20 Years After Anita Hill, GOP Voters Shrug at Harassment

More

Did Justice Clarence Thomas's high-profile confirmation hearings desensitize Americans to inappropriate behavior in the workplace?

Anita Hill - AP Photo:Greg Gibson - banner.jpg

Scores of interviews with Iowa Republicans over the weekend turned up scant outrage over the sexual harassment allegations leveled against presidential candidate Herman Cain. That's partly because of the good will he's engendered among voters, and partly because of a widespread mistrust of the media, which has been extensively airing the allegations.

But there's another reason Cain may escape condemnation. Twenty years after Anita Hill accused Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment at his confirmation hearings, searing the issue into the national consciousness and spawning an untold number of workplace seminars, the issue generates little shock value.

"Sometimes I think, so what's new?'' asked Joy Corning, a former lieutenant governor in Iowa. "How many politicians do we know that have good moral standing? Moral character is important to me, but there have been a lot of disappointments in both parties.''

Corning hasn't picked a candidate yet, Lois Wignall, a retiree from Altoona, was wearing a Cain pin at the state Republican party dinner Friday and said she has no plans to take it off.

"What may seem harassment to one person may not be to me,'' she said. Asked if being invited to a hotel room constituted harassment, she said, "You can say no. You don't have to go.''

Image credit: Greg Gibson/AP

Jump to comments
Presented by

Beth Reinhard is a political correspondent for National Journal.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to a Seaside Town in Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Where the Wild Things Go

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Adults Need Playtime Too

When was the last time you played your favorite childhood game?

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Politics

Just In