You may recall ("Is John Ashcroft a Racist, or Does He Just Play One on TV?, RFT, Oct. 13) that while testing the presidential waters, Ashcroft said the following in a lengthy interview with a Confederacy-promoting magazine called Southern Partisan:
"You've got a heritage of defending Southern patriots like Lee, Jackson and Davis. Traditionalists must do more. I've got to do more. We've all got to stand up and speak in this respect, or else we'll be taught that these people were giving their lives, subscribing their sacred fortunes and their honor to some perverted agenda."
Now Ashcroft can talk like that in places like South Carolina or even in Bush's home state of Texas. But those words would never come from George W., a man who prides himself on unusually high support from blacks, Hispanics and other minorities.
Then again, it's Ashcroft -- not Bush -- who gained national notoriety for his political lynching of Judge Ronnie White, the first African-American to sit on the Missouri Supreme Court. Ashcroft used lies and distortions to make White the first nominee to be rejected for a federal judgeship by the U.S. Senate in more than a decade.
Lots of folks in Missouri suspect that Ashcroft is just a bit racially challenged. Just the way folks in South wonder about just how socially conservative that Bush fellow really is.
So don't be surprised if the W. comes to our state to bear witness to Ashcroft's moderate bonafides.