November 9, 2004


Ashcroft, Evans Quit Cabinet Posts (Associated Press, November 9, 2004)

Attorney General John Ashcroft and Commerce Secretary Don Evans resigned today, the first members of President Bush's Cabinet to leave as he headed from re-election into his second term.

The resignations were announced by White House press secretary Scott McClellan, who said Bush had accepted the decisions of both secretaries.

This is the perfect opportunity for W to start shrinking the federal goivernment and to do so by goring a GOP ox.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 9, 2004 8:10 PM

They'll never get rid of the Dept of Commerce, it's like the Small Business committee in the House, it doesn't do anything but it helps rake in the campaign contributions.

As for Ashcroft, he can't leave fast enough. We need someone at Justice who isn't a bad joke, an easily lampooned idiot. Giuliani is the obvious choice for his replacement but Brad Reynolds would be great too.

Posted by: Bart at November 9, 2004 8:17 PM

Ashcroft performed brilliantly, despite the lampooning. There's great honor in being the man the Left hates most.

Posted by: oj at November 9, 2004 8:26 PM

"This is the perfect opportunity for W to start shrinking the federal goivernment and to do so by goring a GOP ox."

Yes, and then he can fold HUD, Labor, Education back into HEW, right? There are bigger fish to fry. Let's be grateful that Bush intends to spend his political capital on substantive changes rather than symbolic ones.

Posted by: curt at November 9, 2004 8:33 PM

Agree completely that Commerce should be closed or at least merged into Labor dept. Unfortunately I think Bush is going to hoard all of his political capital to reform Social Security and the tax code and won't downsize govt.

Ashcroft did a good job at Justice. He also served as a lightning rod for the administration deflecting criticism from Bush. Larry Thompson, current Assistant to Ashcroft (and African American), former OK Gov Keating and Marc Racicot would be good choices.

Posted by: AWW at November 9, 2004 8:35 PM

The only cabinet positions we should have are


Everything else should be closed or merged in to these. Interior can take all of the Labor / Commerce / HEW / Transportation / Energy / etc. Make it a real position.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at November 9, 2004 8:59 PM

I think I remember reading an article a year or so ago where a fairly senior Bush official indicated that they realize there are too many cabinet departments but the political cost and effort to shut one of these down vastly outweighed the benefits. That's why I believe Bush will use his political for historic changes like social security and the tax code. Then again one would think shrinking govt would give Bush political capital with conservatives that he could use in reforming social security or the tax code.

Posted by: AWW at November 9, 2004 9:18 PM

As Reagan discovered, every little subagency has a large constituency out there. After years of struggle, the best he could manage was to whittle away at the funding for a couple of them (NEA, LSC). GWB won't bother.

Posted by: curt at November 9, 2004 9:34 PM

I'll never be able to prove it, but I'm convinced that Ashcroft's vigorous round-up of Arab nationals on immigration charges in the wake of September 11 prevented a second attack, either by incarcerating a potential perpetrator or forcing other potential perpetrators to go to ground.

Posted by: Fred Jacobsen (San Fran) at November 9, 2004 10:05 PM

If done correctly, reforming the tax code is the single biggest government shrinker possible.

Take away the lobbying opportunities, people, corporations, countries, etc... will start to become indifferent to government and focus on themselves, rather than focusing on how they can get the United States government to steal for them.

Posted by: Perry at November 10, 2004 9:09 AM