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Oops! Ginni Thomas Voicemail Opens Can of Worms: Fetishes, Tea Party Ties and More

Poor Ginni Thomas. All she wanted to do was get some closure--19 years later-- by calling Anita Hill and asking the woman who was sexually harassed by Clarence Thomas to apologize. She didn't get an apology, but it looks like she sparked a media firestorm instead, opening a couple of major cans of worms for her and her husband. Both Thomases" have supremely bad judgement," wrote Maureen Dowd in the Timesthis weekend, in one of dozens of high-profile pieces focusing on Ginni Thomas's extreme politicking and her husband's history of ethics problems -- on top of his porn preferences. Perhaps the most salacious revelation inspired by the notorious Ginni Thomas phone message is that ex-girlfriends of Thomas are coming out of the woodwork to confirm reports of his weird sexual fetishes and inappropriate behavior towards women in the office. Meanwhile a mainstream media which had largely forgotten the Hill-Thomas scandal are dredging it up and reminding the public of the reams of evidence not included in the hearings which all point to Hill being truthful -- and Thomas perjuring himself. And it gets worse for the Thomas couple. The same media outlets are jumping all over her weird position as an extremist Tea Party fundraiser at an ultraconservative foundation funded by anonymous donors. The problem here, as Dowd notes in her column ripping into the pair: "There is no way to tell if her donors have cases before the Supreme Court or whether her husband knows their identities. And she never would have to disclose them if her husband had his way." Not only are Ginni Thomas's fundraising activities in question, but her husband's conservative activism from the bench and his troubling history of iffy ethics are under the microscope too. The Nation's Bruce Shapiro reminds us that "the Thomases' evocation of that old episode obscures an ethically challenged Supreme Court justice complicit in handing American politics over to corporations and anonymous far-right donors." And finally, after all the accusations and the questions about the pair have surfaced, there's the humor. The Thomases have been the butt of jokes everywhere from a sophisticated parody at The New Yorker's website to a spirited rant on SNL's Weekend Update. Salon's Alex Pareene runs down a list of humorous and enraged blog reactions to the phone call, noting that "If, as some people suggest, Ginni Thomas hoped to put this dark incident behind her, she failed."
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