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Thank God for Rude Republicans!
May 26, 2001
by Steven C. Day

Thank God for Rude Republicans

By all accounts, Senator Jim Jeffords has been treated rather badly by his Republican comrades. The nature of his crime, it seems, has been an annoying tendency to follow his conscience, instead of sticking to the party line. While the Republican Party is opposed to a woman's right to choose, for example, Jeffords favors it. While the party believes that the only good tree is one stacked up in a lumber yard and that the only good wilderness area is one sporting a lovely variety of oil rigs, Jeffords wants to protect the natural environment.

Jeffords has, in short, committed, the one unpardonable sin for a Republican - he is a moderate in what has become the party of Attila the Hun.

The critical sequence of events which lead to his departure from the GOP began, of course, with Jeffords refusal to completely go along with George W. Bush's proposed 1.6 trillion dollar, 10-year tax give away to the very rich. Instead, he joined with other moderate Senators in forcing some relatively minor reductions in the size of the tax reduction.

Unwilling to take this treason lying down, Bush, Trent Lott and other GOP fellow travelers set out to make Jeffords pay. No doubt putting the very best Republican minds to work on the project, they started a crusade which appears to have been designed with the intention of royally pissing off the Vermont Senator.

Talk about a job well done! Here's what they came up with:

• Jeffords, Chairman of the Education Committee, was excluded from a White House ceremony honoring a teacher from his home state of Vermont who had been named National Teacher of the Year.

• The administration and the Senate leadership threatened to scuttle a New England dairy compact of critical importance to Vermont dairy farmers.

• The White House threatened to reduce funding for a special-education program Jeffords helped to create.

• The Senate GOP leadership in general treated Jeffords like a pariah.

Now, there are many words that could be used to describe this conduct by Bush and the Republican leadership:

[stupid
self-defeating
boorish
pretentious
idiotic
cruel
Bush-like]

But the word that describes it best of all is "rude." The GOP's conduct toward Senator Jeffords was just plain old-fashioned rudeness. And because of this rudeness:

• Senator Tom Daschle will now become the new majority leader.

• Trent Lott will get a well-deserved serving of humble pie.

• Democrats will take over the chairmanships of all Senate committees.

• The Bush legislative steamroller will lose a lot of its steam.

• Senate Democrats will lose the cover of minority status and may actually have to start resisting Bush's proposals.

• The Federalist Society's goal of taking over the federal judiciary has been made a lot harder.

• Democrats will now have subpoena power in the Senate.

The GOP has been unmasked as the extremist organization it has become. So let's all say it together: THANK GOD FOR RUDE REPUBLICANS!

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