Ashcroft was grilled by liberals in his confirmation hearings. Teddy Kennedy led the attack. Ashcroft apologized to Kennedy for opposing a racial balance program in Missouri schools when he was state attorney general.

Ashcroft repeatedly begged Kennedy to understand that he was "for integration." He has been in the Senate with Kennedy for a long time, and he knows very well what being "for integration" means to Kennedy.

Kennedy sends his grandchildren to private schools, and he backed the imposition of busing on South Boston. It was ordered by Judge Garrity, who also sent his grandchildren to private schools, as do all judges who order busing. Kennedy fully supported the use of the National Guard to enforce busing on South Boston.

Kennedy backed busing in Louisville, where children would be out waiting for the buses at 5 am so they could be bused into dangerous inner city schools. They returned home long after dark. In other words, they had the same hours that we so deplore in child labor from the

nineteenth century.

Ashcroft apologized to Kennedy for daring to oppose "desegregation" programs in Missouri. He assured Kennedy that the ONLY reason he opposed that particular program was because of the COST. He made it clear that any cost to the children was of no importance to him whatsoever.

Needless to say, most conservatives had no problem with that, but they were sickened by Ashcroft's groveling in other areas, such as abortion. He licked Kennedy's boots clean and shiny.

I enjoyed it, because conservatives were seeing what I watched close up over the long, long years. I watched all those loudmouth conservative "heroes" do the same crawl when they were closeted with liberals.

When Mel Laird was in Congress, he was in committee with my boss John Ashbrook. He started off a negotiation by saying that pretty well anything the Democrats wanted was reasonable. Ashbrook leaned toward the microphone and said, in a stage whisper, "What a prostitute!"

Laird was rewarded by Ford with the position of Secretary of Defense. He was a true Bush-Ford Republican.

Please don't say you are disappointed in Ashcroft.

Surely no one is ignorant enough to believe that what you saw was some kind of changed man. What you were looking at was a typical conservative leader dealing with liberals.

When Mitch McConnell was fighting campaign finance "reform" legislation last year, the word went around that "He fights like a Democrat." He was that unique in not backing down on the issue most important to him.

Inside the beltway, all conservative "leaders" are wimps when they are dealing directly with liberals. I watched them cave in and crawl before the liberals year after year after weary year.

A couple of years ago, I saw Trent Lott regaling a conservative crowd with his brave criticism of liberal press bias. A couple of days later, while he was being interviewed on a network program, a reporter asked him how the press dealt with conservatives. He declared they were fair!

So all this is no secret. When faced with a real reporter or a real Teddy Kennedy, these conservative "leaders" will grovel right out there in public. Conservatives pretend they don't see it.

No matter how many exhausted children are bussed across Louisville or how many Boston working people might have to be killed for integration, Teddy Kennedy will never offer the slightest apology for anything he does. Nor will Barney Frank or any other liberal. Their liberal supporters won't stand for it.

But if a liberal shouts "racist" or "extremist" or any of the many versions of "anaziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews," any conservative who wants to get ahead drops on his knees instantly.