Nutty and Slutty

In seeking to exonerate Chris Christie of Bridgegate, Randy Mastro of Gibson, Dunn goes back to the playbook used to discredit Anita Hill when she testified against Clarence Thomas’ nomination to the Supreme Court in 1991.  Hill was disparaged and dismissed as “a little bit nutty and a little bit slutty.”

In his Bridgegate report, Mastro dismisses Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, who claims she was threatened with denial of Sandy relief funds unless she approved a development project Christie wanted, as nutty.  Mastro provides photos of Zimmer yawning and smiling and argues — really — that people who feel threatened don’t yawn or smile.

As for slutty, Mastro offers us Bridget Anne Kelly, Christie’s former deputy chief of staff, who had an affair with Christie’s campaign manager, Bill Stepien, that ended just before Kelly ordered the lanes closed on the George Washington Bridge.  While Mastro doesn’t establish a  motive for closing the lanes, he thinks it has something to do with Bridget getting dumped by Bill:

“Like the others in the lane realignments, events in Kelly’s personal life may have had some bearing on her subjective motivations and state of mind. … Her first known communication to [David] Wildstein about the lane realignment in mid-August 2013, for example, occurred around the time that her personal relationship with Stepien had cooled, apparently at Stepien’s behest and Stepien and Kelly had largely stopped speaking.”   So Kelly may not have a face that launched a thousand ships, but she has a temperament that stopped a thousand cars.

Mastro blames the whole thing on Kelly and Wildstein:  “Mayor Sokolich also appears to have been targeted for some reason yet to be determined.  Whether Kelly had her own ulterior motive for doing so or was simply supporting her friend, Wildstein, is also yet to be determined.”

Fortunately, we have real investigations being conducted by the New Jersey legislature and federal prosecutors to figure out all this “yet to be determined” stuff, which will have a major impact on the “yet to be determined” 2016 GOP presidential nominee, who, I promise you, won’t be Chris Christie.

It’s easy for me, sitting in California, to laugh at this piece-of-crap report because, unlike the poor taxpayers of New Jersey, I didn’t help pay $1 million for it.  Although as a federal taxpayer, I did help Christie use Sandy funds to pay for ads he starred in to help his re-election.  Christie clearly loves to promote himself using other people’s money.

Christie may have lost 100 pounds since his obesity surgery, but he’s still full of shit.  Christie claimed at the outset of the scandal that he didn’t know about the lane closures before or during their occurrence.  But Mastro’s report notes that David Wildstein claims he told Christie at a 9/11 event while the lanes were still closed.  Mastro swats away this claim as no biggie, saying Christie doesn’t remember such a conversation, and he was very busy with people wanting their pictures taken with him.

I expect as the real investigations proceed, we’ll hear a lot more about Christie’s relationship with Wildstein and a lot less about Kelly’s relationship with Stepien.

Mastro pathetically tries to lift Christie up by kicking Kelly when she’s down.  But smearing Bridget Anne Kelly won’t make Bridgegate go away, and it sure as hell won’t make the GOP’s problems with women voters go away.

Don’t Be Fooled By “Moderate Mitt”

From “The Sweet Spot,” Bill Keller, NYT:

“My hunch is that Romney will manage to shake off most of his extremist accouterments, because they never seemed to fit him.  It is true that if elected…Romney would be obliged to tithe generously to the right, by choosing Supreme Court nominees of the Scalia/Thomas persuasion, for example, and by populating regulatory agencies with polluters and plunderers.  But those concerns tend not to alter election outcomes.  Even with pro-Obama super PACs painting him as a mean-spirited zealot, Romney should be able to recapture the old campaign aura of a moderate Mr. Fixit.”

I agree with Keller that “those concerns” don’t affect elections, but they should!

So Mitt is re-setting the Etch a Sketch for the general to run from the base and then will re-set it again if elected to embrace them.  They’ll keep him on a short leash under the threat of getting primaried for 2016.  They already don’t like or trust him, so he’d better behave.

Will Cain’s Invoking Clarence Thomas Help Anita Hill?

Herman “You want a job, right?” Cain has been trying to wrap himself in the mantle of Clarence Thomas, whose false outrage was one of the better performances the Senate has ever seen.  But this re-opening of the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill controversy may backfire not just against Cain, but against Thomas as well, with Hill emerging as the winner.  The wheels of justice grind slowly….

Jane Meyer, who co-authored the book Strange Justice defending Hill, has a post “Cain and Thomas” up at  She points out that allegations of sexual harassment are most damning when there is a pattern, which requires more than one accuser.  That’s why it was important to keep others from supporting Hill, to leave her twisting in the wind, uncorroborated, “nutty and slutty.”  Three other women were ready to back Hill up — Angela Wright, Sukari Harnett, and Rose Jourdain.

Meyer writes:  “No persuasive reason has ever been given for why these women should have been denied a chance to testify.  In the intervening twenty years…two former Senate aides, both Democrats, have admitted privately that their bosses knew that Thomas would have been unlikely to survive multiple accusers.  Facing this moment of decision, they flinched.”

No one flinched more shamefully than Joe Biden, who was chairman of the House Judiciary Committee at the time.

To the extent Cain forces us to re-examine the Thomas nomination in the light of what’s been revealed since, it’s an embarrassment for Thomas and Biden, and vindication for Hill.

The Real High-Tech Lynching

As comparisons are made between Herman Cain and Clarence Thomas, including the bizarre interview of Cain by Thomas’ wife Ginni, she who favors foam Statue-of-Liberty crowns as part of her wardrobe, we should remember who really was the victim of a high-tech lynching — Anita Hill.

She was called “a little bit nutty and a little bit slutty,” and the meme took hold, even though it was a baseless smear.  The right succeeded because Joe Biden cut her off at the knees by cancelling other witnesses who were going to corroborate her testimony.  He was intimidated by the Republicans and terrified of having them turn their full wrath on him and destroy him politically.  So he tossed them Hill, they swallowed her up, and went away sated.

David Brock, Anita Hill’s main accuser, who wrote both a vicious article about her in The American Spectator and a book called The Real Anita Hill, later repented and became a liberal.  He wrote another book, Blinded by the RightThe Conscience of an ExConservative, apologized to Hill, and founded Media Matters for America, dedicating himself to calling out right-wing lies.

Clarence Thomas never should have been confirmed.  Thank you, Joe Biden, for a wimpy and crappy job.  You may be a fan of JFK, but you are no profile in courage.

Herman Cain and Clarence Thomas

I thought it was odd back in May, when Herman Cain told Byron York in an interview for The Washington Examiner, that he was ready for a “high-tech lynching.”

It made no sense to me that Cain would want to associate himself with Clarence Thomas in that way.  But now it’s clear that Cain knew allegations of sexual harassment would eventually come out, as they have today on Politico.  So he was trying to inoculate himself.

We’ll see if the white guilt strategy works as well for him as it did for Thomas.  It’s such an insult to all the African-Americans who were murdered in low-tech lynchings.