Atlas in Minneapolis. Delayed. Flew into the rain and an airport with no signs for taxis. Took a half hour - a train (the tram!) to find a damn taxi. But once I got to the Midwest conference of the Young America Founation, it reminded me of the scene in The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy wakes up in Oz and the film goes from sepia to technicolor. It is hugely satisfying to see young, rational college students converging to take control of their future and the future of this country. My mood improved at once. Shiny happy people!
Knowing what we do about the oppressive environment on left wing indoctrinating college campuses, it can't be easy being a conservative university student. These young people are wonderful, truly. And brave. Stealth.
John Ashcroft was the man of the hour. Ashcroft thas made it his business to go to college campuses nationwide (just six this month) helping students refute the myths and lies of the liberal left. Ashcroft was passionate. Animated. Inspiring. I spent time chatting with him and his really sweet wife, Janet. She is a involved and energetic as Ashcroft. They are delicious together.
His new book is out, Never Again: Securing America and Restoring Justice and from his remarks and our conversation it is a clear explanation of our defensive measures on the war on Islamism. Every argument the left made agaisnt FISA, the Pariot act is nothing short of nonsensical.
"I question whether individuals and groups who have chosen to ignore the tenets of the Geneva Convention by attacking civilian targets should benefit by those rules,"
"They haven't been charged because there's nothing to charge them with. They are being detained until the conflict ends. Would it make sense to let them go to get another shot at us?"
"This administration has been one of the most restrained in the use of executive power in the history of the United States," he said, noting that George Washington steamed open private letters and Woodrow Wilson ordered the monitoring of all private communications that crossed the U.S. border.
"I think religious people should speak their minds as loudly as they can, but as citizens," he said. "All citizens should have the right to speak their minds, but no one should get any special privileges because of religion."
Ashcroft has been taking to campuses with his much needed message. Here is last week's appearance in Syracuse ascovered by the Syracuse Post-Standard;
Ashcroft, whose conservative politics and aggressive use of the Patriot Act made him a lightning rod during President George W. Bush's first term, used humor and history to explain why the words Bush spoke to him immediately after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks changed the U.S. government's role forever.
"He said 'Never let this happen again,' " Ashcroft recalled. "That was such a simple statement, but it meant a profound reorientation of the Department of Justice."
Instead of documenting history to prosecute individual cases, Bush's directive essentially required the office to change history before it was made, Ashcroft said. The precautionary steps needed to do that meant limiting some traditional liberties; an apparent conflict that dominated both Ashcroft's speech and the 45-minute exchange with students that followed.
"I don't see liberty and the need for security as opposing values," Ashcroft said. "I see liberty as the overwhelmingly dominant value. And whatever you need to do to make liberty more secure should be done."
Spending the evening soaking up everything Ashcroft was divulging was a unexpected but welcome bonus. I was invited to speak on a panel discussion on blogging, the new media and activism with Scott Johnson of Powerline (now how cool is that?) Scott found me at the cocktail hour and we did the blogger dance of glee. Powerline was my first blog discovery. It saved my mind post 9/11 and lead me to Little Green Footballs ........ and invariably here so it was like meeting your birth parent. If it sounds hokey then sue me. His wife, Sally, is as witty and pretty as you would expect and it felt like old home week in the sphere. Yeah it was heady alright. Great people.
Seated at my table with Scott was the Peter Schweizer, author of Do As I Say (Not As I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy and Reagan's War: The Epic Story of His Forty-Year Struggle and Final Triumph Over Communism. Yowser. I look forward to dinner with both of them tomorrow night (at Scott's generous invitation.). Should provide inestimable insight into all that compels and drives yours truly, seeker of truth.
Scott Johnson and Peter Schweizer dining and dishing. Johnson spent the better part of the conversation lamenting Dinesh D'Souza's inexplicable descent into dhimmitude. And rightly so, D'Souza has become such a tool (or fool) either way it aint good.
Ashcroft was excellent. We need forceful voices in the administraton speaking to these issues on a consistent base. Getting it across to the American people. Otherwise there is a vacuum filled by big fat bullies.
Here is Ashcroft on liberty and security
If you have a half hour listen to all of his remarks. His is so plain spoken, so clear, so logical (so refrreshing)......... it defies reason that this country is so twisted in knots.
UPDATE: I am mad for men of power(line).