Tuesday, November 09, 2004
I'm not sure how many people actually know what an attorney general knows. There might be a few people who know that Janet Reno was the attorney general before Ashcroft. There are probably quite a few who know that Ashcroft pushed for the infamous Patriot Act. However, I doubt many can say what an attorney general does beyond that for America.
Well, it's quite a bit actually. The attorney general is the head of the federal criminal system. He sets the tone, the policies, and the environment for the many US Attorney offices across the country. Ashcroft has a mixed record in this department. I don't think he has done a good job, but I do think there have been a few things that he did alright. Overall, he was destructive, remiss on important issues, and incompetent. Those few triumphs were, for the most part, based on luck.
I have spoke with a couple Texas assistant US attorneys who criticized Ashcroft's leadership ability on this level. I believe that part of the problem was that he became too interested in his own political gain that could be secured by 9/11.
I am concerned about who will be appointed to follow this guy; Bush and his advisors have demonstrated (e.g. the second debate's lack of a grasp of elementary constituional law) an inability to understand legal issues.