Republicans have some serious questions they could be fighting over, beginning with whether they want to return to George W. Bush's first term foreign policy, and what they actually believe should be done about the economy in the short and long term. If they don't deal with those things now, they're going to wind up (should they win) with someone in the White House who won't really be constrained by actual party preferences on the issues, beyond, you know, not reinstating the Fairness Doctrine.
It's not Rick Perry and Mitt Romney who aren't serious; it's the party they're trying to lead.
Bernstein writes a blog that a few political pundits like to read. I wish he'd get read more, because he's so unpretentiously direct. He can be maddeningly unaffected by what would incense many. For example, here he asserts that money "just doesn't matter all that much in presidential general elections, given the amount of information available outside of campaign ads." And here he posts about there not being "any particular reason going in to be alarmed about Perry." In the comments to that post, I accuse Bernstein of being naive to Perry's shape-shifting, as he adjusts his policy positions "solely based on the direction of the political winds," to which Jonathan replies:
I fully agree that Perry and Romney certainly appear to adopt positions to advance their positions. I just disagree about whether that's a good thing or not; I mostly think it's fine. Noble, no, and I'm not sure about admirable, but generally functional.
See what I mean? Maddeningly unaffected. "Generally functional?" I don't see anything functional about populist opportunism -- generally I see it as dysfunctional, and currently a hallmark of today's GOP. In fact, Bernstein implicitly contradicts himself, because Perry and Romney actually ARE the party today and will continue to be the party until next November (that is, unless someone else dominates the field).