Friday, December 30, 2005
Conservative Profile #1---John Ashcroft
Ever since I started this blog I wanted to do profiles on Conservatives that I respect and admire. Once I figured out how to put pictures on my blog I knew I had to put up this picture. This is a picture of my congressman,Sam Graves, me and John Ashcroft. So I figured John Ashcroft would be an awesome person to start with.
At one of the Republican fundraisers I got to volunteer at, John Ashcroft was there. I was very excited. Ever since I first moved to Missouri in '92 I have been a big fan of his. He is one of those men who has firm principles and never deviates from them. And as we all know that is a rarity in today's world let alone in D.C. I had always viewed him as humble, honest and a man of integrity. When I met him I am proud to say that he came across as just that. I was very nervous and yet I mustered up my confidence and introduced myself to him. He was so great. He was very nice and said his name when he shook my hand. I was cracking up because, like I didn't know who he was. He was very kind and humble. In his speech he made jokes at his own expense and was very gracious. It was a great day for me.
So I had a lot of fun doing research on him for this profile. I found some neat websites in the process but was also disappointed in how many links were dedicated to trashing him. Even Wikipedia dedicated most of their info to what his critics said about him. Amazingly one of the most positive pieces about him was written by the BBC of all places.
He was born in 1942 in Chicago but grew up in Springfield, Missouri. His father was an Assembly of God minister and he grew up in the church. He is a born again Christian and his faith has always been an integral part of his life. He graduated with honors from Yale and went to law school at the University of Chicago where he graduated in 1967. He taught business law at Southwest Missouri State University before entering politics. In the 70's he held several positions in Missouri state government. He went from being state auditor, to assistant attorney-general to the attorney general where he served until 1985. In '85 he became Governor of Missouri and stayed there until '93. In 1994 (when I finally got to vote for him) he was elected to the U.S. Senate and started his term in '95. He was a great senator and I was never disappointed in decisions that he made or votes that he cast. He was a solid conservative with core values.
Then in 2000 we had a historical senate race. Ashcroft was ahead in the polls and I wasn't worried about his re-election at all. I'm sure on the Beltway Boys on Fox News that they rated him in the safe column to win. But then there was a freak accident. His opponent Democrat Mel Carnahan (the Governor of Missouri at the time)died in a plane crash just 2 weeks before the election. Ashcroft being the man of integrity that he is stopped campaigning out of respect. Then the Lieutenant Governor who had replaced Carnahan as Governor announced that Carnahan's widow would serve if Carnahan won since it was too late for his name to be removed from the ballots. Then between the sympathy vote and the corruption spun by Jesse Jackson in St. Louis where the polls were illegally kept open hours later than 7:00, Carnahan (a dead man) won the election. I was crushed. Between having panic attacks over the 30 day standoff between Gore and W and Ashcroft losing, I was a mess. But as always Ashcroft graciously accepted the defeat and was kinder to Jean Carnahan than I ever would've been. My other senator, Republican Kit Bond, was spitting fire over the injustice of the corruption in St. Louis which cost us the Governorship and the senate seat.
And then it was amazing to see the irony of how it all worked out. John Ashcroft was nominated by W to be Attorney General. (I was a very happy camper the day that was announced.) A Republican won the senate seat against Jean Carnahan in a special election in 2002 and Republican Matt Blunt won the Governorship in 2004. So all Jesse Jackson's corruption ended up giving the democrats very short-lived victories.
Anyway, all that to say Ashcroft has been a wonderful public servant and a man to look up to. Even the Associated Press article about him admitted that his public life was scandal-free. The White House bio of him quoted W as saying this about him: "a man of great integrity, a man of great judgment and a man who knows the law". I couldn't say it any better.
Ashcroft was known for being unashamed of being a strong conservative and would say, there are two things you find in the middle of the road: "a moderate and a dead skunk", and that he didn't want to be either. And to that I say, Amen!!