Friends don’t let friends vote Republican

Brad DeLong is surprised that it took an allegedly criminal conspiracy run out of the White House casually commiting treason (and undermining the effort to rein in weapons of mass destruction and fight terrorism) in the name of a tactical political payback to make some principle Republicans consider abandoning their party. (Reasons Not to Be a Republican.)
I think, as with a combover, or a double-agent, the first compromises are small and easily excusable, and the line is crossed at some point without being noticed, and suddenly you are in bed with ruthless, dangerous people.
As a long-time political independent seriously considering for the first time ever in my life registering as a Democrat, so that I can vote for Howard Dean in the California primary, I’ve had to think about the party bedfellows and the rhetorical strategems I disagree with. It’s no contest. I can stand up to wrong behavior and wrong politics in the Democratic part. I’ll denounce any behavior I think wrong. But at this point, I don’t see how I could work from within the Republican party.
I realize that more than ever the Republicans need progressive-minded principled people to steer their conservative ideology back into the realm of reality and out of the grubby hands of malefactors of great wealth, but I don’t have the stomach for a project like that.
It’s time to throw my lot in with the nominally liberal party and try to bring out both the essence of its ideals and the pragmatism required to wield power and develop constructive, sustainable coalitions to tackle the challenges of living in a great free country.