It’s probably true that if Clarence Thomas had not been appointed, the FBI memo would not have been leaked. But it was leaked, it made the news, and it was a subject of great interest (says something about our society when Thomas’s bizarre interpretation of “natural law” elicits scarcely a yawn, but anything having to do with sex makes all the front pages).
Whether or not Hill’s accusations were justified is irrelevant. Whatever phone calls she made to Thomas is irrelevant. The Senate was charged with vetting this guy for the Supreme Court. Allegations of sexual harassment were on the table, and the Senators didn’t put them there. They had an obligation to pursue that issue, and they did. Both Hill and Thomas had their say. This is not “dirty politics”. This is acting responsibly when reviewing a SCOTUS appointee. I would fully expect that if some female staffer of Merrick Garland’s had accused him of inappropriate behavior, and this had become public knowledge, that the Senate would address this issue during the Garland hearings. Oh wait — there weren’t any Garland hearings, were there?