The Republicans do not want to raise taxes and they don't want to lose the PR war. So they stay home. They announce that the majority of voters agreed with Obama and since they cannot violate the will of those who elected Republicans, in the spirit of not blocking the will of the people, they will allow the Democrats to vote for whatever they want and the Republicans will just stay out of the way. Give the majority what they want. Let the Liberals raise taxes and hand out free money. It's not the Republican's fault--they didn't vote.