WASHINGTON — David Brock was a conservative — make that right-wing — hatchet man who, while in that mode, wrote a book and some articles trashing Anita Hill, the purveyor of minor-league sexual-harassment charges against a longtime friend and benefactor, Clarence Thomas, who became a minor-league Supreme Court justice despite her accusations.
A while back, Brock decided to have a philosophy-change operation and write a flattering book about Hillary Rodham Clinton. In this repentant state he has now written a sequel to the Hill book, claiming that he lied about Hill in the first book. This has caused Hill's defenders to rush out and buy the latest version of this silly business so that they can shout, probably in unison, "We told you so."
Brock is going to make money off both the trashing and the untrashing of Hill. The sequel probably is no more worth reading than the first of what may even become a trilogy if Brock decides to recant his recanting, which appears likely given his record.
But to make things worse, as if they could get so, he says his partner in the conspiracy to malign a witness who would corroborate allegations that Thomas liked pornography was none other than Thomas himself, who acted through an intermediary, a Washington lawyer friend. Thomas is saying nothing and the alleged intermediary denies it.
For all of you who were on another planet or not old enough to read, let me recap. Thomas was nominated to the high court despite the shouts of agony from liberals and fellow African Americans who argued that he didn't always think like an African American is supposed to think. Unable to derail his Senate confirmation by questioning his qualifications or mental capacity — after all, he had graduated from Yale University Law School — they looked around for a way to attack his character.
Enter Hill, a fellow Yalie and a law professor, who for years had been the beneficiary of Thomas' kindness. He had hired her in two government jobs and recommended her for law school positions. Through a decade of friendship, it seems, she had been harboring resentment that he allegedly had on two or perhaps three occasions made off-color remarks in her presence, thus creating an obvious atmosphere of sexual harassment.
She decided the right thing to do was to continue to accept his help and never mentioned any problem once to anyone until Thomas became a big name and vulnerable. Just coincidentally, she earned some fame and a good deal of fortune by this decision.
The FBI agents sent to interview her laughed at her and didn't believe the story. After the story leaked, the Senate Judiciary Committee reluctantly decided it had no alternative but to hold public hearings that were among the most ludicrous ever conducted by an institution whose political shenanigans often have defined the word "outrageous." How surprising that Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., for instance, didn't ask a question and other senators kept having to look away. An angry Thomas denied all and won Senate confirmation to the high court.
Does anyone at this point believe anything Brock, or, for that matter, anyone else in this loony-toons soap opera has to say? I am utterly shocked that Thomas might have watched a pornographic movie. I was convinced that Supreme Court justices were asexual creatures.
Recommendation: Don't buy Brock's book. Wait for the third one. In the meantime, tune in to "Sex and the City." It's much more entertaining.
Dan K. Thomasson is former editor of Scripps Howard News Service.