If that means maligning a good man like Ronnie White for personal political gain, Sen. Morality doesn't bat an eye. Just smiles for the cameras and blathers about "liberals."

Never mind about White's qualifications, about his experience as a public defender, a private-sector lawyer, a thrice-elected state legislator, a city counselor (for St. Louis), an appeals-court judge and a Supreme Court judge. Never mind that as a legislator, White was so independent that he quit the Black Caucus because he felt dictated to and that he publicly sparred with Rep. William Clay.

Just lump him with the other liberals, right, Senator?

Well, fine. Here's one for you.

On the occasion of his being named to the Missouri Supreme Court, the late great Rep. Sue Shear recalled how White had stood up for urban concerns, including her prized bill to keep guns out of the hands of children.

What did she think of White?

"On a scale of one to 10, he'd be a 10," Shear said.

That's at least 11 better than Ashcroft.

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