John Ashcroft is the most qualified nominee for attorney general ever presented to the Senate. His career is distinguished by the quality of his leadership, integrity and dedication to service. Ashcroft is conservative but not reactionary.
While liberals may disagree with Ashcroft’s stances, it is irresponsible to assault Ashcroft’s record as Drew Holland did in Tuesday’s Hatchet (“Senate should deny Ashcroft position,” Jan. 16, p. 5).
While Missouri’s governor, Ashcroft signed the state’s first hate crimes law. He appointed several black judges. He authorized a state holiday to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. As a senator, Ashcroft co-sponsored the Violence Against Women Act. He voted in favor of 26 of 28 black judicial nominations made by President Bill Clinton. This is the real Ashcroft record.
The opposition to Ashcroft’s nomination is the opening salvo in a liberal attack on the incoming Bush administration. Holland employs this thinking as he glossed over the substance of Ashcroft’s record to attack President-elect Bush’s nomination of a conservative.
The one nugget of reality in Holland’s column is his statement that conservatives believe the Justice Department under Janet Reno was mismanaged. During Reno’s tenure, we saw the botched raid at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas. We watched a man and his family die at Ruby Ridge as federal agents attempted to arrest him for not paying his taxes. And Elian Gonzalez was taken from a Miami home by federal agents.
In nominating Ashcroft, Bush selected an experienced man to lead the Justice Department out of nearly a decade of mismanagement. Bush is not acting “like a man with a mandate.” He is acting like the president. He has been unafraid to make tough choices. I believe it is these qualities of Bush that are inspiring the fierce attack on Ashcroft.
-The writer is a student in the five year BA/MA program for political science.