Vermont Senator James Jeffords followed his conscience out of the Grand Old Party, and the Dems now control the Senate. Meanwhile, 98-year-old Republican Senator Strom Thurmond, who is third in line to the presidency, is increasingly disoriented, in and out of the hospital and unable to take the Senate floor without aides at each elbow. Locally, escapades with his ex-girlfriend have Doug Dean, Colorado Springs Republican and speaker of the House, in hot water.
Novelist and consultant
What's gonna happen now that the Dems control the Senate? If Bush is for bipartisan leadership, like he claims, this is his golden opportunity.
Sen. Jeffords said his conscience required him to leave the Republican Party. What would happen if more congressmen obeyed their conscience? That's a tough one. It's not often you think of conscience and politics simultaneously. I think Clinton's intervention in the Balkans was a conscience call, and it cost him politically.
Will Thurmond finish his term? He reminds me of the Spanish dictator, Franco, who took about 25 years to die. Party politics aside, this is an issue of able representation. The moral thing for someone in Thurmond's condition is to step down. That would hold equally true for someone whose politics I find more palatable.
Have Doug Dean's escapades shown him to be unfit for office? We all have mistakes in our past and mistakes in our future, but deficiency of character should always be subject to close scrutiny and stricture. Dean is no different.
What should Doug Dean do after he's no longer Colorado speaker of the House? I admire Gandhi's idea that a person who has caused suffering should atone for it by contributing significantly to the opposite behavior. It would be a wonderful way for Dean to address his problem with women by doing something to promote the protection of women from violent men.
What's gonna happen now that the Dems control the Senate? I'm glad it's happening, but I don't think it will change much of anything.
What would happen if more congressmen followed their conscience instead of party-line dictates? There'd be improvement across the board. We'd have a lot fewer environmental concerns.
Will Strom Thurmond make it to the end of his term? Probably not. He's declining too rapidly. He should step down before he falls down.
Doug Dean says it was a "mistake" to break into his ex-girlfriend's house with a screwdriver. What tool should he have used? His cell phone, maybe? Why didn't he just call her and ask her to put his stuff outside? It was stupid to break in and then chase her down the block.
Conservatives denounced Clinton's escapades with women and claimed it made him unfit to govern. Does the same hold for Dean? In my opinion, yes.
What should Dean do after he's no longer speaker of the House? Manage a McDonald's franchise. He'd make a lot of money and we could keep tabs on him.