What’s old is new again. The lessons from the Anita Hill fiasco that set the stage for today
Bottom Line: Over the weekend a listener asked me a great question. What happened to Anita Hill after the Clarence Thomas hearing? For all of the comparisons that'd been made between what happened then and what’s happening today there’s an extraordinarily important point to be made about bad behavior being rewarded. First, there was public perception of at the onset. According to Gallup 60% of Americans thought Thomas’s confirmation vote should be held up until Anita Hill had been heard (according to CBS 59% feel the same way today before holding the Kavanaugh vote). Eventually the hearings happened and by a margin of 44% to 38%, Americans thought Thomas was the most credible. At the end of it all Clarence Thomas was confirmed with 52 votes and 60% of the country thought the hearings were bad for the country. The rest is history - which tends to repeat itself. It wouldn’t be the least bit surprising if Kavanaugh were to eventually to be confirmed with 52 votes but what about the women? Let’s go back to Anita Hill and the question about what happened after Clarence Thomas?
Anita Hill’s career didn’t exactly take a turn for the worse. She taught at the University of Oklahoma College of Law until 1996 when she left for Cal Berkeley – which led to a series of roles with other colleges and institutes. She won the American Bar Association's Commission on Women in the Profession's "Women of Achievement" award. She authored two books, received honorary degrees and was inducted into Oklahoma’s “Women Hall of Fame”. Her estimated net worth is $6 million and she’s a household name to this day. It’s beyond dispute that the accusations against the honorable Clarence Thomas benefited Hill professionally and financially.
So fast forward to today. Given all of the other similarities beyond Anita Hill and Christine Ford or other accusers, what’s the risk/reward profile look like here? This looks like a classic case of “heads I win, tails you lose”. There arguably is little downside to making baseless accusations and inserting yourself into the effort to take down a Supreme Court nominee – with an unlimited amount of upside politically, professionally and financially – regardless of what the outcome is. This once again shows how incredibly harmful and irresponsible it is for everyone who’s played a role in lending credibility to accusers who’ve provided no credible basis for the allegations. They literally profit from attempting to tear someone else down and politicians on the left and allies in the media are doing all they can to make it a reality. And all at the expense of the country and all innocent victims of threats and extortion.