Nailing Thomas

From the stopped clock department, two of my least favorite New York Times columnists have managed to get it right on the subject of Clarence Thomas.

Here’s Frank Rich:

This could be seen most vividly on “60 Minutes,” when he revisited a parable about the evils of affirmative action that is also a centerpiece of his memoir: his anger about the “tainted” degree he received from Yale Law School. In Mr. Thomas’s account, he stuck a 15-cent price sticker on his diploma after potential employers refused to hire him. By his reckoning, a Yale Law graduate admitted through affirmative action, as he was, would automatically be judged inferior to whites with the same degree. The “60 Minutes” correspondent, Steve Kroft, maintained that Mr. Thomas had no choice but to settle for a measly $10,000-a-year job (in 1974 dollars) in Missouri, working for the state’s attorney general, John Danforth.

What “60 Minutes” didn’t say was that the post was substantial — an assistant attorney general — and that Mr. Danforth was himself a Yale Law graduate. As Mr. Danforth told the story during the 1991 confirmation hearings and in his own book last year, he traveled to New Haven to recruit Mr. Thomas when he was still a third-year law student. That would be before he even received that supposedly worthless degree. Had it not been for Yale taking a chance on him in the first place, in other words, Mr. Thomas would never have had the opportunity to work the Yalie network to jump-start his career and to ascend to the Supreme Court. Mr. Danforth, a senator in 1991, was the prime mover in shepherding the Thomas nomination to its successful conclusion.

It would seem that Thomas is tending to his legend a bit.

Even Maureen Dowd manages manages to get it right:

That’s why I refuse, as a justice, to give a helping hand to blacks. I don’t want them to suffer from the advantages I had. Few of them will be able to climb to my heights, of course, but if they do, they will have the satisfaction of knowing that they made it on their own, as individuals.

Because Poppy Bush put me on the Supreme Court after I’d been a judge for only a year, I’ll always wonder if I got the job just because of my race. I want to spare other blacks that kind of worry. That’s why I pulled the ladder up after myself — so that my brothers and sisters would have the peace of mind that comes with self-reliance.

I used to have grave reservations about working at white institutions, subject to the whims of white superiors. But when Poppy’s whim was to crown his son — one of those privileged Yale legacy types I always resented — I had to repay The Man for putting me on the court even though I was neither qualified nor honest.

Exactly right.

I know that in some circles it is fashionable to present Thomas, an intellectual mediocrity whose exalted position on the Court stems solely from the need of Bush Sr. to find a Black conservative to replace Thurgood Marshall, as somehow a serious and principled Justice. The plain reality is that he has the confidence of a fanatic, and a view of the Constitution so blinkered and simplistic that a computer could be programmed to render his judgments. He almost certainly perjured himself during his confirmation hearings, and he should never have been approved for the Court.

Comments

  1. #1 The RIdger
    October 8, 2007

    I could never understand those who said, “Well, I’m not sure, so I have to give him the benefit of the doubt.” He wasn’t on trial – they were pondering making him a Supreme Court Justice for life. The doubt should be against a man in that position – you should be sure of putting someone into that job.

  2. #2 SLC
    October 9, 2007

    The verdict on Clarence Thomas is very simple. Mr. Thomas is an uncle tom and self hating black man.

  3. #3 Caledonian
    October 9, 2007

    The verdict on Clarence Thomas is very simple. Mr. Thomas is an uncle tom and self hating black man.

    Those are not disqualifications for the position.

  4. #4 Robert O'Brien
    October 9, 2007

    I know that in some circles it is fashionable to present Thomas, an intellectual mediocrity whose exalted position on the Court stems solely from the need of Bush Sr. to find a Black conservative to replace Thurgood Marshall, as somehow a serious and principled Justice. The plain reality is that he has the confidence of a fanatic, and a view of the Constitution so blinkered and simplistic that a computer could be programmed to render his judgments. He almost certainly perjured himself during his confirmation hearings, and he should never have been approved for the Court.

    To the contrary, Clarence Thomas is no ‘intellectual mediocrity’ and his view of the Constitution is sound, as opposed to your own, which apparently involves shoe-horning in anything and everything favorable to your ideology.

  5. #5 SLC
    October 9, 2007

    Re Robert O’Brien

    The only black people who the likes of Mr. O”Brien admire are uncle toms. In addition, Mr. Thomas has insufficient intelligence to grab his posterior with both hands.

  6. #6 Dom
    October 9, 2007

    “…a view of the Constitution so blinkered and simplistic that a computer could be programmed to render his judgments.”

    The opposite is a view of the constitution that is faddish and subjective.

    Concerning perjury, he was accused of using naughty words around a woman, who was so comfortable with him that, long afterwards, she continued to call him, and even asked for (and received) a recommendation.

  7. #7 Tyler DiPietro
    October 9, 2007

    “The opposite is a view of the constitution that is faddish and subjective.”

    I agree. There is absolutely no possible middle-ground between the two positions. I’m still waiting for Dred Scott to make a comeback.

  8. #8 Robert O'Brien
    October 9, 2007

    SLC:

    You have already demonstrated you are low-rent, trifling, and lacking in native intelligence; further proof is not necessary.

  9. #9 SLC
    October 9, 2007

    Re Robert O’Brian

    Mr. O’Brian is an extreme right wing whackjob along the lines of such notables as Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Michael Savage (nee Weiner), and Rush Limbaugh. Undoubtedly, these assholes are his heroes.

  10. #10 Robert O'Brien
    October 9, 2007

    To the contrary, lunkhead, I am not an admirer of any of those people. My favorite pundit is probably Pat Buchanan. I also like Brit Hume.

  11. #11 Tyler DiPietro
    October 9, 2007

    This is the best thread ever. I love you guys.

  12. #12 SLC
    October 10, 2007

    Re Robert O’Brien

    Mr. O’Brien admires racist antisemite Pat Buchanan. What a surprise. And Brit Hume, former Jack Anderson sockpuppet. And incidentally, Mr. O’Brien is a poopy head.

  13. #13 Dom
    October 10, 2007

    “I’m still waiting for Dred Scott to make a comeback.”

    The constitution can be amended and has been on several occasions. The question is, who should amend it? Judge Thomas (and many others) believe this should be done by the legislature and not the judiciary. That’s the difference between a representative democracy and something like a dictatorship.

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