Jeffords, McCain and the GOP
In the wake of Vermont senator Jim Jeffords' departure from the Republican party, Arizona's John McCain has declared that he is not going to leave the GOP.
That's too bad. The Republicans would be better off without him. If President Shrub wishes to truly make his mark on history, he should consider excommunicating McCain from the party, the way that William F. Buckley, Jr. has excommunicated otherwise fellow-travelers from the Official Conservative Movement.TM
Now, like "independent" Congressman Bernie Sanders of Vermont (a socialist, who runs under the most similar party label — the Democrats'), Jeffords can be a better advocate for...extorting 49 other states to provide free federal tax dollars for dairy farmers in his own state. Ah, the sweet smell of pork.
Rather than the good versus evil story told by the media, the Jeffords defection is merely what one expects when the polity is divided right down the middle. There are no foreign devils to frighten the United States — the best efforts of the xenophobe crowd notwithstanding in the recent China imbroglio. Despite the economic slowdown — itself the unavoidable consequence of the loose monetary policies of the Clinton administration — Americans are not faring too badly. And so there is not much to excite the voting public. Roughly 30% of the voters are Republicans, 30% are Democrats, and the other 40% identify with neither party, preferring to hold on to their wallets and their freedom in the hopes that the Republicans and Democrats will beat each other to death and leave us all in peace.
In such a political environment, when our red, white and blue striped sugar daddy, Uncle Sam, is cutting back on the dime bags he throws to his "friends," one must pursue other avenues for power. A retrenching federal government is nowhere to go for quick, glitzy, photo ops.
And so Jim Jeffords — who voted with the Republican party perhaps 8% of the time (yes, eight percent — making Jeffords a "RINO," i.e. a Republican in Name Only) — has become an "independent."
Jeffords is independent like Mao was independent of Stalin. He may not dance when he's told to dance, but it makes little difference in practice. Jim Jeffords is not exactly Tom Paine. He is not a known proponent of limited government.
In other words, the Republicans only wanted to keep Jim Jeffords in the party because he gave them a majority. In giving them a majority, he gave them control of the Committees of Congress, where the real power lies. Jeffords is no fool. He has played kingmaker. That should put him in an upcoming version of Trivial Pursuit, at the very least.
In that regard, the Republicans should actively encourage Napoleon McCain to leave. The tyrant of Arizona actually declared in his 2000 presidential campaign that Americans were "rich enough," and that they therefore did not need a tax break. I'm sorry, but as near as I can tell, it is no business of John McCain or any government — state, local, or federal — to decide how much of their own property people are allowed to keep.
As if that was not enough, following in the shoes of John Adams (the second president), who nullified the First Amendment with passage of the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798, McCain would now nullify the First Amendment with his campaign finance "reform" legislation restricting political advertising. I am hopeful that London odds-makers will take bets on how quickly the Supreme Court acts to strike down McCain's pet legislation.
Want to reform the finances of senate campaigns? Repeal the 17th Amendment, and let the state legislatures once again appoint their senators, as the constitution provided until amended by the Tinkerer of Tinkerers, Mr. Progressive "I know what's good for you much better than you do" himself, Woodrow Wilson. Not only would this mean no money spent on senate races, this would help to even the balance of power between the states and the all-powerful centralized empire of Washington, DC. (As an aside, would the New York State Legislature have appointed Hillary Clinton to the US Senate?)
Finally, for those who continue to question whether the media is really biased in favor the Left, here's how the Washington Post reported on Jeffords' defection:
The defection of Sen. James M. Jeffords, the Vermont Republican who announced Thursday he was becoming an independent, is the most glaring example of the difficulties facing the Republican Party in its struggle to hold together a fragile coalition under a party leadership dominated by conservative white southern men.
Those Satans! How dare the Republican party be led by "conservative white southern men." If only the Republicans were led by homosexual black northern women, then the media might approve of Republican policies. Well, not really, but at least some Republicans are duped easily enough to fall for this shtick. Sam Francis does not call the Republican party "the Stupid Party" for nothing.
Even if the Republican party were dominated by homosexual black northern women, the media would heap scorn on them. Conservative blacks such as Clarence Thomas and J.C. Watts already are routinely denounced, quite disgustingly, as "Uncle Toms." Never mind that Clarence Thomas grew up in dire poverty in Georgia and worked his way up to be one of the best justices on the current supreme court. He is not for federal handouts as a solution to every problem imaginable, and so he must be demonized. The same goes for J.C. Watts. The Leftists who demonize Thomas and Watts are the same Leftists, allegedly "for women's rights" and "feminism" who drove Bob Packwood out of office while giving Bill "hold my cigar" Clinton a free pass for worse transgressions.
So traditionalists, conservatives and classical liberals should take heart at the defection of Jim Jeffords. His departure perhaps may help the Republican party to define itself as the party of limited government. The Republicans having already lost control of the senate, the departure of McCain might actually be a good thing. Time well tell.
June 4, 2001
Mr. Dieteman [send him mail] is an attorney in Erie, Pennsylvania, and a PhD candidate in philosophy at The Catholic University of America.
© 2001 David Dieteman