When I was a boy, my Pop -- a country schoolteacher -- was chairman of the Grundy County, Mo., Republican Party. As a young politician, before he became governor, John Ashcroft ate dinner with us a couple of times while campaigning in North Missouri.
I liked him. We were a musical household, and he sang and played the piano beautifully, and he was especially keen for those wonderful old hymns by Fanny Crosby.
I was pretty much into Hendrix at the time -- and John was kind enough to patronize my juvenile tastes, but I have since come to realize that Crosby is the greater artist both in spirit and in mind.
As for John, I remember him as warm and real and good-hearted. The kind of guy who would take time at a small-town GOP rubber-chicken dinner -- where there weren't any reporters or cameras around -- to talk to children.
He remains to this day an unapologetic Christian and a disciple of open, honest politics. You may not like it, but there it is.
I'm sure, with 9-11, and everything else that's crossing his desk, he's made some mistakes. But I can't think of anyone I'd rather have running Justice right now.
And he IS a musician, after all, and he likes Hank Williams.
Plus he's not some liberal who refers to all of us out here in the middle of the country as "those hicks out in the flyover states."
If John runs for president, he'll get beat. We're not a society that enjoys leaders who tell the truth -- Jimmy Carter being one example that comes to mind.
But he's got my vote.
Best wishes and prayers, Tony