The still-forming Obama administration seems intent on revisiting many controversies of the past. We already have Eric Holder and the Marc Rich pardon. Now, with the floating of Janet Napolitano’s name, we get to revisit the Anita Hill controversy.
Recall that one of the so-called corroborators of Hill’s story — that is, that she had been sexually harassed by her boss, Clarence Thomas– was one Susan Hoerchner. Hoerchner originally testified, however, that she heard Hill’s account of being harassed during a time period that turned out to be before she ever worked for Thomas. So her testimony not only didn’t corroborate Hill, it undermined her. But in the middle of this testimony, Napolitano — who was advising Hill — took Hoerchner off the record, and a few minutes late she came back and testified that she couldn’t remember the timing. (As David Brock put it in The Real Anita Hill, “Hill’s attorney Janet Napolitano asked to go off the record, and Hoerchner came back suddenly struck with amnesia ….”)
Maybe Senate Democrats will blink at this, as they did when Napolitano was nominated and confirmed to be U.S. Attorney. But surely President Obama should want, and promised, a fresher start than these nominees.