Tis Only My Opinion

June 2001 - Volume 21, Number 6

Time to vote your conscience!

The possible defection of Senator Jeffords of Vermont from the Republican to the Democrats or the Independent label points up once again the problem of diversity within a political party. While most political parties are based upon compromises as opposed to principle, at times, a sea change occurs and the political affiliations of individuals are changed.

While these changes sometimes occur because of ego, in most cases, the change occurs because principle overcomes compromise.

What is in a name? or a label!

In most voters minds, there is not much difference between the two major political parties in the US. Both parties purport to have their conservative, moderate and liberal members. Senator Jeffords is currently being portrayed in the media as a "moderate Republican" yet his voting record is more liberal than all but 20 Democratic Senators. Within the Republican party, he is considered to be the most liberal Republican Senator.

Shortly after the Civil War, the political structure of the U.S. changed as the parties changed. Perhaps, it is time for the parties to state their principles and to really go after politicians who believe in their views. Under Gingrich, the Republicans in 1994 issued their "Contract with America." That simple document swept the Democratic controlled Congress from power.

The Senate Coup

If Jeffords does defect and caucus with the Democrats, it will be the first time in history that control of the Senate occurred without the citizens voting. It is quite obvious that the Democrats have been courting Jeffords and others and that the Republicans have been courting possible changes also.

Many observers felt that the passing of Senator Strom Thurmond would create a change of control in the Senate but he continues to hang on to his seat. Whether his mental faculties should be questioned is another question for another time. It is obvious that his Chief of Staff is the real Senator. But with a Democratic governor his replacement will probably be a Democrat.

If the Senate changes hands, you can bet that Bush's agenda will be further hamstrung and stalled. The Democrats talk a good game of bi-partisanship but rarely practice it. The ability of Bush to appoint conservative judges will be severely delayed. The agenda in the Congress is largely controlled by the Committee Chairman of the House and Senate. Losing those positions is the most critical aspect of a possible Jeffords defection.

If anything, the Republican party must begin now to identify strong candidates and finance their campaigns to unseat the Democratic Senators whose seats are up for reelection in 2002.

Lott should recognize his ineptness and resign his position as Majority Leader.

The fact that Senator Trent Lott can not keep his troops in line should be immediate cause for his dismissal as Leader of the Republicans in the Senate. It is past time when the Republicans can continue to lead with weakness. Lott's performance during the Impeachment hearings and his willingness to share power in this Congress are proof that he should not be the Senate leader.

The Republicans lost the Presidential election in 1994 to William Jefferson Clinton the day they nominated Senator Robert Dole. Dole was not a dynamic and forceful presence to the American electorate but was seen as a old-time politician being nominated for his years of loyal and faithful service to his party. When a party does not put forth a strong and dynamic leader, they deserve to lose.

This month we celebrate the 57th anniversary of the Normandy invasion. History has a way of clouding one's perception . . . but one thing is quite clear. Compromise causes defeats. To win requires strength, leadership and a principled resolve.

Neither the Republican or Democratic parties have those attributes today. Perhaps, it is time for a political realignment based upon principle and conscience.

But then - 'Tis Only My Opinion!

Fred Richards
June 2001

Corruptisima republica plurimae leges. [The more corrupt a republic, the more laws.] -- Tacitus, Annals III 27

This issue of 'Tis Only My Opinion was copyrighted by Adrich Corporation in June 2001.
All rights reserved. Quotation with attribution is encouraged.
Tis Only My Opinion is intended to provoke thinking, then dialogue among our readers.


Tis.gif 'Tis Only My Opinion Archive Menu

Last updated - July 3, 2008