22nd 2010
Clarence Thomas’s ex-girlfriend tells all

Posted under: American history, bad language, Gender, Intersectionality, race, unhappy endings, women's history

Or, at least Lillian McEwan tells us some of what some of us were looking for back in 1991.  (H/t to reader and commenter cgeye for the link.)

To McEwen, Hill’s allegations that [Clarence] Thomas had pressed her for dates and made lurid sexual references rang familiar.

“He was always actively watching the women he worked with to see if they could be potential partners,” McEwen said matter-of-factly. “It was a hobby of his.”  McEwen’s connection to Thomas was strictly personal. She had even disclosed that relationship to [then-Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee Senator Joe] Biden, who had been her boss years earlier.

In her Senate testimony, Hill, who worked with Thomas at two federal agencies, said that Thomas would make sexual comments to her at work, including references to scenes in hard-core pornographic films.

“If I used that kind of grotesque language with one person, it would seem to me that there would be traces of it throughout the employees who worked closely with me, or the other individuals who heard bits and pieces of it or various levels of it,” Thomas responded to the committee.

I can understand why she was reluctant to come forward with her information about Thomas.  After all, they had a consensual personal and sexual relationship.  His interest in pornography and in sexually evaluating the women he worked with was apparently fine with (if not welcomed by) McEwen.  I can certainly understand her reluctance to volunteer to be the African American woman to bring down only the second African American ever nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court because she thought his interest in porn was “boring.”  I don’t think that was a realistic possibility–it would only have subjected her to public scrutiny and derision, and sadly, I don’t think that her testimony would have brought public opinion or the Senate Judiciary Committee around to supporting Antia Hill instead of Thomas.  And after seeing what Hill was put through, I’m sure that made McEwen feel justified in staying out of it. 

After all, if the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committeeknew about McEwen’s relationship with and opinions about Thomas and he really gave a crap, he could have turned up more stories from Thomas’s days at the EEO if he really wanted to.  But, he didn’t–and that’s what was so appalling to those of us watching those confirmation hearings back in the autumn of 1991.  It wasn’t just the leering and the prurient insults from Republican Senators like Orrin Hatch or Snarlin’ Arlen Specter.  It was the obvious and embarassing ineptitude of the Democrats who used Anita Hill but chose not to support or defend her when public opinion went against them. 

Today's Dems: kiss up and kick down!

But, that’s pretty much the Democratic party relationship to women:  use our issues as bargaining chips when it’s politically expedient, and then cherchez la femme when they lose elections.  Funny how it never occurs to them to do a damn thing for us in exchange for our votes.  What have I gotten out of my 24 years of party loyalty to the Party of the Jackass?  Compared to the late 1980s when I started voting, sex education has been dumbed down, contraception has been politicized, abortion is more difficult to obtain for rural women and many poor women, the wage gap is stalled, there is no universal child care, and women remain overwhelmingly the uncompensated and unassisted caregivers for both the very young and the elderly. 



10 Responses to “Clarence Thomas’s ex-girlfriend tells all”

  1. koshem Bos on 22 Oct 2010 at 1:29 pm #

    Only the banks and the rich are getting their money’s worth from the Democrats. It’s not only women. The poor have disappeared, vive la middle class, which is also shafted although frequently mentioned. The foreclosure scandal didn’t bring too many Democrats to their feet. Grayson and one or two others, the rest with the chief jackass side with the banks.

    But then, who will we dance with?

  2. Historiann on 22 Oct 2010 at 1:38 pm #

    Agreed that it’s not just women–but the cynical attempts to manipulate us–the majority of the Democratic party–are particularly galling to me.

  3. Emma on 22 Oct 2010 at 2:29 pm #

    It’s not only women. The poor have disappeared, vive la middle class,

    The majority of the poor are women and children.

  4. Susan on 22 Oct 2010 at 2:30 pm #

    Heh. I was just reading the story and was about to send it to you….

    Her silence makes it clear just how brave Hill was.

  5. Adrienne in CA on 22 Oct 2010 at 4:41 pm #

    Something tells me this woman’s memoir will sell better now. Rumors about a tell-all book being shopped around are probably what got Ginny Thomas to place they odd phone call. Yes, Virginia, now they’ll be speculating about you too.


  6. truffula on 22 Oct 2010 at 4:50 pm #

    From the article, rearranged:
    “He was always actively watching the women he worked with to see if they could be potential partners,” McEwen said matter-of-factly. “It was a hobby of his.”

    …then-Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.), who headed the committee, limited witnesses to women who had a “professional relationship” with Thomas.

    There is only so far a good ol’ boy will go. Panem et circenses but no real exposure of the way the boys behave. Wouldn’t want the game to be up for all of them.

  7. Comrade PhysioProf on 22 Oct 2010 at 6:44 pm #

    It was the obvious and embarassing ineptitude of the Democrats[.]

    Thank fucken godde those days are past history and now the Democrats are totally effectual!

  8. Historiann on 22 Oct 2010 at 10:20 pm #

    Exactement, truffula. And LOLz to CPP.

    Contemporary American politics is kind of like watching that midlife crisis/wine movie Sideways, only I can’t tell if the Democrats are Miles and the Republicans are Jack, or if it’s the other way around.

    (Actually, now that I think of it, it’s pretty clear that the Democrats are Miles. Jack truly doesn’t care about anything but Jack, whereas Miles pretends to care about persons and goals outside himself but he does nothing about them and in the end it’s all about him.)

  9. Comrade PhysioProf on 23 Oct 2010 at 6:30 am #

    This whole Juan Williams thing is a perfect fucken example. For the Republicans, every time the Democrats or anyone who can be associated with the Democrats–like some NGO or a low-level govt bureaucrat–does the slightest fucken obscure little thing that can be spun appropriately (which is basically everything on earth), the Republicans come out with fucken guns blazing ready to ATTACK! KILL! DESTROY! IMPEACH! FIRE! DEFUND! everyfucken Democrat and Democratic leaning everyfuckenthing on the face of the Earth. And then the Dems start running around appeasing these assholes hoping the assult will stop. Consequence: Republicans win again.

    Some wacked out fucken Republican candidate for the motherfucken CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES states that if the Republicans don’t win congressional majorities it would be appropriate to violently overthrow the motherfucken FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, and the Democrats fucken run away like the fucken scaredy-cat little crybabies that they are, because they are so fucken afraid of being called “shrill” or “intemperate” by the Republicans and the press. Consequence: Republicans win again.

    This kind of abject total complete lack of any fucken spine at all is nauseating. Independently of any policy issue concerns at all, who the fucke wants to support a political party that won’t even stand up for its own political power? SACKE THE FUCKEN FUCKE UPPE, YOU DUMSHITTE ASSHOLES!

  10. Historiann on 23 Oct 2010 at 7:58 am #

    I’ve come to the conclusion that the Dems in 2010 are like the Whig Party in 1852: completely unprepared to handle the challenges that face them, and therefore it is doomed in its current configuration.

    Oh well–the Dems had a good, long run. 210 years ain’t bad, but it’s probably time for something new.

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