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:
January 17, 2018
Seiji Yamada
Prevention is the Only Solution: a Hiroshima Native’s View of Nuclear Weapons
Chris Welzenbach
Force of Evil: Abraham Polonsky and Anti-Capitalist Noir
Thomas Klikauer
The Business of Bullshit
Howard Lisnoff
The Atomized and Siloed U.S. Left
Martha Rosenberg
How Big Pharma Infiltrated the Boston Museum of Science
George Wuerthner
The Collaboration Trap
David Swanson
Removing Trump Will Require New Activists
Michael McKinley
Australia and the Wars of the Alliance: United States Strategy
Binoy Kampmark
Macron in China
Cesar Chelala
The Distractor-in-Chief
Ted Rall
Why Trump is Right About Newspaper Libel Laws
Mary Serumaga
Corruption in Uganda: Minister Sam Kutesa and Company May Yet Survive Their Latest Scandal
January 16, 2018
Mark Schuller
What is a “Shithole Country” and Why is Trump So Obsessed With Haiti?
Paul Street
Notes From a “Shithole” Superpower
Louisa Willcox
Keeper of the Flame for Wilderness: Stewart “Brandy” Brandborg
Mike Whitney
Trump’s Sinister Plan to Kill the Iranian “Nukes” Deal
Franklin Lamb
Kafkaesque Impediments to Challenging Iran’s Theocracy
Norman Solomon
Why Senator Cardin is a Fitting Opponent for Chelsea Manning
Fred Gardner
GI Coffeehouses Recalled: a Compliment From General Westmoreland
Brian Terrell
Solidarity from Central Cellblock to Guantanamo
Don Fitz
Bondage Scandal: Looking Beneath the Surface
Rob Seimetz
#Resist Co-opting “Shithole”
Ted Rall
Trump Isn’t Unique
January 15, 2018
Rob Urie
Democrats and the End(s) of Politics
Paul Tritschler
Killing Floor: the Business of Animal Slaughter
Mike Garrity
In Targeting the Lynx, the Trump Administration Defies Facts, Law, and Science Once Again
Thomas Hon Wing Polin
Hong Kong Politics: a Never-Ending Farce
Uri Avnery
Bibi’s Son (Or Three Men in a Car)
Dave Lindorff
Yesterday’s ‘Shithole Countries’ Can Become Classy Places Donald, and Vice Versa
Jeff Mackler
Lesser Evil Politics in Alabama
Jonah Raskin
Typewriters Still Smoking? An Interview with Underground Press Maven John McMillan
Jose-Antonio Orosco
Trump’s Comments Recall a Racist Past in Immigration Policy
David Macaray
Everything Seems to Be Going South
Kathy Kelly
41 Hearts Beating in Guantanamo
Weekend Edition
January 12, 2018
Friday - Sunday
George Burchett
Wormwood and a Shocking Secret of War: How Errol Morris Vindicated My Father, Wilfred Burchett
Roberto J. González
Starting Them Young: Is Facebook Hooking Children on Social Media?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Between the Null and the Void
Andrew Levine
Trump After Bannon: What Next?
John Davis
Mud-Slide
Ajamu Baraka
The Responsibility to Protect the World … from the United States
Robert Hunziker
Global Warming Stirs the Methane Monster
Paul Street
Lazy Liberals and “the Trump Effect”
Carmen Rodriguez
Trump’s Attack on Salvadoran Migrants
Mike Whitney
Oprah for President, Really?
Francisco Cabanillas
The Hurricane After Maria
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail