After betraying the American trust in the Republican brand, Americans booted Republicans from power in 2006. The Republicans flopped around ignoring the obvious. So Americans booted them again in 2008. Republicans still didn't get it. They picked moderate mealy-mouthed candidates. So, the Tea Party picked new ones and pushed back against a recalcitrant Republican party.
What didn't they get? Republicans didn't get that by expanding government, participating in government take-overs of private business, and bailing out irresponsible industries, they destroyed their own brand. Republicans stood for small government, personal responsibility, and low taxation. They voted against these core tenets over and over. Voters were not pleased.
Republicans now say they got the message.
They made promises trying to woo frustrated voters back. One of them was that they'd cut 100 billion from the new budget. 100 billion is a nice round number and with a gazillion dollar deficit, seemed reasonable. (The deficit is actually 1.4 trillion--that is the government, in one year, is taking in 1.4 trillion LESS than it spends.) To illustrate this number, watch this:
So yeah, 100 billion is a small, stiff shot in the scheme of the deficit. Moreover, the Republicans promised to cut it this year.
Now, they're not doing it. And like a wife listening to the excuses for the perfume smell, the Republican base is giving the Republicans the skeptical head waggle. Why? Past behavior doesn't buy them much patience.
Here's the thing, it's not about 100 billion. The Republicans don't have a math problem. They have a relationship problem. Nobody believes them.
The American people trusted them, but they still feel betrayed. They expected the Republicans, at least, to be fiscally responsible. Kinda like people expect their cell phone to have service. Oh wait...
So, the Republican Party needs to rebuild their reputation. They've done remarkably well in the short time they've been in office. But it's been a short time.
The Republicans have also been aided by a Democratic party who turned so far left that they freaked everyone out. 14 trillion is a terrifying number and one the Democrats created while promising "fiscal responsibility." But the Republicans can't count on the fear of out-of-control Dems to keep people close to them.
Republicans need to recognize they have a brand and reputation and they need to guard it. They need to act with integrity and protect it. It is everything.
Americans distrust their institutions. They see the collective--church, school, government, union, business, bank, environment--protected over the individual.
Republicans, as an institution, need to demonstrate that they're for the individual. That means keeping promises and not making foolish promises to begin with.
Rebuilding trust takes a while. Republicans need to make keeping their word their first priority. If the people don't trust them, their gains will be lost in the haze of feeling lied to.
Republicans, keep your word. Put promises first, the power will follow.