Ronald Reagan biographer Craig Shirley, author of Rendezvous With Destiny and Reagan’s Revolution, is not very fond of the Republican establishment. Nor is he particularly pleased with Mitt Romney’s treatment of The Gipper:
Romneyism—like Bushism and McCainism—is about wiping Reaganism away from the Republican Party.
Romney has made it clear in the past his abhorrence of Ronald Reagan. Romney is about personal power, plain and simple.
Shirley thinks Republicans may have hit a new all-time low, stating that Romney “could be the most despised choice since Richard Nixon.” He does have an alternative though, suggesting that “conservatives will seriously consider walking away and looking at the candidacy of Gary Johnson.”
With the Republican primary effectively over and Mitt Romney the presumptive nominee, it will be interesting to see if any prominent conservatives buck the GOP and endorse the Libertarian candidate, or if they all collectively hold their nose and support Mitt Romney. There is another option, of course, and that is to refrain from endorsing anyone. This was the option taken by Gary Johnson himself when he became the only sitting Republican governor not to endorse George Bush in 2000.
In an op-ed at the Washington Post, Craig Shirley and Don Devine, challenge Karl Rove’s characterization of George W. Bush as a conservative:
From William F. Buckley Jr. to Barry Goldwater to Ronald Reagan, the creators of the modern conservative movement always taught that excessive concentration of power in government leads inevitably to corruption and the diminution of personal freedoms. But while Rove credits these leaders for shaping his early political views — “at the age of thirteen, I was wild for Barry Goldwater,” he writes — he did not pursue their values while in the White House. To the contrary, as the chief political architect of the Bush presidency, Rove was instrumental in directing an administration most notable for its enormous expansion of national government.
The truly unique aspects of Bush and Rove’s compassionate conservatism were in the arenas of education and entitlements. The goals of Bush’s No Child Left Behind education initiative were certainly worthy, but its trampling of states’ rights sounded early alarms for traditional conservatives. And Bush’s market-oriented proposals for Social Security reform notwithstanding, the Medicare prescription drug benefit the president signed into law in 2003 has created an unfunded liability of $9.4 trillion over the next 75 years, according to the 2009 report from the Medicare trustees. This is far beyond what the White House estimated would be saved with Social Security reform, and the first new major entitlement since the days of Lyndon Johnson.