Man Without Qualities

Thursday, November 07, 2002

No Retribution Needed

The New York Times considers the question of "retribution" against Vermont Senator Jim Jeffords, quoting Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform and a prominent conservative strategist, as saying:

"I don't think Republicans will blockade the state of Vermont, but if Jeffords asks for anything and there's any way to say no, then no will be said, because they won't want to give him anything to put in a press release.

But it is certainly not necessary for the United States Senate to deprive the citizens of Vermont of almost any benefit in order to deprive Mr. Jeffords of bragging rights. Vermont just elected a Republican Governor, Jim Douglas. Any federal benefit to Vermont - including those favored by Senator Jeffords - need only be positioned publicly as obtained by Governor Douglas. Senator Jeffords may continue to labor on behalf of his State, and obtain little personal political benefit for his efforts.

Such a strategy won't be nice, but it will pretty much be politics as ususal. Of course, Senator Jeffords reportedly has few personal friends among the Senate Republicans, so one thing he will probably not be able to do very much is convert his personal relationships into federal benefits - but this places him at no more of a disadvantage than any Democrat, and is not "retribution."

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