Democracies have a tradition known as the “loyal opposition”. It is based on respect for the will of the majority and a tradition of a shared common goal – to provide good government to the citizenry. Even though an elected official or party may be underperforming, the system is supposed to foster a drive by the opposition to join forces with the majority to make things right, to improve upon mistakes, to fight for the common good.

I believe that this is what the public wants. The proof is in the polling data. While President Obama’s polling numbers have taken a hit down to the low 40s and only about 28%-30% feel the country is heading in the right direction, it is significant that the Republican Party has hit rock bottom in terms of public support. By substantial margins, voters blame the GOP for the recent shutdown crisis and only 28% of voters identify themselves as Republican. In every test of the so-called Congressional generic ballot, the Democrats outscore the Republicans by about 6 or 7 points.

There is a huge disconnect here. The GOP is taking a shellacking yet a Senator and leading contender for the 2016 presidential nomination is telling his Senate party leader (and fellow Kentuckian) that “we are winning this”. Another possible presidential nominee goes home to Texas and receives a hero’s welcome as a conqueror.

Perhaps the most puzzling of all is news today that the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee is selling bumper stickers that read “404 Error” in honor of the botched rollout of the Affordable Care Act rollout. We certainly understand hardball politics. When the opposing party fails or hits a rough spot, we know that will produce a chortling response and a licking of chops. That helps “our side”, right? But the actual truth is that it doesn’t, at least it isn’t right now. The President drops the ball and the GOP is kicking it out of bounds.

What if the Republicans who opposed selling arms to Britain and France in the late 1930s decided to block the Lend Lease Act and opposed our best ally in a time of need? Many Democrats hated Reaganomics and Star Wars but they fought a good fight and lost. George H.W. Bush caved on his “no new taxes” pledge, but his compromise – and that of his successor Bill Clinton – led to a sustained period of prosperity and a budget surplus by the end of the decade.

I can tell you with assurance that health care reform was the top economic issue in the 2008 election before the Great Recession hit. There was indeed a mandate to address the issue. The Affordable Care Act was heavily borrowed from Governor Mitt Romney’s reforms in Massachusetts, including an individual mandate that originated from Speaker Newt Gingrich in the 1990s.

Where is the Republican idea for making Obamacare better? Is it really a cause for celebration that a reform is having a bad start? Is selling bumper stickers making our world a better place?

Even more importantly, is any of this working for the GOP? I think the party would be better served if it came up with tweaks and improvements of the law passed by the Congress, signed by the President and ratified by the U.S. Supreme Court.