Senator, James M. Jeffords, a True Grit…
Republican Senator of Vermont, James M. Jeffords decided to leave Republican Party and become independent and aligning himself with the Democratic Party. This means that there are 49 Republican, 50 Democrat, and 1 independent Senators in the House of Senate which effectively gives the control of the Senate to the Democrats.
Senator Jeffords for quite sometimes has been voting with the Democrats. He has been thinking and acting in-dependent of Republican Party for a few years.
He has recently con-cluded that the ideology of Republican Party and that of President George W. Bush to be against his belief and are too conservative. He has said that ever since the election of George W. Bush the conservative segment of the Repub-lican Party has taken over and there is no room for moderates in the Republican Party.
It is extremely rare to see a Republican politi-cian especially in the Senate to switch party.
During Bill Clinton’s administration one of the members of the House of Representative switched party from Republican to Demo-cratic Party and the Republican machinery initiated a recall and in a specially held election they recalled the Con-gressman and another Republican was elected instead.
What Senator Jeffords had done requires tre-mendous courage and dignity. He did not sell his sole, ideology, or dignity for more power and self-interest. The Republican Party in order to keep him in the party and not switch tried everything, in-cluding promising new positions and more power to him, but he did not accept and finally in his home state he de-clared his decision to switch party. This is despite direct inter-vention of President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney.
Generally speaking Re-publicans are not for-giving when a member of the Congress changes party.
The Republican ma-chinery thought of forcing Senator Jeffords to resign and a new election to be held for his seat, but the early polls show that the people of Vermont are happy with their Senator and with his decision and that means the Republican may not be able to remove the Senator from the Senate and take their revenge.
Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota will become the Majority Leader and all the committees that were headed by Republicans will have Democrats as the chairman who will run the committees.
In contrast, during the same period especially after election of 1992 when the mid-term election gave the control of both Houses to the Republican, couple of Democratic Senators and a few Democratic Congressmen switched party from Democratic to Republican. Demo-cratic Party did not take any steps to initiate a recall or any types of revenge against these defecting members.
Hats off to this brave, courageous Senator. Senator Jeffords is indeed a True Grit.
As to what happens next, the Democratic Party will take the control of the Senate and puts a BREAK on George W. Bush’s agenda and his policies.
Furthermore, since the Democrats are in charge of the judicial com-mittees, they will make sure that the very con-servative candidates for the Federal Judgeship will not be confirmed.
These changes to the committees are very significant, as these committees can have a major impact on the White House’s policies and can shift the direc-tion of the President’s agenda.
Also most importantly any nomination of Sup-reme Court Justices will be under the control of the Democrats.
Furthermore, Democrats will control as to when a bill or issue to be brought to the floor for discussion or vote. In essence they will control the agenda and priority of bills.
It must be noted that this change in control of the Senate to the Democrats, does not necessarily give the Democrats the green light to do what-ever they desire, as the Republicans are still a force to reckon with.
Since President Bush was not elected by the majority of popular vote, this change of power in the Senate was a positive move. This will give power to the Democrats to control the White House’s policies and make appropriate changes to become more in line with majority of Americans’ wishes.