The public yearning by some Republicans for "better candidates" has had an almost unseemly quality to it. If only Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels had decided to run! If only Chris Christie, the blunt-spoken governor of New Jersey, would jump in! If only Marco Rubio, the charismatic young senator from Florida, had a little more experience!
The field of announced and likely candidates is already fairly large (10 people, not including Palin or Mr. Giuliani). Still more are thinking of getting in, including Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Rep. Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan. But of those already effectively in the ring, only a few are considered viable in the general election: Romney, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman. So the "actual" field, if conventional wisdom holds, is pretty small.
"There aren't a whole lot of obvious possibilities out there," says William Mayer, an expert on presidential primaries at Northeastern University in Boston. "A good part of that, it seems to me, is that there was a Republican wipeout in '06 and '08, such that they lost a fair number of senators and governors."