Wash. Post columnists agree: Even if the Clarence Thomas allegations were true, who cares?

Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

"Liberal" Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen wants you to know that he really doesn't care what happened between Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill, who alleged during Thomas' Senate confirmation hearings that Thomas made repeated unwelcome "sexual overtures" to her when she was his assistant:

I was young and boorish once myself and have turned out to be a veritable saint. I venture to say we all did and said terrible things when we were young, which is why nature protects the elderly with failing memories. I want to forget both Hill and Thomas. Let us media types let go of this story.

Hill's accusations against Thomas are back in the news after Thomas' wife recently called Hill seeking an apology for her testimony. Lillian McEwen, Thomas' former girlfriend, also came forward to say that Hill's statements were consistent with the Clarence Thomas she knew. McEwen is currently seeking a publisher for her autobiography.

One thing Cohen is sure of: Hill definitely wasn't sexually harassed, because if she had been, she would have taken advantage of the benefits of affirmative action and found a different job:

In fact, they have nothing to do with anything -- unless it is to prove that nothing about Thomas and his initial accuser, Anita Hill, makes any sense. Her charges fell somewhat short of blatant, coercive, sexual harassment -- or, if they didn't, then why did she follow her abuser, Thomas, from one job to the next? A black, female Yale Law School graduate was not lacking in employment opportunities.

Cohen also writes of Thomas:

Thomas stands nearly alone on the court in his shallowness of his scholarship and the narrowness of his compassion. But when it comes to his alleged sexual boorishness, he stands condemned of being a man.

Conservative Post columnist Kathleen Parker agrees with Cohen that the allegations against Thomas, true or not, were never that big a deal:

In 1991, the world divided itself into two camps: those who believed Anita Hill and those who didn't. I fell somewhere in the middle: She may have told the truth, but so what?

On bended knee, give thanks if you are too young to remember. A brief summary: Hill testified that then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her by verbally sharing his enjoyment of porn films and his sexual proficiency.

Yes, yawn if you must. This was scandalous, of course, because . . . well, I'm still not certain. You see, to be scandalized, one must be deeply sensitive to the mention of anything sexual. Indeed, in this case, one needed to be scandalized for an indefinite period of time.

After establishing that she doesn't care what Thomas did, Parker reaches straight for the race card:

Clarence Thomas's "offense" had nothing to do with whether he did or did not say something off-color to a subordinate. Rather, his offense was being a conservative black man who had the audacity, among other things, to suggest that affirmative action ultimately might do harm to those it was intended to help.

Parker goes on to call McEwen's allegations a "second lynching" -- the first, of course, being Hill's accusations before the Senate.


The Washington Post
Kathleen Parker, Richard Cohen
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.