As traditionalist/Centrists here at Maggie's, we tend to prefer Repub candidates because they at least pretend to sound like the word "freedom" matters to them.
Right now, the Repubs are searching the earth, looking for ideas. Wrong. Waste of time. Major national elections are won by appealing, likeable candidates who come across well on TV, have a bit of charisma and energy, and offer some inspiration, celebrity, and excitement to us benighted masses.
The wonkery and the ideology has little to do with it. Very few voted for Obama because he promised to nationalize (ie politicize) our major industries and businesses.
As Riehl rightly says,
The terrific irony here isn't that it's a Bush saying no more Reagan, it's that exit polls showed individual policies actually had little to do with Obama's win. National elections tend to be more thematic, than they are wonkish. All the Democrats really did was demonize Republicans, call for change and voice a lot of platitudes.
GOP turns to Bush aides for advice
Forget Reagan - be like Liberals
My final word on this: It's the candidate, stupid. Any reasonably smart person can make an issue out of anything, but it takes a powerfully convincing talker to reach over the head of the biased MSM and speak directly to people.
As Roger de H says, a party picks a figurehead to decorate their pirate ship.