Paul  Weyrich

Saint Jack is at it again. The former United States Senator and Ambassador to the United Nations has published a book condemning the religious right. When he was a Senator John C. Danforth was known as Saint Jack, not as a term of endearment but of sarcasm. Danforth pretended to know everything. My only contact with him was during the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court confirmation debate. Thomas had worked for Danforth and Danforth was Thomas' staunchest ally in the Senate. Or was he?

After much debate, the Senate entered a unanimous consent agreement to vote on Thomas at a time certain. Meanwhile, the Senate was voting on the Family and Medical Leave Act. A cloture petition had been filed. If cloture were invoked it would make the Family and Medical Leave Act the pending business. Thus, the unanimous consent agreement would be out the window. The vote on cloture was so close that it came down to Danforth's vote. If he voted to invoke cloture the carefully negotiated unanimous consent agreement would be gone. One after the other his colleagues pleaded with him to stick with them and vote against cloture. The vote on the Thomas nomination would have been held on a Friday. The vote count seemed that Thomas would be approved by about 65 to 35. When confronted by the leadership of his own party Danforth told his colleagues that he simply disagreed. His stubbornness meant that the Thomas vote had to be postponed. Guess what? That next week, while the Thomas nomination was in limbo, one Anita F. Hill appeared on the scene and into history. She so damaged the reputation of Thomas that the effect of what Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) has called a pack of lies is still felt. All the evidence demonstrated Thomas' innocence. By the time the Senate did get around to voting, Thomas was approved by a slim 52 - 48 margin. Thanks, St. Jack.

Paul Weyrich

Paul M. Weyrich is the late Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Research and Education Foundation.
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