes the scary rumor that Thomas might be Bush’s choice for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

So what a coincidence it is that Thomas chooses this moment to make a strong statement against cross-burning. And what a coincidence that The New York Times front-pages it.

I think Thomas is rebranding himself -- and the Times is carrying his water.

Up to this point, Thomas has been nothing but a reliable hard-right vote on the bench and a walking, breathing fuck-you to liberals: We put this mediocrity on the Court to do everything you hate, and you can't do a damn thing about it. But there's not much stature in being The Guy Who Hardly Ever Says Anything And Always Votes With Scalia. So expect Thomas to keep looking for easy ways to alter his reputation as an empty suit, in time for his book’s publication date and his possible court elevation. (Hey, the man who might elevate him didn’t pretend to grow up until middle age.)

Incidentally, I think it’s quite possible that Bush (and Rove) will decide to elevate Thomas. I’m sure the talking points are ready: Anyone who criticizes Thomas is a racist; anyone who brings up the shafting of Anita Hill gets accused of shafting Paula Jones. And, of course, Thomas was Daddy’s nominee. I bet W. is itching for this fight.

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