Matt Towery

Every national poll shows that Americans by wide margins hold the Republican-controlled Congress in very low esteem. Even in the conservative Deep South, more poll respondents prefer that Democrats control the Congress than they do Republicans.

Conservatives, don't shoot the messenger -- me! -- because of these numbers.

Instead, take to your phones and computers, and into the streets if necessary. Demand that Republican leaders find the resolve to act tangibly about tangible issues that people care about.

Real conservatives don't want amnesty for illegal aliens. And they don't want to wait for this crucial legislation while congressional incumbents stall past the elections.

Most conservatives want a drastic change in the federal tax system -- not promises to study the issue until death do us part.

Bluntly, the Republican Party appears divorced from the real world and determined to try to win the game with trick plays.

I respect President Bush's personal conviction on embryonic stem-cell research. And I know that we probably get one-sided media coverage of the merits of this research from its advocates.

But politically, it seems nuts to me that Congress would reverse course and suddenly support additional research, knowing full well that President Bush would bring the lot of them negative headlines by vetoing their bill.

It was the first veto of his six years in office, and he exercised it against a position that 60-plus percent of Americans support! Talk about bad press.

Take it from me -- I've seen election years when flags, faith and "they are too liberal" can win races for Republicans. And these issues will always sell books and draw radio callers.

But I've also seen years when too much apple pie gave the public a stomachache.

I know the Democrats have poor policy alternatives, when they have them at all. But much of the public doesn't necessarily know that -- or even care.

We're getting down to the nitty-gritty in electoral politics. The Republicans are trying to hold on to Congress. If they want a lesson in how to blow it, they need only look at recent primary election results in key spots across the nation.

Matt Towery

Matt Towery is a pollster, attorney, businessman and former elected official. He served as campaign strategist for Congressional, Senate, and gubernatorial campaigns. His latest book is Newsvesting: Use News and Opinion to Grow Your Personal Wealth. Follow him on Twitter @MattTowery