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The Tally Ho

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Jeffords to Resign

Independant Senator James Jeffords of Vermont, whose defection from the Republican Party roiled the political scene in the spring of 2001, will announce today that he will not seek another term. He is 71 years old and not in particularly good health, an apparently does not feel up to a bruising political campaign.
If Mr. Jeffords retires at the end of his third term, intriguing political possibilities would arise. It would not be surprising, for instance, if Howard Dean, the former Vermont governor whose presidential campaign soared early and flamed out almost as suddenly, decided to try for Mr. Jeffords's seat. Mr. Dean is now the chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

. . .

"Increasingly, I find myself in disagreement with my party," Mr. Jeffords said in 2001. "I understand that many people are more conservative than I am, and they form the Republican Party. Given the changing nature of the national party, it has become a struggle for our leaders to deal with me and for me to deal with them."

Mr. Jeffords is described in the Almanac of American Politics as one of President Bill Clinton's favorite Republicans. He was the only Republican in Congress who supported Mr. Clinton's ambitious and ultimately futile health-care plan. He left the Republican Party after refusing to go along with all of President Bush's tax cuts in 2001.

I was never a big fan of Howard Dean's presidential campaign, but I feel he would make a fine Senator. I hope he runs.

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