Saturday, March 12, 2011

Strange and Obscene

Another discouraging look at the dictum, "The more things change, the more they stay the same."

It was 1991, and George Bush the First had orchestrated the ramming through the Senate the confirmation of Clarence Thomas in order to appease his rabid right-wing supporters.

Jane Mayer and Jill Abramson wrote Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas in 1994.  In that time, they were able to interview on the record scores of individuals on both sides of this battle.  What they ended up with was a detailed narrative of this travesty.

Democrats in control of the Senate, but afraid to take a stand, else they might seem partisan.  Republicans organizing and plotting in Washington and around the country, manipulating public opinion with money and slick PR.  And, as women attempted to come forward, most notably Anita Hill, there was no trick too dirty for the republicans, and no hurtle the democrats were willing to surmount.  Joe Biden's attempts to appear fair ended up blocking the efforts of women taking great risks to come forward, and enabled the trashing of those women by the republican spin machine.

And here we are with a justice on the Supreme Court who is not that bright, but angry enough to make up for it.  A partisan who lied to get ahead, and has acted on his rage and bias with alacrity.  And to end with the sentences that conclude the book,

"...Thomas himself vowed on the day of his confirmation, at the age of forty-three, that he intended to spend the next forty-three years of his life as a Supreme Court justice.  It would take that long, he told friends, to get even."

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