Reviewing poll numbers which show that even as Republicans leads in generic matchups against Democrats, the GOP has still failed to regain the positive image it enjoyed frequently in the mid-1990s and occasionally in the early 2000s, I realize that our party still has not recovered to the damage the “brand” suffered in the concluding years of the Bush Administration.
At the same time, polls have shown that the ideas which undergirded the Reagan Revolution have gained greater favor among the American people.
In other words, people like the basic Republican ideas, but don’t yet trust the GOP to promote them and enact legislation consistent with them once in office. It’s why I believe my party needs a new Contract with America, not the same as that successful document from 1994 — one that helped the GOP regain (after a 40-year hiatus) a congressional majority and whose planks the Democratic President of the United States cited as his accomplishments when he accepted his party’s nomination in 1996.
In a renewed contract, Republicans could acknowledge its failures in recent years and say something like “We understand that you [the American people] held us to the ideas behind that Contract and when we abandoned them, you voted us out. We know that should we again stray from the small-government policies, you can — and likely will — do the same.”
Just such a Contract would go a long way to showing that Republicans recognize that they made errors in the past and could help improve their standing with the American people.