There is no doubt that the Republican Party is at a crossroad with many questioning the direction that should be taken to bring them back to electoral success. The biggest obstacle to moving the GOP back to its limited government roots is the political establishment — the dealers and the consultant class — who want to the party to take the road to victory by selling out limited government principles.
This creats a problem for conservatives, many of whom are still trying to make sense of the 2012 election. Many realize the dangers that lie ahead by kowtowing to the party’s political establishment, but they’re weary of trying to stand in their way. They’ve actually bought into the line that the freedom movement is to blame for the problems that have plagued the GOP. Yes, there were some bad candidates that ran in 2012, but the Republican Party’s brand was damaged long before voters ever headed to the polls.
In a recent piece at Commentary, Matt Welch, editor of Reason, explained that conservatives need to start actually practicing what they preach when it comes to limiting the size and scope of government:
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.