Writing for the Daily Beast, Will Marshall argues Ronald Reagan, whatever his failings, was a man of convictions. Mitt Romney, by contrast, is a man of circumstance.
In a small but telling episode, Republican activists reportedly blocked a plan for a surprise speech outside the party’s convention—by a hologram of Ronald Reagan. They feared the projection would overshadow living candidate Mitt Romney’s speech accepting the GOP nomination.
It was the right call. The Tampa Republicans have resigned themselves to Romney, but they positively adore Reagan. The last thing they needed was a giant holographic image reminding them of how very unlike the Gipper their nominee is.
Reagan was the ultimate conviction politician. It helped, of course, that he was a genial ex-actor who knew how to deliver a line. But his political career was anchored in the bedrock of certain political beliefs: individual liberty, free enterprise, anti-statism, and America’s democratic mission. Even many who disagreed with Reagan or thought his views too simplistic admired his sincere and steadfast dedication to these principles.