Notes: Power shifts from the Republicans to the Democrats in the United States Senate this week. The power shift is the culmination of Vermont Senator Jim Jeffords leaving the GOP to become an independent. Chairmanships of committees will go to Democrats allowing them to have power in setting the Senate's agenda. In other words, George W. Bush can no longer set the timing for what comes up in the Senate without the Democrats consent. However, Bush showed an ability to build coalitions between parties when he was governor of Texas and many expect him to do so now president. Such an approach would require Bush to move to the center where the majority of Americans are and so could prove to be a political asset to him.

Because the Senate is made up of 50 Democrats, 49 Republicans and one independent, compromises will have to be worked out on legislation since some senators will cross the aisle and vote with the other party. Still, many analysts believe that Bush will move from the right to the center in an effort to build coalitions to get legislation passed. There are signs of this already with his staff setting up meetings for Bush with leading Democrats. Moreover, the Bush staff now has gotten its welcome to Washington with the shake-up. One political science professor said that every new White House staff thinks it is more powerful than it is and cannot fathom the pluralism of American politics until it runs into its first problems.

Spicing matters up, Arizona Senator John McCain has is meeting with Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle this weekend in Arizona. The subject of switching parties is likely to come up. McCain, a thorn in Bush's side, is reported by the Washington Post to be considering an independent run for president in 2004 if his legislation gets derailed by conservative Republicans or the White House. One scenario is for McCain to stay with the Republicans to build a moderate force within the party. 06.03.01