The Centrist Doesn't Hold

Isn't it amazing how one low-key defector put the lie to the new G.O.P.?

In the eyes of Washington, Senator Jim Jeffords took on a whole new identity last week. Switching parties is a big deal here, akin to a sex-change operation. But in Vermont, the Jeffords of this week seems little different from last week's--independent, pro-tree, pro-choice, pro-special ed. In the eyes of the country, it's George Bush's identity--consummate professional, protean charmer, reasonable conservative--that has become mottled. Bush campaigned as an adult who would restore not only honor but also professionalism to the White House. No all-night sessions strewn with pizza boxes. He would institute appropriate dress, muted cell phones and meetings that started--and...

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