2004 November 10 Wednesday
George W. Bush Gets Rid Of John Ashcroft

Ashcroft thinks he was used by Bush to placate religious conservatives.

Ashcroft, 62, has been one of the most controversial and influential figures of Bush's first term. Ashcroft provided reliable fodder for Democrats on the campaign trail and served as a visible representative of the evangelical Christians who played a crucial role in reelecting the president.


A longtime friend of Ashcroft's expressed bitterness that the White House had originally welcomed him as a lightning rod who drew criticism away from Bush, then decided not to stand by him. "He was something to offer to evangelicals," said the friend, who declined to be identified. "They used him, and now they're done with him and he's being tossed aside."

Bush wanted Ashcroft out.

In addition, he never developed a close relationship with Mr. Bush and annoyed some members of the White House staff who thought he was at times a grandstander who was overtly politicizing the Justice Department. One Republican close to the White House said on Tuesday night that Mr. Ashcroft had gotten a "strong signal" from the administration that his resignation would be accepted.

The White House turned down Ashcroft's offer to stay longer.

Sources said Ashcroft submitted his handwritten, five-page resignation letter before Election Day but was "energized" after Bush's victory and told the White House through his aides he was willing to stay on indefinitely as the nation's top cop.

The White House said no. Ashcroft will remain in office only until his successor is chosen.

White House counsel and George W. Bush Texas chum Alberto Gonzales has been chosen to replace Ashcroft at DOJ. Gonzales was the person who rewrote and gutted DOJ Solicitor General Theodore Olson's briefs opposing racial preferences in the Supreme Court University of Michigan cases Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz and Hamacher v. Bollinger. Theodore Olson almost resigned over Bush's abandonment of the conservative base's firm opposition to racial preferences. Now Gonzales is going to be Olson's boss - unless Olson resigns.

The appointment of Gonzales as Attorney General comes at an unfortunate time for the recent victory of Arizona Proposition 200 aimed at preventing non-citizens from voting and at preventing illegal aliens from getting various forms of welfare and other state services. Gonzales may well decide to use the power given to DOJ by the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to disapprove Prop. 200.

Even though passed by a clear majority of Arizona voters, there is a possibility that the Arizona Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act will never become law.

Any law that affects voter's rights must be approved by the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice to ensure it conforms to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Conservatives can expect bad decisions from the Bush Administration when issues involve immigration or racial preferences. My guess is that Gonzales will be worse than Ashcroft on both issues. But on the bright side at least Gonzales' appointment as AG reduces the chances he will be put on the Supreme Court.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2004 November 10 03:26 PM  Politics American Domestic

john d. said at November 10, 2004 3:51 PM:

"Any law that affects voter's rights must be approved by the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice to ensure it conforms to the Voting Rights Act of 1965."

I suppose it would be fruitless to point out to anyone in the Justice Dept. that illegal aliens don't even have voting rights. Maybe that's discrimatory and illegals should seek redress for that too under the Voting Right's Act!

birch barlow said at November 10, 2004 6:40 PM:

Yeah, but the problem is that the DOJ could argue that requiring proof of citizenship intimidates legal Hispanics and other minorities from voting (a very lame, very leftist argument, but I think one that has passed muster before--in fact, I think this was one of the opponents' agruments against I-200).

BTW, it's amazing that in the first week after his election, Bush has pushed his amnesty plan (again!) and put in a big supporter of racial preferences and open borders for attorney general. I think Bush is a real True Believer in postmodernism and multiculturalism, which is even worse than a sleazy politician trying to buy votes (though I think Bush has a lot of the latter in him too).

Steve Sailer said at November 10, 2004 7:03 PM:

The first week post-election has been devoted to Invade-the-World / Invite-the-World.

Derek Copold said at November 10, 2004 7:17 PM:

I was hoping (apparently against all reason) that things might get better, but they sure don't look like it now. Conservatives should have let this guy fall. We would have had a rock solid Congress to hold back Kerry, and then in 2008, we would have had a better chance to elect a serious conservative.

Roger Chaillet said at November 10, 2004 7:38 PM:

Derek, Derek, Derek! There are so of us, specifically me, who have opposed Bush, the first Mexican in the Oval Office, for a long, long time. I said what you just posted, but some time ago on Richard Poe's site. You can look it up.

Bush should have been impeached over his totalization agreement with Mexico, much less his phony war for the Likud Party.

But don't worry, he's already squandered his "mandate." Now the whole of the country now knows what I discovered some time ago: that he is a fraud, a pathological liar, a crony capitalist, an elitist, and someone concerned solely about his family and his corrupt friends.

lindenen said at November 10, 2004 8:35 PM:

"But on the bright side at least Gonzales' appointment as AG reduces the chances he will be put on the Supreme Court."

