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An Independent Man: Adventures of a Public Servant

Jeffords, James M, with Daley, Yvonne, and Coffin, Howard

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ISBN 10: 074322843X / ISBN 13: 9780743228435
Published by Simon & Schuster, New York, 2003
Condition: Very good Hardcover
From Ground Zero Books, Ltd. (Silver Spring, MD, U.S.A.)

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x, [2], 336 p. Illustrations. Index. Jeffords made international news when he bolted the Republican Party in 2001 and gave the Democrats control of the U.S. Senate. Fascinating, proud, and replete with the common sense wisdom that has made Jeffords a hero to so many Americans, "An Independent Man" is a testament to change. From Wikipedia: "James Merrill "Jim" Jeffords (born May 11, 1934) is a former U.S. Senator from Vermont. Sworn in to the Senate in 1989, he served as a Republican until 2001, when he left the party to become an Independent and began caucusing with the Democrats. He retired from the Senate in 2007. Prior to the Senate, he served as the U.S. Representative for Vermont's At-large congressional district from 1975 to 1989.Even before switching parties, Jeffords' voting record was moderate-to-liberal, which has long been typical of Republicans from Vermont. By the time of his switch, no Republican Senator had a lower lifetime score from the American Conservative Union. In 1981, Jeffords was the only Republican member of the House to vote against a bill reducing the top tax rate from 70 per cent to 50 per cent a hallmark of President Ronald Reagan's legacy. During his time in the Senate, he voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1991, the Brady Bill, the Family and Medical Leave Act, an end to the ban on gays serving in the military, and against permanent normal trade relations with China and barring affirmative action at the federal level. Jeffords was also vocal in his opposition to the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the United States Supreme Court by President George H.W. Bush. He was one of only two Republicans to vote against confirming Clarence Thomas. In 1993, he was the only prominent Republican to support President Clinton's unsuccessful attempt to establish a national healthcare plan. Jefford's voting record and positions on environmental issues put further distance between himself and his Republican Party colleagues. Jeffords consistently voted against the ban on partial-birth abortion, and also against a harsher line on Cuba. In 1995 he was one of only 16 Senators to vote against the Communications Decency Act. The Supreme Court later struck it down as unconstitutional. Jeffords highly advocated LGBT rights in the workplace. He sponsored The Employee Non Discrimination Act of 1995 (104th Congress), 1997 (105th Congress), and 1999 (106th Congress). Jeffords Non Discrimination bills did not include "gender identity." He was in the minority of Republicans to oppose the Flag Desecration Amendment. On guns his record was mixed, despite voting for the Brady Bill and the Assault Weapons Ban, he voted with gun control opponents against background checks at gun shows in 1999 and he voted with the majority of Congress for the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. He took a more moderate line on the death penalty. On many economic issues Jeffords was roughly in line with the majority of the Republican Party, before and after his switch: he mostly supported free-trade agreements, voted for making enforcement of consumer protection laws more difficult by moving many class-action lawsuits into federal courts, tighter bankruptcy rules, and a Balanced Budget Amendment. Even after becoming an independent, he did vote with Republicans on many major pieces of legislation. For example, Jeffords did vote against the Bipartisan Patient Protection Act, a bill supported strongly by Republican John McCain and many moderate Republicans like Olympia Snowe, Arlen Specter, and Mike DeWine. Two years later he voted for the prescription drug bill, derided by many Democrats as a give away to drug companies and opposed by many conservative Republicans who opposed further federal spending, but ultimately strongly supported by President George W. Bush, and the vast majority of the Republican Party. On October 11, 2002, Jeffords was one of 23 senators to vote against authorizing the use of military force in Iraq. Shortly after that, he. Bookseller Inventory # 66898

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Bibliographic Details

Title: An Independent Man: Adventures of a Public ...

Publisher: Simon & Schuster, New York

Publication Date: 2003

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: Very good

Dust Jacket Condition: very good

Edition: First edition. First printing [stated].

About this title


Senator Jim Jeffords's disarmingly frank memoir recounts his idyllic small-town childhood in Rutland, Vermont, his somewhat unruly adolescence, putting himself through Yale University with the help of NROTC, traveling the world during his three-year navy service, and his courtship of Elizabeth Daley when he was a Harvard Law School student.
In his first term as Vermont state senator, he supported welfare bills and environmental protection. As Vermont's attorney general, he helped draft and then implement some of the most important legislation in the nation - the bottle bill, ban on billboards, and land protection.
When he was elected to the House of Representatives, he was so broke that he lived in his office. During his congressional years, Jeffords concerned himself with issues of education, energy, and dairy farming. He was the only Republican to vote against Ronald Reagan's budget. He supported Bill Clinton's Health Care Reform and opposed his impeachment. Jeffords's disagreements with the second Bush administration and the Republican leadership led to his decision to leave the party. In My Declaration of Independence, Jeffords wrote about his decision to quit the Republican Party. Now, in this memoir, he tells us more about who he is and what he believes in and what led him to that decision.
He concludes with a section on how we must rebuild America after September 11 and why we must improve our education system.


One of the unintended consequences of this memoir by Vermont senator James Jeffords is a blunt reminder that the tides of history are relentless. While its narrative wends inexorably towards Jeffords's courageous defection from the GOP in May 2001 (a move that denied Republicans control of the Senate and threatened the conservative agenda of the George W. Bush administration), that drama was ultimately undercut by the midterm elections of '02, which unexpectedly threw control of both houses of Congress to the Vermont senator's former party before his book was even published. But cruel historical fate hardly detracts from Jeffords's story of a life driven by conscience, courage, and true compassionate conservatism.

Indeed, its plainspoken, often self-effacing tone may make one yearn for more politicians naïve--or committed--enough to put long-term public policy ahead of lockstep party politics. The senator may have risen from the privileges afforded the son of the Chief Justice of the Vermont State Supreme Court (meager though they seem in his telling), but his conscience and sense of duty seem more informed by his state's own rich historical traditions and a distinctly Capra-esque view of politics and human nature that's as full of optimism as it is anachronistic. Political passions--education, the environment, health care, equality for the disabled--are tempered by disappointments of a more human scale, his exile from the Singing Senators (a quartet that included now-Attorney General Ashcroft and Senator Trent Lott) but one example of a political pettiness Jeffords views as more worthy of a grade school playground than the halls of Congress. As insiders' tales go, it's low-key and virtually dirt-free, a folksy reminder that Machiavelli was definitely not from Vermont. --Jerry McCulley

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