Jackie Gingrich Cushman

While the House of Representatives has continued to pass budgets, the Senate has not passed a budget since April 29, 2009 -- 1,177 days ago.

I used to work in corporate planning. I have no doubt that I would have been fired -- for incompetence -- if I had allowed more than three years to elapse without a budget.

Yet our government continues to spend ever-increasing amounts of money and to put each and every one of us more and more in debt -- and few of the people responsible have gotten fired.

On April 29, 2009, the federal debt was $11.2 trillion. Today, our debt is $15.9 trillion.

Given these dismal figures, one might understand that the voters would disapprove of the job Congress is doing. But what is interesting is that the disapproval rates for Republicans (who are passing the budget) are higher than for Democrats (who have not passed a budget in more than three years).

A Quinnipiac poll this month revealed that 68 percent disapprove of Republicans in Congress, compared with 62 percent disapproval of Democrats; while 24 percent approve of Republicans and 29 percent approve of Democrats. (Quinnipiac University surveyed 2,722 registered voters from July 1-8, margin of error of plus-or-minus 1.9 percentage points.)

For Republicans to retain the House, and win the Senate and the presidency this fall, they must remember that teamwork is important.

They might think they are winning the policy game, but the poll shows that they are losing in the area of public relations and public opinion. To be the team that is competent in process, but with a higher disapproval rating than the one whose members are blocking the process, underscores how ineffective Republicans have been at communicating reality.

I'm not suggesting that the Republicans would be better off bashing a few heads, but they do need an enthusiastic team, one whose members can communicate to the voters. Should be an interesting fall.

Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own," and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”.