The Ashcroft Imperative

For some reason, it was necessary for George W. Bush to have John Ashcroft as his Attorney General. In that capacity, thanks to the frightened stampede resulting from the events of September 11, 2001, Ashcroft has become by far the most powerful man ever to hold that office. Here, my friend, Hugh Turley, muses over the strange developments that put him in that position. --David Martin

Dead Man Winning

When a dead man was elected to the Senate the nation's attention was on Florida and the presidential election deadlocked between Al Gore and George W. Bush. The outcome of the presidential race would determine which vice president would preside over the Senate and cast a tie-breaking vote in the Senate that was split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans.

In the United States illogical things happen and no one takes notice. Ask any person on the street, "Did you know a dead man was elected to the United States Senate?" and you will hear them say, "Really, I didn't know that." This is what our press told the American people.

"In one of the strangest elections in U.S. political history, Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan (D), who was killed in a plane crash three weeks ago, appeared to have defeated incumbent Republican John Ashcroft for the U.S. Senate." --Washington Post, November 8, 2000

Pulitzer Prize winning columnist David S. Broder treated the event as commonplace and wrote the day after the election "the Senate winners included a dead man in Missouri."

The United States Constitution states that a person must be alive when elected in Article 1, Section 3, Clause 3 and that seems logical.

"No person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the age of thirty years, and been nine years a citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen."

The illogic of John Ashcroft running for the U.S. Senate and not intending to win was like a wrestler entering the ring intending to lose the championship, but try to imagine a wrestler losing to a dead man. President Bush and the Republican majority would have looked silly if they had given up their Republican majority in the Senate to appoint John Ashcroft Attorney General. Therefore a dead man had to be elected to the United States Senate.

Senate Republicans did not challenge John Ashcroft to hold on to his Senate seat even when the presidential race was still undecided. The Republican majority and all of their committee chairmanships would have been lost. One Republican committee chairman did complain about one small issue in the election of the dead man.

"[Republicans] were outraged at the extension of voting [hours] in St. Louis. Christopher S. Bond (R-Mo.) told an election night crowd of Ashcroft supporters, 'I'm here to tell you I've seen this fraud before. This election is too important to allow the Democratic machine in the city of St. Louis to steal.' Yesterday, however, Bond said he will not initiate or encourage a legal challenge." --Washington Post

Republicans and the Board of Elections commissioners had no complaint about a dead man being elected to the U.S. Senate, but according to the Washington Post they "appealed the extended voting hours, with state GOP Chairwoman Ann Wagner saying it was unfair to allow special hours for St. Louis."

"Missouri Republicans yesterday [Nov 8, 2000] pulled back from a threat to mount a legal challenge to the Senate race there after incumbent Sen. John D. Ashcroft (R) narrowly lost his seat to the late Democratic Gov. Mel Carnahan, the first time a candidate was elected to the Senate after his death." --Washington Post

Ashcroft quickly conceded to a dead man after he campaigned for months and spent millions of dollars to get reelected. According to the Washington Post "Ashcroft said he would not have part of any challenge in making a tearful farewell to public life that has seen him serve Missouri as auditor, attorney general, governor, and senator." John Ashcroft abandoned the citizens of Missouri who campaigned for him, donated their money to him, and cast over a million votes for his re-election. Ashcroft's parting words made no sense, "I hope the outcome of this election is a comfort to Mrs. Carnahan. Missouri is a compassionate state, and I think, in a very special way, they have demonstrated their compassion."

It now appears clear that Mr. Ashcroft knew George W. Bush would win Florida and he would be appointed Attorney General when he chose unemployment over continuing to serve as a United States Senator. Of course the public was not in on that secret.

In excusing his bizarre loss to a dead man, John Ashcroft said that he should have campaigned harder AFTER his opponent had died. The Washington Post reported, "Speaking to supporters, Ashcroft predicted he would win and blamed his troubles on suspending his campaign after Carnahan's death." What could be more ridiculous than a candidate continuing to attack his dead opponent? Why on earth would Ashcroft continue to run ads that would suggest his dead opponent was still in the race? Perhaps his television ads would have said something like, "Vote for me. I'm still alive!"

The victory for the dead candidate was also attributed to the fact that the dead man picked up the pace of the campaign after his death distributing new promotional buttons declaring, "I'm still with Mel."

Republicans Bond and Danforth had a lock on the Senate seats in Missouri for years. Senator Ashcroft was elected in 1994 when Danforth retired and the former governor won easily against Democrat Alan Wheat who only got 626,940 votes. In 2000, Ashcroft's dead opponent got 1,191,424 votes.

Senator Ashcroft got 100,767 more votes in the 2000 election than he had gotten in the 1994 election, but he still lost, and even presidential coat tails could not help defeat the dead man. Bush defeated Gore in Missouri 50% to 48% at the same time the dead man defeated the incumbent Ashcroft 50% to 48% with 1,191,424 votes to 1,142,552.

The widow Jean Carnahan defied the U.S. Constitution one week before the election, saying that she would accept the victory if her dead husband won, and later she was sworn into office to protect and defend the same Constitution. When her dead husband won she said, "I am overwhelmed, for someone who has never run for public office." Perhaps they should dig up Harry S. Truman and run him in 2004.

Mr. Ashcroft is now able to marshal the powerful resources of the Justice Department and FBI to arrest and detain people indefinitely without charges and secretly search any home or office of any citizen and secretly read the U.S. mail and secretly listen to all phone conversations. The Department of Justice can also listen to conversations between lawyers and their clients.

Hillary Clinton was recently booed off the stage at the Paul McCartney concert event to benefit victims of the NYC tragedy. How did such an unpopular woman get elected in New York? Our press would have us believe the Republicans were able to field an even more unpopular candidate in Congressman Rick Lazio, but would Lazio be booed off a stage like Hillary?

Did voters really prefer Hillary Clinton, pro-wrestler Jesse Ventura, and a dead man? What is the logic that citizens of Maryland voted twice for the conservative standard bearer Ronald Reagan and at the same time pulled voting levers for liberal Senators Paul Sarbanes and Barbara Mikulski? Out of all of the people in our country that could be president why would "voters decide" to choose between Al Gore and George W. Bush anyway? The public is told who wins elections, and even if the winner is dead the people do not question the results.

Hugh Turley December 5, 2001


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