Skeletons in the Cabinet

By Gary Kamiya

Published January 4, 2001 2:19PM (EST)

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Mr. Kamiya, there are many decaffeinated brands on the market that taste just as good as the real thing. Every other political commentator I've seen has characterized the Ashcroft appointment as throwing a bone to the GOP right wing and not as a sign of some deeper trend in the Bush administration.

How is Ashcroft's appointment different than Clinton's choice of Donna Shalala or any of the other real liberals in his first administration? Does Bush in 2001 have less of a mandate than Clinton in 1993? How did Clinton "reach across the aisle"?

As for Norton, the primary knock I've heard on her is that she's pro-business. Dog bites man; it is a Republican administration, after all.

I think that an objective view of the initial appointments still makes Bush look pretty moderate.

-- Philip Kingston

Kudos to Gary Kamiya for rallying the troops regarding the nominations of Norton and Ashcroft. This isn't about revenge, it's about sanity. Who would want to live in a U.S.A. that has its laws enforced by a man so far to the right that he makes Timothy McVeigh look mainstream?

It's not winner take all -- especially when the winner took less. If the Democrats in the Senate don't stand and fight, they may find themselves joined by some Green senators in very short order. Enough is enough. Fight or stand aside for someone who will -- 2002 is just around the corner ...

-- Mark Gisleson

I'm shocked -- shocked! -- to think that a man who ran as a conservative Republican has the unmitigated gall, the effrontery, the huevos to appoint -- gasp! -- some conservative Republicans to his Cabinet! Doesn't he know that he won a close election and is therefore obligated to share power with the losing party? After all, Bill Clinton, who won with, what was it, something like 42 percent of the popular vote, never put any liberal Democrats in his Cabinet, now did he? No, of course not. Oh, my God! What's to become of us?

Lighten up, folks. The country has survived Cabinet members (and the odd president or two) who have been corrupt, stupid, feckless, unqualified and downright dotty. We'll survive this, too.

-- Scott Horsfall

As a black woman, I am appalled that the Democratic senators would even consider voting to confirm Ashcroft. It is a slap in the face to black Americans who came out in big numbers to vote for the Democrats. As usual we have been hoodwinked by the Democratic Party. How could they even think about confirming this man when his policies on civil rights and affirmative action are so dismal? I hope that the Democratic senators think long and hard about supporting Ashcroft. The Democratic Party has taken blacks for granted. The disenfranchisement of black voters in Florida was barely even mentioned by prominent Democratic senators. The Democrats need the black vote more then we need the Democratic Party. We will be watching and we will remember in 2002 and 2004 when they come knocking on our door again.

-- Belle Butterfly

Missouri voters had the right idea: A dead man would make a better senator than John Ashcroft. Once again Bush shows his contempt for the will of the people, by nominating Ashcroft for attorney general, a man who has just received the voting public's severest judgment of unfitness for public office.

-- Don Mac Brown

Kamiya speaks truer than he knows. Bush's "maximalist approach" has forced Kamiya and others outraged at the Cabinet appointments to focus their fire on the most egregious, Ashcroft in Justice and Norton in Interior. This permits other right-wingers to coast in under the radar. People are so busy protesting Ashcroft and Norton that they ignore ideologues Chavez at Labor, Veneman at Agriculture and Abraham at Energy. And what about the hawkish Rumsfeld at Defense? Fully half the secretaries-designate have views that should incur strong opposition. In passing them by, Kamiya shows himself to be almost as milquetoast as the Democrats he criticizes.

-- Jay Gold

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