When John Ashcroft was thirteen, he bicycled up to the local Dairy Queen in Springfield, Missouri and asked if there was any work he could do for the place. The owner told him he could clean up the parking lot, and Ashcroft did so willingly. The DQ owner ended up hiring him, and Ashcroft worked at the franchise for quite a while. They remained good friends, and while Ashcroft was the governor of Missouri, the DQ owner presented him with a soft-serve ice cream freezer as a gift, for old times' sake. To this day, an autographed glossy of Ashcroft hangs in a respected place in that Dairy Queen, right up the street from me.

A career politician who has run more than once on the tag of outsider. Has also pushed for term limits while in office and then run for re-election for the same office.
A proud member of the Christian Coaltion, he considers anyone more liberal than Jesse Helms to be a radical.

In reference to the node above this one, Mr.Ashcroft's career should have ended right there in that little red and white restaurant.
Look up in the dictionary under:
What is wrong with American's politics.

From a news release from People For The American Way, discussing a report they created called The Case Against the Confirmation of John Ashcroft as Attorney General of the United States: Part One - An Overview of the Senate Years.


The criticisms leveled at Ashcroft in the report include:

John Ashcroft (1942-) is a long-time Republican politician from Missouri. President-Elect George Bush (it's about time to drop the "W.") recently nominated him for the Cabinet post of Attorney General, and liberal backlash began almost immediately. The Senate has yet to confirm his nomination, so if you care at all about politics, you owe it to yourself to learn a little about this guy -- his name's already all over the news, and it's only just begun, folks.

Ashcroft graduated with honors from Yale in 1964, and went on to study at the University of Chicago Law School, where he and his wife Janet received their law degrees in 1967. After teaching business law at Southwest Missouri State University in Springfield for several years, Ashcroft entered public service, first as Missouri Auditor and then as Missouri Attorney General. In 1984 he became Missouri's 50th governor, and was re-elected in a landslide in 1988. He also served as both president of the National Association of Attorneys General and chairman of the National Governor's Association during his terms in those respective seats.

Ashcroft was elected to the United States Senate in 1994, carrying every Missouri county in the process. He quickly emerged as one of the most conservative members of that legislative body. Most recently, he battled Mel Carnahan in a 2000 attempt to keep his Senate seat. He was leading the vicious race when Carnahan suddenly perished in a Jefferson County plane crash. After the tragedy, Ashcroft temporarily halted his campaigning out of respect for Carnahan's family and friends. He later renewed his campaign in a very subdued manner. The Democratic Party decided to stay with Carnahan as their candidate, with the implication that the Democratic governor would appoint Carnahan's wife to the seat. Bolstered by public sympathy for Carnahan as well as national attention, the Democrats were able to tighten the election and emerge victorious in a close race. The election was questionable on several grounds (legality of electing a dead man, polls in St. Louis staying open late, etc.), but clearly Ashcroft could not contest the result because of the circumstances.

As stated earlier, Ashcroft is now the most controversal nominee in George Bush's potential Cabinet. Ashcroft is anti-abortion, pro-death penalty and extremely religious. (His Pentecostal faith even forbids dancing, though he's a tolerable singer). The first and third of those ideological facts are the true source of the opposition to Ashcroft's nomination. But unfortunately, what is getting the most face time on the airwaves is Ashcroft's alleged racial bias. Yet this is an argument against that which does not exist.

The backbone of the argument is that Ashcroft's opposition to the elevation of judge Ronnie White to federal court was racially motivated. If Ashcroft truly fears black judges, one would have to wonder why, as governor of Missouri, he appointed eight African-Americans to state judicial positions. This is even more interesting because non-partisan judicial nominating commissions, not the governors, are in charge of nominating Missouri judges. Each time he appointed, Ashcroft had three judges, from which he had to choose one. Whenever a black candidate was among the three, Ashcroft chose the African-American over the whites every time but once.

One would have to wonder why Ashcroft appointed the first African-American to be named to a Missouri Court of Appeals. One would have to wonder why Ashcroft appointed the first African-American named to the St. Louis County Circuit Court. One would have to wonder why, as a member of the U.S. Senate, Ashcroft voted in favor of 26 of the 28 African-American judges nominated by President Clinton. One would have to wonder why African-American judge Jimmie Edwards was appointed to three different posts by Ashcroft, despite being a liberal Democrat politically opposed to Ashcroft. Edwards maintains that Ashcroft "did not have a litmus test. He did not ask me if I was pro-life or pro-death penalty."

I could go on and on, but I think even a cursory glance at Ashcroft's judge-appointing record disproves the alleged racial bias. That would save me much space; please look it up for yourself if you think I misrepresent fact.

The other arguments against Ashcroft are on purely ideological ground. They say nothing about his competence, qualifications, or integrity. Yes, Ashcroft is very pro-life. But is there a requirement for Attorneys General to be pro-choice? Here we have abortion-rights advocates applying the same litmus test they bemoan! What harm would a pro-life Attorney General cause to the country? Would he look the other way on clinic bombings? Would he wave a magic wand and make abortion illegal? There is a entire legislative process for that! What is the threat? If being opposed to women's reproductive rights (and for a fetus' right to live) is "extremist", then I guess I too hold beliefs too out-of-touch to be Attorney General.

