One repeatedly hears that some conservatives and Republicans will either vote Democrat or not vote at all -- out of anger at the Republican Party.
According to these Republican holdouts, the Republicans have governed as Democrats-lite by greatly increasing government spending and doing little about illegal immigration. Accordingly, it is better to have liberal government under liberals than liberal government under Republicans, and the Republicans need to be taught a lesson so that in the future they will govern as authentic Republicans.
Conservatives should file this thinking under the heading "Cathartic," but not under "Smart."
One of the great realizations one comes to as the years pass is how small a role reason plays in most people's decisions. From choosing products based on their packaging to deciding how to vote, passion and emotion usually eclipse reason.
Any Republican, let alone conservative, who votes Democrat or stays home out of pique with the Republican Congress or the president has chosen emotion over reason.
Have the Bush administration and Republican Congress spent too much money? Of course. And it really is quite annoying. Nothing unites conservative and moderate Republicans as does opposition to big government.
So it is not surprising that so many Republicans are furious at the increases in government spending, such as the staggeringly expensive Medicare prescription drug plan.
Add to this the fury of the conservative base of the Republican Party at the administration's apparent apathy toward illegal "immigration," and you have an Election Day problem.
Now, regarding spending, I share Republicans' anger. Republicans who don't control government spending do far more harm than Democrats who don't. Why? Because when the smaller-government party expands government, those who believe in smaller government have nowhere to turn.
Nevertheless, if it were not for the Bush administration, we never would have gotten the substantial tax cuts that have led to such a robust economy (especially impressive in light of the costs of the war in Iraq and of Katrina).
As for illegal immigration, here, too, I identify with those who are frustrated that Republicans have not done more while in control of both the executive and legislative branches of government. But at least President Bush has signed a bill authorizing the building of a 700-mile fence along the U.S.-Mexico border. No Democratic president would do that. If you care about reducing illegal immigration, isn't that reason enough to prevent the Democrats from gaining power?