You could be forgiven for thinking we’re living in the bad old days of the early '90s again. Ever since Christine Blasey Ford came forward with allegations that Judge Brett Kavanaugh tried to rape her at a party, conservative news outlets have been giving her the full Anita Hill treatment. Activists and movement conservatives, desperate for any hint of personal information about her, are trying—and failing—to paint Blasey Ford as a villain.
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Borking: Way back in 1987, Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) rushed to the Senate floor the moment news of the nomination was at hand and gave a stemwinder of a speech labeled “Robert Bork's America” that blasted the Republican jurist for wanting an America “in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters,” among other backward-looking visions. The practice of defining a Supreme Court nominee in negative terms before the public gets to know them, dubbed “Borking,” has since become an infamous practice and a long-held grudge for Republicans. But while “Borking” is a well-known phenomenon in American politics, the version applied to nominees’ accusers isn’t often acknowledged. Just ask Anita Hill.