I’m sure that some of these rumors, published today by Lloyd Grove in the New York Daily News, are just that — rumors. But sometimes this sort of thing is grounded in the truth, isn’t it? If it’s not true, and therefore scary, it’s at least false and amusing.
Graydon Carter fans will have to wait a few months to read the Vanity Fair editor in chief’s book-length indictment of President Bush, “What We Have Lost.”
In the meantime, the Canadian-born Carter is waging his jihad against the Bush administration with a hatchet job on Attorney General Ashcroft in the issue hitting newsstands later this week.
Judy Bachrach’s profile slams the nation’s top lawman for everything from alleged sexism and racism to attempts to curtail civil liberties, and to his “extreme” and “narcissistic” religious convictions – notably the belief that calico cats are “instruments of the Devil.”
Ashcroft didn’t give Bachrach an interview.
“There’s a reason why we didn’t participate in this,” Justice Department Public Affairs director Mark Carollo told me. “This is a classic hit piece filled with innaccuracies and flat-out fantasies, such as the [calico cat] example … and can hardly be called journalism.”
Bachrach writes that former Missouri Sen. Ashcroft – a devout adherent of the Christian fundamentalist Assemblies of God denomination – presides over regular prayer groups in his office for Justice Department employees and “routinely compares himself to Christ in his 1998 memoir … in which he refers to his campaign victories as ‘resurrections’ [and defeats as] ‘crucifixions.'”
Therapist William Demeo tells Bachrach that Ashcroft’s “determination to liken his political career to the life and death of Christ is a sign of ‘narcissism – without question.’ “
While hosting a dinner as governor of Missouri, she reports, Ashcroft once tactlessly insulted the African-American waiters at the mansion, noting that the valuables were “bolted down” because the waiters were convicts on furlough from state prison. Ashcroft allegedly told a guest: “I’m sure you know who the waiters are. You know how they are.”
At the Justice Department, Bachrach alleges, Ashcroft has replaced influential women and minorities with white men, and when he gathered a group of female Justice lawyers to mark Women’s History Month, he arranged for his wife, Janet, to address them.
“And he introduces her by saying she’s the woman who taught him how to put the dishes away,” a witness recounts.