The GOP Needs to Stop Looking for a Savior and Start Saving Itself

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

Ever since the heady days of Ronald Reagan, the Republican Party and Conservative Movement – and the Tea Party is now a key element of both – have been yearning for “another Reagan.”

President Reagan is remembered as a successful conservative President who had it all: he was attractive, great on TV, a natural leader and he united the country.

Even though he was a once-in-a-lifetime political candidate and a truly historic figure, many on the Right think we’ll find another Reagan just by looking!

Beginning in 1999, this “another Reagan” yearning manifested itself in the spectacle of hundreds of GOP officials rushing to Austin and begging then Governor George W. Bush to run for the White House.

In 2008 this syndrome manifested itself in former Senator/actor Fred Dalton Thompson. Sadly, Mr. Thompson proved to be a lackluster candidate – certainly not a Reagan.

Now, in 2012, after a miserable three years of recession and the Obama administration, the Right has ping-ponged from Sarah Palin to Donald Trump to Michele Bachmann to Rick Perry and Herman Cain – all in less than six months!

And now they are putting the full-court squeeze on Governor Chris Christie who is speaking tonight at the Reagan Library.

The New Jersey governor is the victim of a political party unsure of itself, and -- since the death of Ronald Reagan -- without a leader who speaks to our souls and best exemplifies all that is good about being both a Republican and an American.

How frustrating it must be for the announced candidates to be working day and night – and yet someone who is not running gets all the attention.

All of this is happening because each candidate gets one moment in the conservative spotlight. If any one of them had seized the moment – the way Reagan did in 1964 when he gave what became known as "The Speech" on national TV on behalf of Barry Goldwater’s campaign – they would have become the new Mr. or Mrs. Conservative. From there it is an almost-automatic step to the GOP nomination. And then the White House is within sight.

But each of these candidates has flubbed their chance. And the spotlight then moves on, searching for someone to seize that opportunity.

Chris Christie is more popular as a non-candidate than he would be once he got into the race.

He might in fact wear badly over time. He is aggressive and a bit abrasive – precisely why the Right likes him from afar. But every day – through multiple news cycles – would his in-your-face style play well? Would independent voters like that style? And would Christie’s somewhat more-moderate views on some issues turn off the Right, the way Perry’s soft stance on discounted tuition for the children of illegal aliens has sent him spiraling downward in the polls?

Ronald Reagan was soft-spoken, light-at-the-right-time, tough-when-needed – but he knew how to modulate.

We do not know if Chris Christie – in office for a grand total of 22 months – has any of those skills.

The GOP – desperate to find the Next Reagan – today thinks Chris Christie is the new Savior.

Maybe they need to realize something: there will never be another Ronald Reagan. We were fortunate to have had him. It is asking too much of God to send us another one.

Now it is time for us to realize something that Ronald Reagan knew: America does not get "saved" by any one political leader; she is saved by us -- the American people.

What we need is a new leader who runs as a traditional conservative – and who will govern that way, too.

That is not too much to ask, is it?

Former U.S. Rep. John LeBoutillier (R-NY) co-hosts "Campaign Confidential" with Democratic strategists Pat Caddell and Doug Schoen Mondays at 2 p.m. ET on Live.