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The Earth is Flat Award

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web posted May 28, 2001

It's a heck of a thing to leave a group you've belonged to for decades, if only in name. Vermont Senator Jim Jeffords did just that last week, something that has shifted the entire balance of power in the Senate.

As Nicholas Sanchez points out, Jeffords was a liberal...or as denizens of Free Republic love to say, a RINO (Republican in name only). "He is a greenie, a fervent supporter of abortion, a foe of the 2nd Amendment, a big tax-and-spender, and on and on, ad infinitum. It is not as if his voting record is going to get more liberal than it already is. That is almost impossible," writes Sanchez.

His reason for leaving is completely disingenuous. Jeffords claims that the Republican Party he knows has disappeared under a Bush Administration, leaving only a group of hard right-wingers to set the party's agenda. This journal isn't sure what party Jeffords remembers, but it is reasonably sure that the Bush Administration can hardly be called extreme.

"The other major legislative achievements poised for passage are the Education Bill - a deeply bipartisan measure crafted by Ted Kennedy and boosting federal education spending by 30 percent - and the campaign Finance Reform Bill, crafted by John McCain. Ashcroft's tenure at Justice has been moderate, bordering on liberal. Environmental policy is barely distinguishable from Clinton's, except for terrible p.r., and a belated recognition that we need more energy sources," wrote Andrew Sullivan on May 25.

"On abortion, which [New York Times writer Rick] Berke dutifully cites, the administration has been completely AWOL. There hasn't even been an attempt at a partial birth abortion ban, perhaps the minimum measure sought by the religious right. The administration is strikingly diverse on racial and gender matters and has reached out to gay Americans."

As Sullivan says, the only evidence of conservatism from the administration is the budget deal and tax cut, something that Jeffords voted for.

Is the three term senator out just for some personal glory as some have accused him of? ESR won't pretend to know his real motivation for abandoning the Republican Party. We do know, however, that his public announcement wasn't completely truthful.

The Vinegar in Freedom Award

There is an old Serbian proverb that says vinegar in freedom tastes better than honey in slavery. This award is meant for events and people Enter Stage Right considers to be positive.

None awarded in June.

Have someone you want considered for the Earth is Flat Award or the Vinegar in Freedom Award? Email ESR with your candidates!

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