- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 18, 2001

Liberal assault can't penetrate Ashcroft record

The old adage "When you can't defend the position, attack the person" has never been more clearly evident than in the confirmation process of Attorney General-designate John Ashcroft.

Jesse Jackson has openly declared war on Mr. Ashcroft because he opposed confirmation of Ronnie White, a black Missouri supreme court judge who was President Clinton's nominee in 1999 for a seat on the federal bench in Missouri. Yes, Mr. Ashcroft opposed a judicial nominee who happened to be black. But Mr. Ashcroft's opposition was to the judge's record, not his race. Can't a public official who is white object to an appointee who is black without being accused of racism?

There certainly is unabashed bigotry here, but it's not on Mr. Ashcroft's part. It's time to put the rhetoric aside and look at the facts about Mr. Ashcroft's civil rights record.

Mr. Ashcroft voted to confirm 26 of the 28 black judges nominated by Mr. Clinton. He named eight blacks to state judgeships, including the first minority on the Missouri court of appeals. He appointed three blacks to his cabinet. He signed a law establishing a state holiday in honor of Martin Luther King and made musician Scott Joplin's house a historic site, the only such site in Missouri honoring a black person. Mr. Ashcroft created an award honoring black educator George Washington Carver and fought to save Lincoln University, which was founded by black soldiers

The relentless campaign by the news media to portray Mr. Ashcroft as a closet Ku Klux Klan member has been lead by journalists such as New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis, who labeled Mr. Ashcroft an "ultra conservative" for his pro-life views. When was the last time you heard the news media labeling anyone on the left an "ultra liberal?"

As a conservative evangelical Christian, Mr. Ashcroft simply doesn't believe what many on the left do. Have we sunk to such a low in our country that the news media will vilify anyone whose religious beliefs differ with theirs?

BETH GREEN

Montgomery, Ala.

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John Ashcroft is the first attorney general nominee in U.S. history who has served as a state attorney general, governor and U.S. senator, but the left continues to make baseless attacks and question whether he will uphold the law. He is known as a man of impeccable character and has a strong record on crime.

Mr. Ashcroft demonstrated leadership while serving as chairman of the National Association of Attorney Generals, the National Governors Association and the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution. His experience as a lawyer and public servant has prepared him to secure America's confidence in the rule of law.

One gets the impression that integrity, character and the rule of law are not priorities of those who oppose his nomination.

WARREN WILLIS

Atascadero, Calif.

Foreign aid proposal favors faith-based charities over federal program

We were interested to read the account of Sen. Jesse Helms' proposal to abolish the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and channel increased foreign aid through religious and charitable groups ("Helms proposal calls for USAID to be shut down," Jan. 12).

You might have also noted that Mr. Helms has imposed many burdensome reporting and record-keeping requirements on USAID. His proposal would clearly let him guide funds away from international family planning programs and toward anti-choice groups, greatly increasing the power of the religious right. This would be a major shove to starboard for President-elect George W. Bush. His pledge to be a moderate and uniting figure didn't have to wait long for its first test, and we will be most interested to see how he responds.

ROSEMARY J. DEMPSEY

Washington, DC Director

Center for Reproductive Law and Policy

Washington

Power crisis spells more trouble for markets

The effects of major electric utilities' impending bankruptcy on financial markets is only the tip of the iceberg ("Power crisis hurts markets," Jan. 6). More significant is that inadequate power supplies will hurt productivity across the board, halting economic growth. The new and old economies are driven by electricity. Without reliable supplies, they will stumble.

The fundamental issue is that we have neglected power-plant construction nationally for more than two decades, so margins are razor-thin. As California has learned, we need to embark on a major power-plant construction program, including nuclear power plants, to meet our growing demand for power. New plants also will be needed to replace aging power facilities.

Deregulated markets, through higher wholesale electricity prices, can offer incentives for new power-plant construction. In regulated systems, there will be insufficient supplies and the brownouts and blackouts of recent years will become more numerous and widespread.

JOHN SILLIN

Potomac

Pandering to race 'victims' losing strategy for Republicans

Walter Williams' Jan. 11 Commentary column, "Wrong fence mending," was outstanding. Mr. Williams, unfortunately, is correct that Republicans will never be able to win the votes of blacks who style themselves as victims of an oppressive, white-dominated society. The only way a Republican candidate could win the support of those voters, Mr. Williams asserts, would be to advocate unconstitutional racial preferences, quotas, set-asides and the like, the antithesis of what the party stands for and a sure way to lose Republican votes.

In the Jan. 11 edition of the New York Daily News, Opinion writer Zev Chafets observes that Jews do not seem to have a problem with not being represented in the Bush Cabinet. Mr. Chafets concludes that the biggest reason is that Jews do not think of themselves as a minority in need of special treatment.

Mr. Williams' theory that Republicans can and should seek the support of blacks who (like these Jewish voters) do not see themselves as victims in need of government protection but, rather, as full participants in the American dream is right on.

TERRENCE M. MCMANUS

McLean

Rumsfeld well qualified for defense position

In grappling with the urgent foreign policy problems confronting the new Bush administration, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld will be uniquely qualified to advise the president and Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Fifteen years ago, during the Cold War, the Ethics and Public Policy Center selected Mr. Rumsfeld, already a seasoned statesman, to receive its annual Shelby Cullom Davis Award for Integrity and Courage. It read in part: "He has steadfastly worked to uphold the freedom and security of the United States and its democratic allies. As chairman of the Committee for a Free World, he demonstrates his belief in the inescapable link between choice in the market place and choice at the ballot box." He has steadfastly worked, it stated, for "freedom throughout the world."

Prophetically, the citation was presented to Mr. Rumsfeld by none other than soon-to-be Vice President Dick Cheney.

When Mr. Rumsfeld ran for president to succeed Ronald Reagan, he proudly listed the Ethics and Public Policy citation in his resume. After he pulled out of the race, his friends said sympathetically that he didn't have enough "fire in the belly" for a bruising campaign. But they knew then and they know now that Mr. Rumsfeld has wisdom in his head and compassion in his heart.

ERNEST W. LEFEVER

Founding President

Ethics and Public Policy Center

Silver Spring


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