Via the Free Beacon, alternate headline: “Third-ranking House Democrat tacitly agrees that Clarence Thomas is an ‘Uncle Tom.'” This clip’s more interesting, actually, than the Bennie Thompson comments that inspired it, and not just because Clyburn’s among the leadership. The easiest thing in politics is to politely distance yourself from a colleague who’s said something controversial. Scarborough’s tossing him a softball here, expecting a check-the-box response along the lines of “Bennie’s wrong but he’s a good man and a fine congressman and we all make mistakes,” etc. Instead, despite repeated prompting, Clyburn refuses to say anything critical beyond a pro forma he-said-it-not-me. That goes to show you how deeply invested the party is in the Clarence Thomas “Uncle Tom” slur. In the name of enforcing ideological orthodoxy, they’d rather have their leaders passively endorse a race-traitor attack on America’s most powerful black jurist than offer even a perfunctory denunciation. Amazing. I wonder if this’ll make it into MSNBC’s endless afternoon/evening conversation on race.
Let’s see if Peter Beinart, another Democrat, can do any better.
For good measure, Thompson added that Clarence Thomas “doesn’t like black people, he doesn’t like being black.”
Yikes. First of all, Bennie Thompson has no idea how Clarence Thomas feels about being black, and should thus keep quiet on the subject. Commenting on the racial impact of Thomas’ jurisprudence is legitimate. Attributing that jurisprudence to self-hatred is not. There’s something totalitarian about claiming to know to know how another person feels about himself. And attacking someone’s private motivations is usually a way to avoid confronting his public arguments. Thompson wouldn’t appreciate it if hawks angry at his criticism of U.S. foreign policy called him a “self-hating American.” I doubt he has much sympathy for the right-wingers who call Jewish critics of Israeli policy “self-hating” Jews. (Welcome to my inbox.) Unfortunately, he’s doing exactly the same thing.
Stick around to 1:55, when Clyburn tries to tu-quoque the issue by claiming that some of the “expressions” Thomas has used in his opinions are also insulting. Constitutional originalism is kinda sorta a slur too, when you think about it.