God for Rude Republicans!
by Steven C. Day
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
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:
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
Trent Lott will get a well-deserved serving of humble
Democrats will take over the chairmanships of all
The Bush legislative steamroller will lose a lot of
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