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My Declaration of Independence

By James M. Jeffords
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Book Details
  • Author: James M. Jeffords
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Published: 2001-11-19
  • Edition: First Edition
Senator James Jeffords of Vermont left the Republican Party on May 24, 2001, when he could no longer reconcile his beliefs with the policies of the party he had supported his whole adult life. "Looking ahead," Jeffords said, "I can see more and more instances where I will disagree with the President on very fundamental issues."

In "My Declaration of Independence," Jeffords explains the issues that led to this dramatic break. Foremost among them was the Bush Administration's and the Republican leadership's failure to recognize the need to invest in education, now and in the future.

Tracing the genesis of his decision, Jeffords describes his attempts to effect change within his party, and the pain of hurting Republican colleagues and friends. His decision came just at the moment when his defection would deprive them of the Washington trifecta they had recently achieved -- Republican control of the White House, the Senate, and the House of Representatives. It was also going to cost many of his friends committee chairmanships they had acquired only a few months before. "But in the end," he writes, "I had to be true to what I thought was right, and leave the consequences to sort themselves out in the days ahead."

In a contemporary "Profiles in Courage," Senator Jeffords provides a moving, witty, and instructive example of what can happen in public life. Whether you agree with his views or not, his account of his tough decisions, and of his anguish at rejecting the last-minute appeals of the leadership of his party, the President, and his wife, is a riveting story that has wide implications for the whole country.

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