I'll allow the article to speak for itself. Jeffords was a class act, as even a resident of New Hampshire (me) can attest; but his choice to become an Independent was among the classiest of political acts, as it kept a President of his own party from acting on his most egregious impulses -- at least for a couple of years. Jeffords was a Vermonter first, a Senator second, and a (moderate) Republican third. I thanked you then, Jim, and I thank you again now.
Here's is Jeffords' Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/...
And an article from the Vermont Burlington Free press about his decision to turn Independent in 2001: http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/... . Here's how it begins:
After struggling with his conscience for six weeks, an emotional Sen. James Jeffords on Thursday left the Republican Party and became an independent, saying he no longer felt at home in the party he has loved all his life.
Jeffords' centrist Republicanism -- the party of "moderation, tolerance and fiscal responsibility" -- is gone, the anguished 67-year-old senator lamented.
Saying that "independence is the Vermont way," he returned to the Green Mountain State seeking understanding and support while acknowledging his decision would infuriate President Bush and some GOP colleagues in Washington.