Andrew Breitbart understood the destructive political coordination between news media outlets, left-wing interest groups, and the Democrat Party during the 1991 Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Justice Clarence Thomas, explained Michael Pack, producer and director of the new documentary Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words.
Pack discussed his documentary profiling Thomas in an interview on Thursday’s edition of SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight with host Rebecca Mansour and special guest host Henry Olsen.
Mansour noted the centrality of Thomas’s story to Andrew Breitbart’s political development.
“I would not be here working at this microphone if it weren’t for Justice Thomas,” said Mansour, “because our founder, Andrew Breitbart, considered Justice Clarence Thomas such a hero and so inspirational and so important for Andrew’s journey to becoming a Republican, a conservative, that he dedicated his memoir, Righteous Indignation, to Clarence Thomas.”
Breitbart’s memoir, as Mansour explained, bore the dedication: “To my dad, Gerald Breitbart, and Clarence Thomas—both decent men who inspired me to act.”
Mansour continued, “The Clarence Thomas hearing was like a red pill moment for Andrew where he understood that something was deeply wrong in this country with the media and its treatment of this truly honorable and extraordinary American.”
“For them it was all about Roe [v. Wade],” said Pack of political opposition to Thomas’s Supreme Court nomination, “and they thought they knew what [Thomas] thought about Roe because he was Catholic, and that was enough. In those days, you could maybe be more obvious about it, and it’s something — it’s true — that Andrew Breitbart was well set up to understand, maybe one of the few who did so fully in ’91.”
“It’s a horrible thing to watch,” said Pack of his film’s inclusion of footage from Thomas’s confirmation hearings, “how they attacked him on the basis of Roe.”
Pack reflected on Andrew Breitbart’s axiom of politics being downstream of culture and the importance of conservatives creating cultural content.
“I beg your listeners to go,” Pack urged. “One other thing Andrew Breitbart was great about, is you’ve got to show up for culture. The left does it. They support their filmmakers. They buy tickets. They make a big deal about it. They did that with RBG, the film about Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Surely we can do it, too. Andrew was really great about that, and the tradition he created is great about that, too. So I appeal to your listeners to go, to buy tickets.”
Pack determined, “You’ve got to really support this kind of film.”
Faith saved Thomas from left-wing political radicalism, shared Pack, reflecting on a moment in Thomas’s life in seminary while planning a life in the priesthood.
“[There was] a notorious moment when [Clarence Thomas] was watching TV, the day Martin Luther King Jr. was shot, and a white seminarian said, ‘I hope that son of a bitch dies,’ and that was so shocking to Justice Thomas,” Pack explained. “It capped off his feeling the church wasn’t doing enough for civil rights, and he sort of flipped. He just decided race and racism explained everything. He became an angry black man. He told his grandfather he didn’t want to be a priest. His grandfather kicked him out of the house. He had to go wherever he could. He happened to have a full scholarship at Holy Cross, and there, he just became more and more radicalized. He hung around with Marxist students, invited [Black] Panthers to speak. He supported, as he says in the film, ‘everyone who was in your face,’ from Angela Davis to Malcolm X.”
Pack went on, “He had a period of radicalism and anger that only when it bottomed out did he come back. He got involved in an anti-war rally at Cambridge, became kind of violent, and he felt himself caught up in the violence of the mob, and then he returned to Holy Cross well after midnight, went to the chapel where he had not prayed in a long time, and asked and prayed and said to God, ‘If you will take anger out of my heart, I’ll never hate again,’ and that was his beginning of his coming back to the church, back to his grandfather’s values, and through a series of other things, came to question liberal dogma and the radical ideas of his friends.”
Mansour recalled Thomas’s 1991 statement to then-Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) during the confirmation hearing. “Senator, I would have preferred an assassin’s bullet to this type of living hell that they have put me and my family through,” Thomas said.
Thomas also told then-Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE), who chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee at the time, “From my standpoint, as a black American, as far as I’m concerned, it is a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves, to do for themselves, to have different ideas, and it is a message that unless you kowtow to an old order, this is what will happen to you. You will be lynched, destroyed, caricatured, by a committee of the U.S. Senate rather than hung from a tree.”
UPI reported in 1991, “Thomas accused his opponents of ‘the most racist, bigoted stereotype that any black man will face’ by the charge that he discussed his own ‘sexual prowess’ and the ‘sexual organs’ of black men.”
Mansour said, “It was so amazing to watch those clips that you have of the hearing. … I got choked up,” adding, “They were willing to just use whatever they could against him and inject the most racist stereotypes about black men.” She noted Thomas’s observation that such attacks were directed at him not by Southern “good old boys” but by “liberal Democrats.”
“It didn’t stop with the hearings, right?” Pack replied, “They continued to attack him after. That’s another sort of thing about the Breitbart theory. When he won, his supporters stopped, but the left and the people who hated him continued.”
Breitbart News Tonight broadcasts live on SiriusXM Patriot channel 125 weeknights from 9:00 p.m. to midnight Eastern or 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Pacific.
Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter @rkraychik.