Haha I recently read an argument that Bush is nominating Gonzales so that he'll go through the nomination process and all issues with him and his relationship to some terror memos will be thoroughly explored. Then sometime after June Bush'll be able to nominate him to the SC and argue for an expedited approval because afterall they just confirmed him for AG and those issues have already been explored. I forget where I read this. Their argument was far more eloquent than mine.

lindenen said at November 10, 2004 8:38 PM:

The Democrats are idiots if they don't chomp at the anti-immigration anti-illegal alien bit to beat Bush over the head with and undermine his base.

Derek Copold said at November 11, 2004 6:32 AM:


As Randall can no doubt attest, I was pulling for a Bush loss well before election day, and I voted for Michael Peroutka. Had I been in a "purple" state like Ohio, I might have even voted for Kerry. My short period of optimism was more due to GOP gains in the Senate and House. Indeed, the Congress may yet prove worthy of that optimism, but I'm not holding my breath.

Roger Chaillet said at November 11, 2004 6:55 AM:

Derek, I voted straight Republican, other than Peroutka.

BTW, the Republican Party sent me three postcards in the week prior to the election, admonishing me to vote straight Republican.

They obviously were concerned about folks straying from the fold.

Luke Lea said at November 11, 2004 7:24 AM:

Imagine a new political party with the following platform. Critiques welcome.

1. Progressive consumption tax and wage subsidies to protect American workers from the ravages of free trade (as an alternative to protective tariffs).

2. Immigration Moratorium. A 20 year halt to immigration, to give America time to assimilate the 32 million foreign born citizens who are already in this country. Also, build a security fence on the Mexican border to keep illegals out.

3. An amendment to the Constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman, thus eliminating gay marriage and polygamy as legal forms of the family.

4. A constitutional amendment to end affirmative action in all federal and state institutions, as well as in all private institutions that receive federal and state dollars.

5. An end to secret bank accounts around the world, as a necessary step to curb terrorism, drug cartels, and tax evasion by the wealthy.

6. A 20 hour week with time and a half for overtime, as a way to give parents time to be with their families, and to ease the burden of working beyond age 65..

7. A new homestead act to allow families to move from big cities to small towns, where they can re-constitute the three-generation form of the family, in which parents help take care of their parents and grandchildren, as an alternative to nursing homes and daycare.

8. A $5000 federal voucher for every child of school age, to allow them to attend the school of their choice.

Derek Copold said at November 11, 2004 9:33 AM:

Well, Luke, I can only really agree with #2. The rest are either economcially delusional (a 20-hour work week) or something that should be handled by the states, i.e., affirmative action and "gay marriage."

Randall Parker said at November 11, 2004 11:07 AM:

Luke, Limitations on the number of hours worked would cause a huge reduction in per capita income and make our old age finance crisis immense. In fact, when I have time to do some research I'm going to do a post arguing that tax rises can not solve the old age finance crisis because tax rises will reduce hours worked per year down to European levels with a corresponding decrease in output and of tax revenues.

If we built a wall with Mexico and deported all the illegals that would drive up wages at the bottom. That is the most pro-poor people change in policy that could be done.

As for affirmative action: I want a formal recognition of the right to free association. Racial preference rules enforced on private industry amount to a restriction on the right to free association.

Luke Lea said at November 11, 2004 11:14 AM:

Well, yes, a 20 hour week is delusional in the sense that few working class families in urban areas could live on it, and even fewer employers could live with it in the short term. So I guess what might happen is that most employers would reduce their employees nominal hourly wage rate in such a way as to leave their total 40 hour paycheck the same as now. Gradually, however, as workers maneuvered to get in situations where they could live on a 20 hour workweek -- outside the metropolitan areas, e.g., where the cost of real estate is much lower, and where they could arrange to do things for themselves that they pay others to do for them, such as daycare, or cooking and eating at home -- they might be able to afford it. Meanwhile, employers in certain industries, manufacturing for example, might find that plants manned with, say, 4 hour shifts, can run faster and more efficiently -- just as sprinters can run faster than long-distance runners. Even if they pay workers proportionally to their new hourly output, factories would be more profitable because a given investment in plant and equipment would result in more units of output (even though unit labor costs remain the same). So, provided workers are willing to work this way, they might find that it is in their interests too.

As for gay marriage and affirmative action being matters for the state and not the federal government: well, that might be ideal, but in the real world you have got to win elections against Republicans who use these issues in just this way. And what is the harm if these two items do get written into the Constitution? Not much, that I can see.

birch barlow said at November 11, 2004 1:32 PM:

Jeez. I can't believe Rush Limbaugh called George W. Bush "unequivocally conservative." That's absolutely insane.

Proborders said at November 12, 2004 12:10 PM:

Joseph Farah's "Meet Alberto Gonzales" is posted here.

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