Tuesday, September 18, 2018


Charles Blow considers a hypothetical:

Jemele Hill is thinking along the same lines:

Would it? I'm not sure. I'm not denying the existence of white racism, especially on the subject of black men and white women. But Republicans at that moment were very determined to seat Clarence Thomas, who they knew was likely to be a reliable ideologue on the Court for decades. They also wanted to be seen as a party of inclusion -- without, of course, changing any of the policies that alienated non-white voters. These goals were agreed upon throughout the party -- recall that Strom Thurmond, the old segregationist, escorted Thomas and his wife, who is white, into the hearing room on the first day.

They might have played it another way, using the conservative press to suggest that Thomas's white accuser had an healthy obsession with black men. Then-conservative hatchetman David Brock called Anita Hill "a little bit nutty and a little bit slutty"; I think a white woman claiming that a black conservative committed sexual offenses might have been accused of imagining them for racial reasons. Of course, they'd have the opportunity to call her a racist, something conservatives love to do these days whenever liberals criticize a black person on the right.

Maybe I'm being a naive, oblivious white guy. But I recall the right treating the Thomas confirmation process as a must-win. I'm not saying Republicans aren't racist. But this was when the GOP was becoming a fully ideological culture-war party. Thomas was a right-wing zealot. Republicans argued even then that black people would be better off abandoning the Democrats; they pointed to Thomas as proof of concept. They wanted a victory. I don't think they would have let even a white female accuser stand in their way.

No comments: