Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Am I crazy to worry that John Ashcroft is quitting so he can run for president in '08?

“The objective of securing the safety of Americans from crime and terror has been achieved,” Ashcroft wrote in a five-page handwritten letter to Bush, adding that he believed that the Justice Department “would be well served by new leadership and fresh inspiration” and that “my energies and talents should be directed toward other challenging horizons.”

(Emphasis mine.)

He did consider running for president in 2000. He's a lot better known now, of course and you can imagine that he might think those evangelical votes are ripe for the picking.

By the way, the MSNBC story (the first link above) notes that

Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani had also been on some lists of possible replacements, but he issued a statement saying he “remains committed to sustaining the ongoing success of Giuliani Partners,” his consulting group.

I think that's good news and bad news. It's good news because Giuliani has the potential to make us all nostalgic for John Ashcroft -- he's no fan of civil liberties or due process when either of those things conflicts with his goals or prejudices, and it's not clear how far he'd go dealing with right-centrist America rather than liberal NYC. It's bad news, though, because a few years on the job could have tarnished Giuliani's luster -- and I think he has a very good chance to become president if he can get through the GOP primaries. (If he's not holding office, it'll be a lot easier for him to disappear for a few weeks and reemerge, well before the primaries, claiming a new appreciation of the Catholic faith, especially the parts abortion, homosexuality, and stem-cell research.)

Red staters love Giuliani -- as this recent profile of him shows. And so do Northeast Corridor media elitists. Even if he runs to the right, he'll be fawned over by The New York Times and the three major networks. He can win New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, and all of Bush's red states. Be afraid. Be very afraid.


But back to Ashcroft: Have you seen his resignation letter? I guess a little flattery of the president is de rigueur in these letters (even Richard Clarke said a couple of nice things about Bush), but Ashcroft's reads like something you'd write to Kim Jong Il:

Dear Mr. President:

Nothing in my life compares to the high honor of serving America as Attorney General in your administration....

Under your "Project Safe Neighborhoods" the number of gun crimes has fallen to its lowest level in modern history....

Corporate integrity has been restored with the work of your Corporate Fraud Task Force....

Thank you for your leadership which has made these and many other justice-related achievements possible.

I am grateful to you for the profound honor of serving under your clear, principled leadership.

May God continue to bless, guide, and direct you and your family as you lead America forward in freedom.

Donald Evans also laid it on with a trowel:

Your leadership inspired our nation and the world to reach higher and to try harder to achieve goals beyond conventional expectations. While the United States will always face challenges, your stewardship of the highest office in the land has renewed the values and optimistic spirit that so characterize the American people as they turn challenges into opportunities in the 21st century.

... I thank you for your clarity of purpose, your determination that we exercise our great responsibility to lead for the common good, and to leave this world better than we found it.

... the promise of your second term shines bright...

Enough, peasant! Arise! You are free to go!

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