Oliver North

Now I'll be the first to admit that if I knew so much about politics, I'd be writing this column from my office in the U.S. Senate. And "political experts" will be quick to point out that conversations with people in 17 states hardly constitutes a representative "scientific sampling" of American public opinion. But for those of us who favor Republicans in mayor's offices, and on city councils, state legislatures and governor's mansions, and GOP majorities in both houses of Congress, as even Karl Rove will have to acknowledge, disinterest is not a propitious sentiment.

This is no Red State-Blue State divide. And, at least for those who cared enough to bend my ear on the subject, the disaffection seems to leap age, economic and ethnic barriers. The most common complaints: "The GOP is out of touch with us"; "They just don't get it when it comes to our borders"; and "They're corrupt. All they care about is getting re-elected."

Tough stuff -- particularly for incumbents. It makes a person wonder who these elected officials are listening to during their lengthy recesses. No two issues are more indicative of the GOP's tin ear than the response of party officials to corruption in Washington and the vulnerability created by our porous borders.

Last week, "leaders" in both parties raced to the microphones to insist that FBI agents with a proper search warrant not use evidence collected in the offices of Rep. William Jefferson, D-La.

Jefferson had apparently been videotaped accepting a $100,000 bribe, and agents allegedly found $90,000 in cool cash hidden in his freezer. To say that most Americans find it hard to accept that Jefferson's office shouldn't be searched by law enforcement under these circumstances is an understatement.

Republicans in the U.S. Senate have sent an equally baffling message on border security. Though recent polls show that Americans overwhelmingly support border protection first, and are opposed to amnesty for illegal aliens, the White House and the Senate insist on a "comprehensive immigration bill" that will eventually grant citizenship to millions of "illegals."

The GOP has fewer than 160 days to convince Americans to vote for them. "Us or them" won't cut it. Republicans have to give Americans reasons to vote -- or find themselves losing big five months from now.

Oliver North

Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.