John Ashcroft

It's the Technocratic Arrogance, Stupid

Obama isn't Bush or Nixon. He's in hot water for behaving too much like Woodrow Wilson.

Obama isn't Bush or Nixon. He's in hot water for behaving too much like Woodrow Wilson.

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During the Bush years, a fellow at the Kennedy School of Government was writing a book called Savin’ it! on abstinence education in the public schools. As part of his research, he contacted then-Attorney General John Ashcroft with a request for personal testimony.

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Angler: The Cheney Vice PresidencyBy Barton Gellman (Penguin Press, 384 pp., $27.95) As Americans prepare to choose a new president, it may seem a curious exercise to rehearse the manifest failures of the current one. But either Barack Obama or John McCain is going to be stuck with the burdensome legacy of the Bush years, and the rest of us will be too--possibly for a long time. The war in Iraq is still with us. So are Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan. The Wall Street cataclysm will ramify, locally and globally, for many months, perhaps years.

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Very strange testimony yesterday from John Ashcroft before the House Judiciary Committee. According to various reports that have come out since his departure from the Justice Department, Ashcroft was decidedly uncomfortable with--and flat-out opposed to--some of the more dubious aspects of the Bush administration's war on terror. For instance, during a 2002 White House meeting to discuss harsh interrogation practices of terror suspects, ABC News has reported: Then-Attorney General Ashcroft was troubled by the discussions.

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When I came to Washington from Baltimore in 1974, I had reason to be interested in a profound question: Do Republicans make better poker players than Democrats? My $15,000 salary at the Baltimore Sun remained unchanged, but the mortgage on my new house was four times the old one. So my Friday night game, which often lasted until 6 a.m., became a matter of survival. Seven years later, I moved over to The Washington Post with a modestly improved salary, a second mortgage, brutal tuition bills, and a higher-stakes poker game.

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Not in the Heavens

WITNESSING THEIR FAITH: RELIGIOUS INFLUENCE ON SUPREME COURT JUSTICES AND THEIR OPINIONS By Jay Alan Sekulow(Rowman & Littlefield, 349 pp., $27.95) I.   THE CONFIRMATION OF JUSTICE Samuel Alito brings to five the number of Catholics on the Supreme Court of the United States. All Americans can be proud of this fact, or more precisely, proud of the fact that Alito’s religious affiliation never became an issue during his confirmation process.

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Low Clearance

In January 2006, a court in Northern Virginia will hear a case in which, for the first time, the federal government has charged two private citizens with leaking state secrets. CBS News first reported the highly classified investigation that led to this prosecution on the eve of the Republican National Convention. On August 27, 2004, Lesley Stahl told her viewers that, in a "full-fledged espionage investigation," the FBI would soon "roll up" a "suspected mole" who had funneled Pentagon policy deliberations concerning Iran to Israel.

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A Fighting Faith

On January 4, 1947, 130 men and women met at Washington's Willard Hotel to save American liberalism. A few months earlier, in articles in The New Republic and elsewhere, the columnists Joseph and Stewart Alsop had warned that "the liberal movement is now engaged in sowing the seeds of its own destruction." Liberals, they argued, "consistently avoided the great political reality of the present: the Soviet challenge to the West." Unless that changed, "In the spasm of terror which will seize this country ...

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Notebook

  JOHN ASHCROFT, RIGHT ON TIME … BILL FRIST: NO BUDGET? THAT'S FINE? AND ON THE SEVENTH DAY … “Conservatives can still learn from his example." "He made us face up to present dangers." "He was the father of the new space age." "We are living in his world." "His leadership of the coalition made the difference." "He led an intellectual revolution, too." "He made principles easily accessible." "He linked economic growth with strength overseas." "He would have been the right man at any time." --A sampling of article teasers from National Review Online's remembrance of Ronald Reagan.

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All Too Human

SINCE THE ABU GHRAIB catastrophe broke two weeks ago, Bush officials have struck many of the right notes. But they have struck one wrong one over and over. “This is not America,” President Bush told the Arabic-language network Al Hurra. “This is not who American servicemen are,” added Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. Said national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, in an interview with Al Arabiya, “Americans do not do this to other people.” But, of course, Americans did do to this to other people—that’s why Rice was on Arabic television.

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