A cold assessment of the GOP 2010 starting line

A friend sent a link to a news item with the following note:

“Independents swinging against Dems – but not too thrilled with Republicans, either.

22% approval? Down 10% since January? Shouldn’t Pelosi get some sort of achievement award for that? How about a hearing aid?

Note the bit at the end about only 40% of voters supporting their incumbent – unlike the usual pattern of complaining about Congress in general, but not about their own representative.”

The state and national situation are similar. The environment leads to the expectation of Republican gains. However, polls continue to show that the GOP still carries with it a bad reputation based on its performance the last time it held power both here and in Washington, D.C. To successfully move beyond that – it need only repent of past failures, and then aggressively sell a credible plan that gets us out of the mess they helped create.

John Stossel posted a short piece the other day titled “Fiscal Responsibility is No Fun.” Of course his point is easy to understand, but since unsustainable spending and debt is really no fun, I’d argue fiscal responsibility is fun. What might not be fun for politicians is finding the courage to back up their rhetoric about fiscal responsibility.

This is from the Republican nominee for Illinois Governor’s website:

“Senator Brady believes the state must begin exercising real fiscal discipline to balance the budget and to stop spending money the state does not have. He believes the entire state spending plan should be deconstructed and rebuilt to reflect a budget plan that balances the needs of the citizens of Illinois with their ability and willingness to pay.”

Now it’s all up to Bill Brady to muster the courage and do his homework so that when he is asked to defend and explain that impressive paragraph, what he says and how he says it will be believable. A lot of voters have built in b.s.-detectors, and the ability that got Bill to the state senate isn’t enough to get him to the governor’s mansion. The same need for improvement applies to GOP legislative candidates who also tout fiscal discipline.

They might all be starting from a weakened position but they’ve got over seven months to improve their game. There is plenty of time for soul searching, research, learning, and then selling.

The good news is that despite the fact that polls continue to show Republican Party “brand” damage, independents are souring on national Democrats rapidly. How that could be mirrored here in Illinois depends upon how serious Republicans are prepared to be about their message.

Reports out of the Springfield GOP caucuses are that a mostly united front might be forming to reject tax increases. While that is encouraging, the problem is many of those same Republicans voted for a tax increase just last May. Not exactly credibility enhancing, that.

©2010 John Francis Biver