My colleague Ron Brownstein has a great column in the new National Journal that makes the point that the Republican presidential field is not the force that is shaping the party's policy agenda--that's mostly because there isn't any field, at least not yet, and among the candidates who do seem likely to run, none draws significant support. Instead, state activists and governors, most notably Scott Walker in Wisconsin, are the ones shaping that agenda. Brownstein notes that the emerging Republican field, and eventually the nominee, will inherit these policies, like them or not:
On Capitol Hill and in the states, Republican legislators and governors empowered by the party's historic gains in 2010 are advancing aggressive agendas with major 2012 implications. Rather than influencing those ideas, the potential GOP presidential candidates are mostly racing after them.