The big political news story of the day is that Jim Jeffords, the Republican Senator from Vermont, is widely expected to become Jim Jeffords, the Democratic Senator from Vermont. This, of course, would throw the balance of power in the Senate over to the Democrats, giving them a 51-49 advantage. (The Republicans are supposedly putting the full court press on first term Democratic Senator Zell Miller from Georgia in hopes of getting him to defect and even things out again.) Anyway, while you might think that I’d be happy about Jeffords’ defection, it actually makes me kind of sad, because it pounds another nail into the coffin of the “liberal Republican.” There are tons of conservative Democrats in Congress, but there are fewer and fewer liberal Republicans — generally northeasterners who are more liberal on social issues than your standard issue right winger. At one time, these guys dominated the Republican party, but they are hurtling toward insignificance. It’s too bad, really.