Tags: Jeffords | Teaches | GOP | Lesson

Jeffords Teaches GOP a Lesson

Tuesday, 29 May 2001 12:00 AM

I had two political sages in the car with me at the time. One was a long-serving state senator from Detroit and a former UAW labor leader. The other was a life-long Republican working on the staff of then-Gov. William Milliken. I was fresh out of Washington University in St. Louis, full of ambition and ready to make my mark in the political world.

Here is what they both told me 30 years ago:

At the risk of sounding presumptuous, I would suggest those at the White House and on Capitol Hill review these two basic lessons and immediately put them into practice; Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles could have seen the defection coming.

The White House and the Senate leadership ignored the interest of Sen. Jeffords and didn't listen to messages he kept trying to send them. They received his concerns with smugness and political insults.

In America a member of Congress has a right to his or her beliefs, as we all do, without being portrayed as the "RuPaul of American politics," "jackasses" or "Benedict Jeffords." They make great sound bites for right-wing talk radio, but have no place in the give-and-take of the governance of our country.

The same bunch that insulted Sen. Jeffords gloated about Democrats who switched political parties and were hailed by conservatives as intelligent and thoughtful elected officials. Gloating when you win, whining when you lose is a very juvenile way of behaving.

I'm not a neophyte to partisan politics. It is a rough and tough business, pursued by the roughest and toughest individuals, playing for the highest stakes. Sen. Jeffords has reinforced a third lesson I learned:

The jail hosted groups of students to deter them from committing crimes. The real crime is the lack of common sense used by the teachers and jail employees. All are being investigated. If found guilty they should be sent back to that same jail and locked up for a few weeks, after being strip-searched.

It should be noted that Monica has no interest in selling the dress. The dress is still in the possession of the independent counsel's office. The real question is who is so possessed with the drippings of former President Bill Clinton's DNA that they would want this soiled dress.

Where would you display it, alongside the autographed No. 32 USC jersey of O.J. Simpson? As Don King would say, "Only in America."

He had Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). With the help of his teachers, family and counselors, he graduated from high school with honors, attended Hampton University in Virginia on a full scholarship and recently graduated from George Washington University Medical School.

"A strong person has faith that he is strong enough for the journey … but a person of strength has faith that it is in the journey that he will become strong."

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I had two political sages in the car with me at the time. One was a long-serving state senator from Detroit and a former UAW labor leader. The other was a life-long Republican working on the staff of then-Gov. William Milliken. I was fresh out of Washington University in...
Jeffords,Teaches,GOP,Lesson
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2001-00-29
Tuesday, 29 May 2001 12:00 AM
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