Rush Limbaugh went on a rant on his show about why conservatives won’t defend Chris Christie the way they did Clarence Thomas. He’s not bothered by that a bit, of course, because Thomas was a true conservative while Christie is an “establishment” Republican. And Limbaugh comes right out and brags about the fact that he defended Thomas with no concern whatsoever to evidence or logic:
Clarence Thomas was nominated the Supreme Court by George Bush 41. The moment he was nominated, the left’s long knives came out. That was their seat, Thurgood Marshall. Clarence Thomas, Republican, conservative, traitor, Uncle Tom. When this all happened, I didn’t know Clarence Thomas. I had never met Clarence Thomas. I had to read about Clarence Thomas to find out who he was. From the moment Paul Simon, Democrat senator from Illinois…
His wife, actually, was the one responsible for this, if you want to know the truth. They dragged Anita Hill forward. Snerdley, you’ll remember this because you’ve been here the whole time. I began the biggest, full-throated defense of Clarence Thomas that there was, and I didn’t know him. I’d never met him. I had to read and find out who he was and, you know, about his life, the things he’d done, where he’d worked, gone to school.
Yet I didn’t feel I was taking a risk at all in a full-throated, never-ending, full-fledged not only defense of Clarence Thomas, but an attack, a returned attack on Anita Hill and the Democrats. Now, how was I able to do this with such confidence, not having met the man, not having known the man?…The reason that I — and I have been fully vindicated, by the way — was able to defend Clarence Thomas with total confidence against this, is I knew he didn’t do it.
I knew he didn’t do it, and I didn’t know him. But I learned about his character. I learned about his family. He was conservative. He was courageous. He was a conservative African-American. You learned that they had tried to destroy him at Yale ’cause he didn’t get in with affirmative action. He betrayed them. He betrayed the civil rights coalitions because he climbed the ladder without them, showing that it could be done.
I learned very quickly that Clarence Thomas became the biggest threat breathing to people like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, the biggest threat alive to the civil rights coalitions, because Clarence Thomas was living proof that a minority could reach the pinnacle without having to be a liberal or a Democrat or part of that whole civil rights coalition. I also knew that the people attacking him were totally capable of lying and making things up.
The left, the Democrats, take your pick — Biden, take your pick of ’em on that committee. Ted Kennedy. I knew their character, and so without knowing Clarence Thomas, without ever having met Clarence Thomas, I knew he didn’t do it…
What was it that made me do this? I didn’t think I was risking anything. I really didn’t. If I’d had the slightest doubt of his innocence, I woulda never opened my mouth. If I thought that there was just a tiny thread of possibility that what Anita Hill was saying and what the Democrat witnesses were saying was true, I woulda stayed silent. But I didn’t. I went to the equivalent of the mountaintops and started shouting. Now, why? Character, conservatism, and and my knowledge of the left.
This is the kind of simplistic tribal reasoning that we all engage in at times — some more than others, of course — but rarely does anyone admit it and declare pride in it. We usually pretend we’re not doing that and we’re being totally rational when we’re not.