Jeffords and the Balance of Power

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The scales are tipping on Capitol Hill.

Vermont Senator Jim Jeffords has departed the Grand Old Party to caucus with the Democrats, giving the donkeys a majority in the Senate. It’s a move that re-draws the landscape on upcoming legislation, on court appointments, and on George W. Bush’s power to push his agenda on Capitol Hill. So, did Jim Jeffords leave the Republican party, or did the party, and the White House, leave him? It’s a chapter in the ever evolving story of political parties in America.

Parties used to be pretty big tents. But today, Republicans and Democrats are increasingly defined along ideological lines, and the moderates, especially on the GOP side of the aisle, are struggling to stay alive. Meanwhile the courting of crossovers continues.
(Hosted by Nina Totenberg)


Sam Hemingway, state news columnist for the Burlington Free Press

Charles Stewart, MIT political science professor

Lowell Weicker, former senator and Connecticut governor

Rick Davis, former campaign manager for John McCain

NPR’s correspondent Steve Inskeep, who has been covering Congress.