U.S. Sen. James Jeffords, I-Vermont

AP: Jeffords resolves to leave GOP, ending Republican control of Senate. Stung by the potential defection, the White House urgently contacted longtime Jeffords’ donors and political supporters Tuesday, hoping they could persuade the senator to stay in the GOP. Officials also said they were redoubling their efforts to persuade Democratic Sen. Zell Miller of Georgia to become a Republican, in hopes of countering any move by Jeffords.

I was living in Vermont when Jim Jeffords first went to Congress. He was an honorable and independent person then, and he still is.

That won’t make the slightest difference to the zealots who now utterly control the Republican Party, with which Jeffords has had less and less in common in recent times. Watch for a slime-fest as the Republicans and their followers trash Jeffords, who left their ranks after they heaped one too many insults on him and his view of public service.

Note that Jeffords isn’t becoming a Democrat. He’s making official what has been his strength for years — his independence.

Vermonters should be proud today.


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