I have heard a lot from my friends on how they feel about the candidates running for the Republican Presidential nomination. I have never heard such a dislike for the field. In all my years of politics I have never seen such a lack of enthusiasm for the GOP candidates (the exception is the Ron Paul supporters) as I have seen this year. The biggest complaint I've heard is "none of them are like Reagan."
Reagan never got elected to office and then developed a political philosophy. I followed Reagan's political career from his famous speech "A Time for Choosing (delivered October 27, 1964)" until he retired from politics in 1994. If you look over his political career before he was elected to office as governor of California in 1966, he already had a well-developed political philosophy. He was not a cipher when it came to political philosophy. He actually read philosophers who developed the conservative philosophy he believed in--Locke, Hayek, von Mises, Kirk, etc. This is not just sheer talk. Reporters who visited him looked in his library. He actually had those books by those philosophers and underlined key passages. Believe it or not, Reagan was a conservative intellectual. When he decided to run for office, his political philosophy was already developed and backed by an intellectual knowledge of reading.
This is in very strong contrast to the candidates running for the GOP nomination. With the exception of Rep. Ron Paul, none of them have any defined conservative philosophy. If you were to ask them why they were conservatives, they could not give you an intelligent answer. (Paul could. Indeed, he is very well-read on conservative philosophy. His political philosophy was already developed when he was first elected to Congress in a special election back in 1976. Alas, he stands no chance of getting the nomination.). Of all the major candidates, Fred Thompson came the closest. But he has dropped out.
I have read the transcripts of the GOP debates and I can tell you the four major candidates--Mitt Romney, John McCain, Rudy Giuliani and Mike Huckabee--know nothing about conservatism and its intellectual underpinnings. They just flow with the times. They just differentiate themselves a little from the Democrats. Their big arguments are they are not Hitlery or Obama. Now that's a sure-fire political philosophy.
When all four of those candidates initially ran for office, none of them had a defined political philosophy. Giuliani was a GEORGE MCGOVERN supporter in 1972. Mitt Romney ran to the LEFT against Ted Kennedy(!) in his race for the U.S. Senate in 1994! Huckabee was a big taxer as governor of Arkansas. And McCain is certainly no conservative. Just look at that McCain-Feingold Campaign Reform Act.
Now all these four claim to be conservative. They are no more conservative than my cat Bueller is a space alien. I just may vote third party this year. If this is the best the GOP can do, they richly deserve to lose. In all my years of being involved in the GOP Presidential primaries, I have never been so disenchanted as I have this year.
Let Hitlery govern for four years and mess up this county beyond recognition. The GOP will regain control of Congress and maybe the GOP will put up a REAL conservative in 2012.