In October 1991, no one believed Clarence Thomas any more than they believe Roy Moore today.
Like Thomas, Moore was hit with a last-minute charge of sexual impropriety that was nothing short of a political assassination.
Whether Moore was falsely accused or not I do not know, probably never will, but in Clarence Thomas’s case, I have no doubt he was telling the truth.
There are two people Thomas has to thanks for that, himself and David Brock, the one-time right-wing reporter and now chief impresario of the left’s smear machine.
The woman who orchestrated the Thomas assassination was a low-level California judge named Susan Hoerchner. When she heard news of his nomination, she convinced herself that Thomas was the man who harassed her friend Anita Hill back when she and Hill talked regularly in Washington.
It seems likely that it was Hoerchner who saw to it that the media picked up on the harassment accusations. The trick was to get Hill to own them. She was understandably reluctant.
Under considerable pressure from her “friends” in the pro-abortion and feminist camps, Hill finally faxed a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee claiming that Thomas badgered her to date him and talked graphically about sex in her presence.
Later that same day two FBI agents interviewed Hill in Oklahoma where she was teaching. “She advised the interviewing agents that she made the decision to prepare the statement after several telephone conversations with her personal friend, Susan Hoerchner,” one of the FBI agents would later testify.
In constructing her harassment narrative, Hill had some obvious inconsistencies to explain away. The most notable was why she had followed Thomas to the EEOC after he had harassed her at the Department of Education.
In testifying, she offered the lame explanation that toward the end of their mutual tenure at the DOE, Thomas’s behavior had somehow changed for the better.
“It appeared that the sexual overtures, which had so troubled me, had ended,” she claimed. Then, allegedly, the behaviors started up again at the EEOC. “He said, that if I ever told anyone of his behavior that it would ruin his career.”
Out of deference to Thomas, Hill kept quiet throughout the four prior Senate confirmations Thomas had undergone, maintained a friendly relationship with him over the years, and even helped recruit him to Tulsa for a conference on civil rights law.
In the most stunning part of her testimony, Hill listed the abuses to which Thomas had allegedly subjected her. He pointed out a pubic hair on top of a coke can. He talked in detail about a porn star famously named “Long Dong Silver.” He talked about his own sexual prowess. And he kept pressing her for dates, which she continued to decline.
After Hill’s testimony, the chattering classes presumed Thomas’ goose was cooked. They all believed Hill.
Then Thomas got the chance Moore never did. He testified under oath in his own defense. He was magnificent.
“Senator,” he said forcefully to serial groper Joe Biden, “I would like to start by saying unequivocally, uncategorically, that I deny each and every single allegation against me today.”
“From my standpoint as a black American,” Thomas continued, “[the smear campaign] is a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves, to do for themselves, to have different ideas.”
“It is a message,” Thomas said, “that unless you kowtow to an old order, this is what will happen to you. You will be lynched, destroyed, caricatured by a committee of the U.S. Senate rather than hung from a tree.”
By the end of the hearing, two-thirds of Americans believed Thomas. In the last quarter-century, media propaganda has whittled that number in half, but the facts support Thomas as well.
Only one individual testified that Hill had complained about Thomas at the time of the alleged harassment in 1981. That was Susan Hoerchner.
In her deposition for the Judiciary Committee, Hoerchner told of how she and Hill spoke regularly throughout 1981 when both lived in Washington. It was during this time that Hill confided in her that Thomas had been harassing her. In September 1981, Hoerchner left for California, and the conversations stopped.
The only problem was that Hill began working with Thomas after Hoerchner left for California. When this major contradiction emerged during the deposition, Hoerchner immediately called for a recess.
After conferring with her attorney Hoerchner had a convenient change of memory. Now she was no longer sure where she was when she and Hill had talked about Thomas.
It was Brock who caught Hoerchner’s change of story. He explained why this mattered in a New York Times op-ed attacking Anthony Lewis’s 1993 review of his book, “The Real Anita Hill.”
This was more than a “a harmless lapse of memory.” Hoerchner, Brock explained, had been entirely clear on the regularity of her calls with Hill: when they took place, where they took place and how they ended after Hoerchner moved. This all changed when a Senate lawyer pointed out the inconsistency in timing.
The inference Brock made here and in his book was that if Hill had been harassed as she charged, the harasser was not Thomas. The momentum behind the accusation took Hill to a place she did not really want to go.
The media pushed her out in the open and, as payback, have worked hard to shore up her story and repair her image in the many years since.
Moore will never get the chance. He must be thinking now as former Labor Secretary Ray Donovan did upon being cleared of fraud charges, “Which office do I go to get my reputation back?”