The Republican Narrative: Polls Make us "Blink"

It's amazing what a few bad polling numbers will do. For the Republican Party, it can make them "blink."

Just a few days ago the Republican Party sent out a set of talking points, parroted by surrogates on national media outlets, that they would never "blink" during this shutdown.

After all, destroying the financial markets, ruining US credibility in the world and slowing the economic recovery seemed like a great narrative to create. Who wouldn't want to vote for that?

It's unfortunate that it took some recent polling heat - according to Gallup the Republican Party favorability numbers are "the lowest favorable rating measured for either party since Gallup began asking this question in 1992" - to at least temporarily change their approach.

But how much time do they have left before their brand is significantly harmed? If the current proposal to keep the shutdown going on indefinitely and punt the debt ceiling talk for 6 weeks is any indication they may be in for some rough midterm elections.

When you're working to rebuild your brand after two presidential losses, a slipping majority in the House and a net loss in the Senate it isn't a good idea to create a narrative about your Party that equals "frustrating," "intransigence" and "obstructionist" - all terms that came up during polling interviews.

Such a narrative can have long-term impacts on your brand.

Maybe it's time to start realizing the safety net which the Republican Party is so bent on "reforming" (read eliminating) may not be there to catch them in the upcoming midterms.

As I discussed in an earlier column, real leaders don't shut down the government, threaten default on obligations, threaten financial markets and programs for the poor and the most vulnerable -- all over hatred of a constitutional law.

But that's the exact story we're seeing play out right now.

Anyone can say "no" - it takes real leaders to work toward compromise. But if the Republican Party continues down this road of brand destruction they will see just how easily the voters will say "no" in 2014.