Letters to MotherJones

Beat GOP at their own game
Re: “Voter Traitor”
6/29/01

What are we seeking here — perfection? Rall obviously doesn’t feel flattened by the Bush juggernaut the way the rest of us do. Yes, the left is idealistic and will remain so, but we will also fight with the kind of weapons the Republicans don’t hesitate to employ. Party switcher or not, welcome to anyone who can help us!

Joan Lee
St. Charles, Mo.


 

Jeffords is not Kennedy
Re: “Voter Traitor”
6/28/01

Is anyone concerned that Mr. Rall would compare Jeffords’ switch from the GOP to Kennedy switching to the GOP? Apples and oranges, Mr. Rall. Kennedy switching would be wrong because it would clearly violate his long-held beliefs. Jeffords has a progressive voting record that places him to the right of conservative Democrats like John Breaux. Jeffords didn’t just wake up one day and decide that his views had changed.

Norris Cummingham

 

Better than nothing
Re: “Voter Traitor”
6/28/01

You castigate Jeffords for abandoning the Republicans in protest of their right-wing, extremist, foolhardy policies, but you completely ignore the utter hypocrisy of Bush’s “compassionate conservative” rhetoric. You criticize someone who displays some integrity, rather than criticizing those who display none.

Jeff Melton

 

GOP changed, not Jeffords
Re: “Voter Traitor”
6/27/01

Ted Rall should stick to cartoons. His article on Jeffords is off the mark.

Senator Jeffords has repeatedly emphasized that he has not changed his core beliefs. The Republican Party (indeed the bulk of American politics) has spent the past 20 years shifting ever farther to the right. Jeffords finally reached his breaking point and couldn’t continue in the company of today’s Republican Party, which, if magically transplanted into the political landscape of 150 years ago, would easily be considered the party of Lincoln’s adversaries. (Our US Attorney General is a closet Confederate despite all the lessons of history and a world now fully aware of crimes against humanity.)

Jeffords’ refusal to be herded any farther right by the Republican mob is an exceptional display of moral courage and character. More importantly, it’s a wake-up call.

Keeto Shamir

 

Principles over parties
Re: “Voter Traitor”
6/27/01

I think Rall could not be more off the mark on Jeffords. Every election we hear the freethinking electorate proclaim, “I vote for the person, not the party.” Conservative and progressive groups insist to their members their endorsements are made on the issues, not the party affiliation of their candidates. Well, now someone has put their rhetoric to the test.

Kurt Vorndran

 

A noble sentiment, but I think one must consider two things. Firstly, Jeffords would certainly have been re-elected to the Senate regardless of his party affiliation. (Read the polls — and consider that Vermont has a socialist representative in Congress, etc.)

Secondly, Jeffords made no ideological shift; rather, he made a party shift. (He has always been quite moderate.) Additionally, even if it were an ideological shift, to call it immoral and dangerous for our system of government seems absurd and ignorant of history.

Chris Seeley

 

Ted Rall bases his reasonable argument on an unreasonable assumption: that the label is more important than the issues.

The reality is more complex than the author’s one-dimensional argument. Jim Jeffords recognized that the agenda he had always sought to promote as a moderate Republican was no longer served by his affiliation with the Republican Party, whereas the Democrats have moved so close to center that they are now much closer to him on the issues.

Jeffords therefore gave the issues higher priority than the labels. This is a mark of true leadership, not betrayal. He may have betrayed the party, but he did not betray the people or the principles.

Mark S. Moore

 

What about round two?
Re: “Cast Adrift”
6/25/01

After such an “aborted” try at helping the women in Ireland (like the woman who was raped), it would be interesting to see if these people truly believe in their project enough to do it right. They should leave no stone unturned, so when they show up in the harbor, the women can trust that what is needed will be done. If they don’t do anything that is a shame and would be a great story proving how, even with the best intentions, more harm than good is caused through carelessness. And if they manage to regroup it would be great to hear about their success. Thanks for the article.

Shirley Keller

 

New Green Deal’s big opponents
Re: “A New Green Deal”
6/24/01

I wonder how much energy could be saved nationwide if our businesses would cut half of their lighting during closing hours. In addition, all advertising signs could be turned off after three A.M. or so.

David Orlando

 

GOP went away from Jeffords
Re: “Voter Traitor”
6/23/01

I think it’s ridiculous that people look at Jeffords as a traitor. Everyone is out there trying to classify him. Hopefully his political views haven’t changed just because he defected from the Republican Party. My opinion is that the views of the Republican Party no longer matched up with Jeffords’ so he took the opportunity to make a statement to the masses. We should not vote on people based on party membership — we should vote on candidates based on their individual viewpoints and political record.

Jason Engstrom
Joplin, Mo.


 

Jeffords’ Machiavellian maneuver
Re: “Voter Traitor”
6/23/01

I agree that he’s a backstabbing, opportunistic traitor. But he’ll get what he wants: a nice chairmanship and continuation of his milk subsidy at the expense of poor families.

Fred Marcus

 

Jeffords shows Vermont-style independence
Re: “Voter Traitor”
6/23/01

I am a native Vermonter who has voted in local, state and national elections since 1974. I am registered with no party, but here one can vote in primary elections for either of the two “major” parties.

I have voted for and against Jim Jeffords. I take exception with your statement that he was elected by Republicans. Jim Jeffords has always been elected by Vermonters, his party affiliation notwithstanding. Many registered Democrats have consistently voted for Jeffords, members of my immediate family included. He represents Vermont and not the Republican Party. Bernie Sanders (Vermont’s House member), whom I have voted for many times, represents Vermont. Pat Leahy (Vermont’s other Senator) represents Vermont. Why do so many people find it wrong for a politician to represent his or her constituents, rather than a political party? I would have thought that Mother Jones would not fall into the partisanship trap that is poisoning politics.

Christopher Hill
Burlington, Vt.


 

Democratic Senate settles the gasoline market
Re: “Voter Traitor”
6/23/01

I think we should all thank Senator Jeffords. Gasoline prices in my area have fallen over 50 cents per gallon since the Democrats retook the US Senate.

Greg Tomblin

 

Bush left Jeffords only one choice
Re: “Voter Traitor”
6/23/01

Senators Jeffords’ decisive switch could well be repeated by a party switch from Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine, or any of several other moderate Republicans, in both the House and Senate. The sad truth is that Bush ran on a moderate theme, and has proceeded to govern from the right. He has ignored the voices of the moderate members of his party at nearly every opportunity. The drill, kill, and consume philosophy applied to energy and resources management, makes it perfectly clear why such a defection was not only wise, but absolutely necessary. I only hope the Republican voters Jeffords has enraged are replaced by Democrats who value his stand, and who will vote Jeffords next time around.

S.F. Keating