I just went back and looked at the contract with America. What were the promises of the contract?
On the first day of their majority, the Republicans promised to hold floor votes on eight reforms of government operations:It had not one social conservative plank. Nothing about gays, marriage, or abortion.* require all laws that apply to the rest of the country also apply to Congress;
* select a major, independent auditing firm to conduct a comprehensive audit of Congress for waste, fraud or abuse;
* cut the number of House committees, and cut committee staff by one-third;
* limit the terms of all committee chairs;
* ban the casting of proxy votes in committee;
* require committee meetings to be open to the public;
* require a three-fifths majority vote to pass a tax increase;
* and implement a zero base-line budgeting process for the annual Federal Budget.
It was all about honest government and fiscal responsibility.
Let that be a lesson to you social conservatives who think enacting your favorite policies are an electoral winner. There is nothing wrong and much admirable about living with and adhering to those policies. There is a lot wrong with trying to enact them into law. It doesn't win votes.
The single most useful policy change to win back Americans is to give up Republican social policy planks. And do something to prove you are serious about it. Agitating to end the drug war for instance would be a very good sign to the electorate. It would show that sound policy, not belief, is the core of the Republican Party.