I've been a Republican for 30 years. I was reared a Democrat but felt the party abandoned me in the 1970s. I am a Ronald Reagan conservative and would be a "Dixiecrat" if I were a Democrat today.
Problem is, now the GOP has abandoned me. I had a preacher friend once say, "The two parties are divided between `sinners' and `Pharisees.' Which group did Jesus get along with?"
I served as a Republican state senator in Maryland, but I am no fan of George Bush, Dick Cheney or Karl Rove. They talk like Reagan Republicans, but they don't govern like Reagan. They only care about one thing: power. A lot of us Ronald Reagan types want to see them out of office as badly as Democrats do.
If I were a Democrat, I'd be giddy about my party's prospects for taking back the government. But I'd also remember that arrogance is why Democrats lost in 1994, and arrogance is why Republicans will lose in 2006.
If I were a Democrat, I wouldn't make a home for gay militants. I would oppose discrimination regarding housing or jobs, but I would ignore their demands for gay marriage.
If I were a Democrat, I'd do what Sen. Hillary Clinton is doing: make speeches about reducing the number of abortions. Democrat Bob Casey is pro-life, and he'll probably beat Sen. Rick Santorum in Pennsylvania.
If I were a Democrat, I'd ignore the extreme gun-grabbers. I'd go after the criminals, not the good citizens. Mark Warner of Virginia is a Democrat who was elected governor right after he earned the NRA's endorsement.
If I were a Democrat, I'd stop imitating Republicans who are addicted to corporate PAC money. Ban PACs in this country once and for all. American job markets were outsourced by trade agreements bought with PAC money.
Finally, I'd enact term limits. Do what's best for America: Save us from you. Even the best of public servants, in time, become arrogant as incumbents.
Do this, and Republicans will not only vote for you - some may even join you. The GOP will discover this next week. After all, many Republicans started out as Democrats, as did Ronald Reagan.
We switched once to protect America, and we can do it again.
Timothy R. Ferguson represented Frederick and Carroll counties in the Maryland Senate from 1995 to 2003. His e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.