- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 13, 2001

Noble: Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott for standing by Attorney General-designate John Ashcroft.

After Labor Secretary-designate Linda Chavez had been knee-capped into submission by union boss John Sweeny (see below), Mr. Lott could have further handicapped President-elect George W. Bush by wheeling away from the Ashcroft nomination.

Instead, the day after Mrs. Chavez withdrew, Mr. Lott told reporters, "A concerted effort to 'Bork' John Ashcroft would not be well-received." In response to liberal fears that Mr. Ashcroft's religious beliefs are so extreme that he would only be lenient toward the "right" people, Mr. Lott said, "He (Mr. Ashcroft) is a man who feels very strongly about his faith. That very faith is one of the reasons he would never be a part of something like that pollute the environment, allow violence, bombings at a clinic. That is so alien to some of his fundamental principles."

Mr. Lott has also acted to ensure that Mr. Ashcroft has the requisite support, telling reporters, "I believe the Republicans (in the Senate) are unanimously for John," adding, "I expect there will be a number of Democrats who will vote for him."

The confirmation battle may not be easy, since liberal activists have targeted Mr. Ashcroft with every weapon available, including the opposition research used by Mel Carnahan, Mr. Ashcroft's opponent for the Missouri Senate seat. But by lining up votes and shooting down the fiery rhetoric aimed at Mr. Ashcroft, Mr. Lott has done honorable service to his party and his country.

Knave: AFL-CIO President John Sweeny, for his Soprano-esque takedown of Labor Secretary-designate Linda Chavez.

On Thursday, columnist Robert Novak pointed out that Mrs. Chavez' sheltering of illegal immigrant Marta Mercado was leaked by Margaret Zwisher, a neighbor of Mrs. Chavez who is also a member of the law firm Howrey & Simon. Coincidentally enough, one of her colleagues is W. Neil Eggleston, one of President Bill Clinton's many personal lawyers.

Mr. Novak further noted that while Mr. Eggleston was representing Mr. Clinton, he was also serving as appellate officer of the Laborers' International Union of North America, at which, according to Mr. Novak, "He was an integral part of the process that cleared Arthur Coia, the union's notorious president and a fervent political supporter of Clinton."

So why was Mrs. Chavez such a threat? Mr. Novak opined, "She (Mrs. Chavez) posed a clear and present danger to Sweeny. As both a former official of the American Federation of Teachers (ATF) and government official, Chavez was considered a particular threat to unearth scandals and demolish longstanding cozy arrangements," such as Mr. Eggleston's simultaneous representation of the concerns of Mr. Clinton and Mr. Sweeny.

Mr. Sweeny's brass-knuckled approach should serve notice to Republicans that they must fight the "Chicago way" if other nominees are not to be massacred.

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