FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Ashcroft’s Traveling Patriot Show Not Winning Many Converts

by ELAINE CASSEL

According to a report in The Washington Post, support for the Patriot Act is waning in the country, including Idaho, where Ashcroft’s summer revival tour traveled this week. Idaho’s Rep. C.L. “Butch” Otter (R), is leading an effort in Congress to curtail the centerpiece of Ashcroft’s anti-terrorism strategy, the USA Patriot Act. Otter sponsored an amendment approved 309 to 118 by the House in July, which would cut off funding for “sneak-and-peek” warrants. Ashcroft calls this a “mistake,” and says that those who voted for the amendment “did not know what they were voting for.” Also voting yea was Sen. Larry E. Craig (R-Idaho), a former singing mate of Ashcroft’s in the senate quartet, who now is singing dissident chords about the law.

State representatives and city counsels in Idaho are making discordant noises, no doubt a reflection of a state in which people value their privacy and liked the Constitution the way it was before Ashcroft started playing it in another key.

New Harris Poll numbers indicate that less than 50 percent of those polled like the show’s star, and 40 percent disapprove of his performance. And as long as Ashcroft continues to hum the tune that those who would curtail the Patriot Act and not grant Ashcroft new powers are traitors, his popularity is likely to drop.

This is a country that, save for the Rove’s, Falwell’s, Robertson’s, and Ashcroft’s in it, believe in the right to dissent and debate. Ashcroft’s words that he “values debate” and does not want to silence it, is belied by his deputizing his US Attorneys to speak personally with dissident Congressional members and report back to him. Report what? They they disagree? To what end? That they can be prosecuted as national security risks?

“It’s pretty reckless to say that 309 members of Congress want to tip off terrorists,” said Otter, who noted that more than a third of the votes cast for his amendment came from Republicans. “Instead of hitting the campaign trail, the attorney general should be listening to the concerns that many Americans have about some portions of the act.”

ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero, whose group has helped organize many of the anti-Patriot Act resolutions approved in recent months by more than 150 municipalities and states, said Ashcroft is now “clearly on the defensive. He and the Justice Department have finally understood that there are large portions of the public raising questions about their policies on terrorism and the Patriot Act. The opposition is springing up all across the country.”

Some suggest that Bush’s handlers sent Ashcroft on the road to test the country’s tone about him and curtailment of civil liberties. If it flops in New Haven (or Idaho), Bush’s producers and directors can tweak the show and maybe even replace its star before it opens at the Republican convention next summer.

Ashcroft fancies himself a martyr and does not mind the criticism or low poll numbers. Rather, they are proof positive that “for every crucifixion, a resurrection is waiting to follow,” in the words he used to assuage himself after his loss to a dead man in the Missouri 2000 senate race. Father Bush, though, is not into self-sacrifice. He may sacrifice Brother John to the cross of political convenience in order to save his presidency from the tomb.

ELAINE CASSEL practices law in Virginia and the District of Columbia, teachers law and psychology, and follows the Bush regime’s dismantling of the Constitution at Civil Liberties Watch. She can be reached at: ecassel1@cox.net

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

March 28, 2017
Mike Whitney
Ending Syria’s Nightmare will Take Pressure From Below 
Mark Kernan
Memory Against Forgetting: the Resonance of Bloody Sunday
John McMurtry
Fake News: the Unravelling of US Empire From Within
Ron Jacobs
Mad Dog, Meet Eris, Queen of Strife
Michael J. Sainato
State Dept. Condemns Attacks on Russian Peaceful Protests, Ignores Those in America
Ted Rall
Five Things the Democrats Could Do to Save Their Party (But Probably Won’t)
Linn Washington Jr.
Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Hiring Practices: Privilege or Prejudice?
Philippe Marlière
Benoît Hamon, the Socialist Presidential Hopeful, is Good News for the French Left
Norman Pollack
Political Cannibalism: Eating America’s Vitals
Bruce Mastron
Obamacare? Trumpcare? Why Not Cubacare?
David Macaray
Hollywood Screen and TV Writers Call for Strike Vote
Christian Sorensen
We’ve Let Capitalism Kill the Planet
Rodolfo Acuna
What We Don’t Want to Know
Binoy Kampmark
The Futility of the Electronics Ban
Andrew Moss
Why ICE Raids Imperil Us All
March 27, 2017
Robert Hunziker
A Record-Setting Climate Going Bonkers
Frank Stricker
Why $15 an Hour Should be the Absolute Minimum Minimum Wage
Melvin Goodman
The Disappearance of Bipartisanship on the Intelligence Committees
Patrick Cockburn
ISIS’s Losses in Syria and Iraq Will Make It Difficult to Recruit
Russell Mokhiber
Single-Payer Bernie Morphs Into Public Option Dean
Gregory Barrett
Can Democracy Save Us?
Dave Lindorff
Budget Goes Military
John Heid
Disappeared on the Border: “Chase and Scatter” — to Death
Mark Weisbrot
The Troubling Financial Activities of an Ecuadorian Presidential Candidate
Robert Fisk
As ISIS’s Caliphate Shrinks, Syrian Anger Grows
Michael J. Sainato
Democratic Party Continues Shunning Popular Sanders Surrogates
Paul Bentley
Nazi Heritage: the Strange Saga of Chrystia Freeland’s Ukrainian Grandfather
Christopher Ketcham
Buddhism in the Storm
Thomas Barker
Platitudes in the Wake of London’s Terror Attack
Mike Hastie
Insane Truths: a Vietnam Vet on “Apocalypse Now, Redux”
Binoy Kampmark
Cyclone Watch in Australia
Weekend Edition
March 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump is Obama’s Legacy: Will this Break up the Democratic Party?
Eric Draitser
Donald Trump and the Triumph of White Identity Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nothing Was Delivered
Andrew Levine
Ryan’s Choice
Joshua Frank
Global Coal in Freefall, Tar Sands Development Drying Up (Bad News for Keystone XL)
Anthony DiMaggio
Ditching the “Deep State”: The Rise of a New Conspiracy Theory in American Politics
Rob Urie
Boris and Natasha Visit Fantasy Island
John Wight
London and the Dreary Ritual of Terrorist Attacks
Paul Buhle
The CIA and the Intellectuals…Again
David Rosen
Why Did Trump Target Transgender Youth?
Vijay Prashad
Inventing Enemies
Ben Debney
Outrage From the Imperial Playbook
M. Shadee Malaklou
An Open Letter to Duke University’s Class of 2007, About Your Open Letter to Stephen Miller
Michael J. Sainato
Bernie Sanders’ Economic Advisor Shreds Trumponomics
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail