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Romney And Pangloss

In an inspiring display of confidence, a “top GOP Senator” declared that if Mitt loses Michigan it’s all over: Either he wins the nomination and is so damaged he has no chance in November, or he loses the nomination to someone who already has no chance in November.

The good news is that if Mitt does lose, this paragon of courage will reveal himself and “publicly call for the party to find a new candidate,” with his own preference being a certain former Florida governor whose surname is political poison.

It does raise an interesting question, though: Who would be a better candidate than Mitt?  Not just someone who could win the GOP nomination (or get the nod from the party establishment at a brokered convention), but someone who would actually be viable in a general election as well.  Mitt has a lot of flaws as a candidate, but he doesn’t come across as being reckless, crazy or some kind of puritanical moral scold.

Thinking through the various Republican dream candidates that have been floated so far, almost all of them are even more problematic than Mitt: JEB! has that awful last name and is corrupt to boot; Sarah Palin is disliked if not feared by everyone outside the GOP base; Chris Christie’s bully act would wear thin quickly; and Paul Ryan is the guy who tried to kill Medicare.

The only two I can’t rule out completely are Marco Rubio and Mitch Daniels, but I think Rubio is still probably too green, while Daniels is famously charisma-challenged and perhaps not enough of a culture warrior for the right.

So can anyone name a better candidate than Mitt?  Someone crazy enough to be acceptable to the Republicans, but still sane enough to be acceptable to everyone else?  If an awkward, flip-floppy vulture capitalist is truly the best of all possible Republican candidates, it says a lot more about the GOP than it does about Mitt.

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