For anyone passingly familiar with Jeffords' record, his defection was about as earth-shattering as Truman Capote coming out of the closet.
Jeffords voted against President Clinton's impeachment. He opposed Clarence Thomas and Robert Bork. He was a big fan of Hillary's socialist health-care plan, which was such an unprecedented federal takeover of private industry that even the Democrats finally blanched. Not Jeffords. Needless to say, he is also pro-abortion.
Jeffords opposed Bush's tax cut -- along with "moderate Democrats," as The New York Times described them. (The "liberal Democrats" must have been the ones calling for deeper cuts.) Indeed, Jeffords opposes all tax cuts. He even opposed Reagan's tax cut.
Jeffords explained his recent exit thus: "Increasingly, I find myself in disagreement with my party." Note "increasingly." He had endured Reagan, but just couldn't take it anymore under Bush.
The "big tent" may accommodate a lot of kooks, but if the Republican Party doesn't stand for tax cuts, there's no tent: The Republican Party is just a random assemblage of people -- tax-cutters, tax-gougers, whatever. The only reason Northeastern liberals like Jeffords call themselves "Republicans" is class snobbery. They disdain Democrats, whom they view as the dirty working class, and think being a Republican should entail nothing more than thrashing the servants.
At least Jeffords was predictable. He was, in fact, as comically predictable as the media's reaction to him. For his utterly typecast positions as a Northeastern tax-and-spend liberal, the entire press corps hailed Jeffords as a "maverick" who "has always played against type," as The New York Times chirped.
In addition to "maverick," references to Jeffords must include the adjective "flinty." The establishment press's admiring use of the word "flinty" in reference to sell-out Northeastern Republicans is as inevitable as the tabloids' use of "luscious" to describe Hollywood starlets.