News of the Weird for Hot GOP-ers

A Bronx cheer for Rudy, and peculiar behavior from Clarence Thomas

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The progressive Web is alive and well with references to Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani's rather unfriendly reception at Yankee Stadium two nights ago. It seems as if my hometown of New York gave Rudy a Bronx cheer of its own. How bizarre!

Speaking of weird doings among hot Republicans, Justice Clarence Thomas has a new book out that the right is defending as at times "engrossing" and Anita Hill, whom the book rather vilifies, is described as "vitriolic."

I myself witnessed some rather strange behavior on the justice's part at a chichi Washington dinner last night. I attended the Independent Women's Forum's annual Washington, D.C., dinner, honoring women of valor, which was quite the event. The Independent Women's Forum was formed in the early 1990s by Lynne Cheney and other well-known conservative women who wanted the media to recognize that not all women are liberal. Its list of directors emeritae includes poster children of the female right Midge Decter and Wendy Lee Gramm.

Justice Thomas was seated a couple of tables away. For long stretches during speeches, he put his head down and stroked his neck and head backward, starting at the base of his head and moving his hand all the way up and around to his hairline. I counted him doing it 20 times and stopped there. Very strange tick for such a public figure!

For what it's worth, the promotion surrounding this year's release of Supreme Discomfort: The Divided Soul of Clarence Thomas by two Washington Post staffers describes the book as a "haunting portrait of an isolated and bitter man, reviled by much of the black community, not entirely comfortable in white society, and internally wounded from struggles early on in childhood." What I witnessed last night did not stray from that description.