Michael Barone, a repository of inside-the-beltway conventional wisdom, has a column up today at NRO expressing his conviction that the current GOP field is inadequate to the task of defeating Barack Obama, and suggesting that there's still time for others to get in to the race, including Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, and Mitch Daniels, the governor of Indiana who pulled out of a bid earlier this year based on family concerns. Yesterday I talked about why Chris Christie shouldn't run. I feel the same way about Paul Ryan -- he's more valuable in Congress; he lacks executive experience; and, at 41, with small children, he has other responsibilities, which I like about him. As he says here, "I think there are other good people who can do this job. But there are not other good people who can raise my kids." Good stuff from a good guy. But he's sincere when he says he's not running.
That leaves Daniels or Sarah Palin as top tier Republicans who might jump in. Palin, for reasons that seem obvious, couldn't win and would be a liability to the GOP. Daniels could, and he has a background and record that would serve him well in a Presidential campaign. He has serious business experience, director of OMB, and a very good record as governor, especially on budget issues. He's Perry without the swagger, Romney without the Romneycare baggage, Herman Cain with political experience. But he's not in the race, and I've seen nothing other than Barone's hint that suggests he's reconsidering. (Although he did turn up on CBS' The Early Show on Monday morning to talk about the race.... hmmmm.)
That being said, I think we are probably stuck with the group we have now: Romney, Perry, Cain, Bachmann, Santorum, Johnson (who?), Paul (yuck!), and Huntsman (double yuck!). Given that field, it's Perry's to lose (which he appears to be doing), with Romney as the fallback, hold-your-nose pick. Nobody else makes the cut.
If I had to bet right now, I'd say it's going to be Romney, and that he'd select Marco Rubio as his Vice President to assuage the fears of the right wing of the party.