Illustration by Bob AulSpeaking to Salon.com's Michelle Goldberg and Paul J. Caffera, Senator Jim Jeffords of Vermont described his reasons for leaving the Republican Party in 2001 as "deeply personal and one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made." Now an independent, Jeffords says he "left the Republican Party because I feared the Bush administration and the GOP-controlled Congress was moving too far to the right and not listening to moderate Republicans such as myself. Much of what we have seen since then has only confirmed those fears. We are in a war that we shouldn't be in; the wealthy get tax cuts while our schools get shortchanged; the deficit grows by the day while millions of jobs are lost here at home. Meanwhile, the White House tries to placate the far-right by supporting a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, diverting the nation's attention from where it should be focused. We are headed on the wrong course, and it troubles me deeply."