Ashcroft is against racially-based affirmative action. This does not mean he is a racist. This means he is a conservative. Despite the Democratic attempts to equate the two terms, this is an important distinction.

The final few of the arguments listed in the writeup above this one are nothing more than misrepresenations that simple investigations would clear up; summing up bills in single sentences is usually an indication of intent to deceive the reader. Ashcroft is indeed supported by the National Rifle Association and the Christian Coalition, as are many conservatives. These oranizations are only included to link Ashcroft with organizations which Democrats have already successfully demonized, in an attempt to demonize him.

I was skeptical of Ashcroft myself, but the more I read of the man, the more I liked him. I do not agree with all or even many of his views, and I certainly do not share his Christian beliefs, but I recognize that he is a fair man, and one of impeccable integrity. He has many conservative views, yes, but so does the president that was elected. To not confirm this very capable nominee would be a loss for the United States of America. I humbly yet half-kiddingly suggest that the fear of Ashcroft within the Democratic establishment is solidly based in the fear of what he might find in the files of the department he takes over.

As I suspect most noders use the internet frequently and/or are geeks, I think listening to where he stands on privacy might be a good idea before forming an opinion on Ashcroft.

(Note: These points came from a Salon.com article posted on 1/5/2001, titled "Is John Ashcroft A Geek's Best Friend?" by Damien Cave.)

"The key issue is privacy -- one of the Net's most volatile hot buttons. Ashcroft 'was one of the guys that got it,' says Alan Davidson, who has worked with Ashcroft as staff counsel at the Center for Democracy and Technology, an online civil liberties nonprofit. 'He realized that it wasn't worth sacrificing the privacy of everyone online just to catch a few bad guys.'

"How exactly did a man like Ashcroft win praise from civil libertarians? By taking a surprisingly progressive point of view on the issue of encryption, say observers."

"Then, in 1997, he introduced the E-Privacy Act... Ashcroft's bill aimed to do more than just loosen the reins on encryption. It also made it harder for the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to spy on American citizens. Surveillance laws were amended under the bill, allowing cellphone carriers, for example, to keep customers' location information private unless a court order found that there was 'probable cause to believe that an individual using or possessing the subscriber equipment is committing, has committed, or is about to commit a felony offense.' ISPs were given similar protections."

However, I am un-nerved by the fact that he did vote for Child Online Protection Act and the Communications Decency Act; but maybe the privacy advocate part of him is more important because when push comes to shove the first amendment kills laws like COPA and the CDA anyway.

A front page article of Sunday January 7, 2001's New York Times describes how Ashcroft anionts himself with cooking oil in the tradition of the great old-testament biblical kings after he is elected to a public post. Yes, that's right. He anoints himself with oil.

Now, regardless of policy, if it's not enough to just scare the living Jesus (heh) out of you that the chief law enforcement officer in the most powerful nation in the world covers himself in cooking oil to celebrate, then, well, you're probably a member of the Christian Coalition. This little nugget of strangeness is enough for me to disapprove of Dubya's first choice for Attorney General, even if I did agree with draconian abortion policy and theocracy.

Special thanks to novalis for the link to the article and the correction about the type of king: http://partners.nytimes.com/2001/01/07/politics/07ASHC.html

Here's an oft-quoted tidbit from Southern Partisan magazine right from the horse's mouth:

"Your magazine also helps set the record straight. You've got a heritage of doing that, of defending Southern patriots like Lee, Jackson and Davis. Traditionalists must do more. I've got to do more. We've all got to stand up and speak in this respect, or else we'll be taught that these people were giving their lives, subscribing their sacred fortunes and their honor to some perverted agenda."

In other words, John Ashcroft is one of those "The Civil War wasn't about slavery! It was about states' rights (to continue the abominable practice of slavery because otherwise we'll have to have an actual legitimate economy and that will change our insanely easy {to white people} way of living)!" types. He's willing to stick his neck out to defend "Southern Patriots," yet just recently he played a huge role in overturning Oregon's assisted suicide law (doctors who are known to participate in euthanasia are to be denied the ability to prescribe federally controlled drugs, making them in effect, powerless). And now, he's sending the DEA in full force to render California's 1996 medical marijuana initiative entirely useless.

States' rights, huh? So, states should be able to decide whether or not to subordinate and viciously abuse an entire "category" of people (and then peacefully secede from the rest of the nation without a fight), but don't even think about letting their cancer patients peacefully commit suicide with the aid of a doctor, or smoke a joint (to those of you who don't know, the only thing close to marijuana in stimulating hunger is megace, a nasty synthetic form of progesterone hormone with a list of side effects too multitudinous and tangential to list here). Ashcroft is a staunch defender of the tobacco industry. In favor of cigarette manufacturers, he is quoted with saying "People should be allowed to make bad choices." Yet he's also one of the biggest "drug warriors" in American politics. Figures.

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