Anyway you slice it, these are bad poll numbers for Republicans, indicating that despite the conservative orientation of the country, the public is not keen on the Republican party in general, and Tea Party populism in particular. If I were a high-ranking Republican party muckety-muck, my reaction to this would be to try to institute policies that would promote job growth, and tax reform–thus winning back moderates and independents necessary to protect a Republican House majority, bring about a Republican Senate majority, and win back the White House for the GOP. Republicans have placed plenty of emphasis on deficit reduction, which I applaud, but job creation and tax reform cannot and should not be ignored. The Republican party brand on deficit reduction is established; now is the time to pivot to outflank Democrats on employment and tax issues. It’s good politics, and it also happens to be good policy.
But of course, I am not a high-ranking Republican party muckety-muck, and while I am certain that Tea Party leaders will continue to demonstrate their mastery at getting Tea Party votes, I am not at all sure that they will do that much to get the votes of moderates and independents.