Whether Democrats like it or not, there is always a chance that the 2012 elections will put a Republican into the White House. The GOP has a responsibility to nominate a credible candidate for President. I think Mitt Romney is the only potential Republican candidate who is prepared to lead this country.
In the past election, the choice of Senator John McCain (R-AZ) was a good one on the surface. McCain ran unsuccessfully for the nomination several times and had experience on the campaign trail. He was a political moderate known for his ability to reach across the aisle and compromise with Democrats, and he had credible foreign policy experience. McCain was also known as a shrewd, intelligent individual that approached the challenges of governing with gravitas and dignity.
John McCain went awry when he selected an utterly unqualified person like Sarah Palin as his running mate. Sarah Palin represents everything wrong with the Republican Party - willfully ignorant, politically incompetent, it seems like every time Mrs. Palin opens her mouth she does more harm than good. Sarah Palin cost Senator McCain his election and making the mistake of nominating a candidate like her would surely cost the GOP again.
When I look at the field of Republican potentials today, I don't see many individuals who live up to our standards - most candidates resemble Sarah Palin more than they resemble John McCain.
For one thing, ideologues like Ron Paul have no place in the White House. They are utterly incapable of hammering out the compromises that lead to signed legislation and strong diplomacy. Leaders make compromises that most people don't like, accept the blame for them and then present said compromises to their consituents in a manner that makes them acceptable. I can't imagine Ron Paul making a compromise, let alone presenting it to the people in an acceptable manner.
On the other hand, you have leaders like Newt Gingrich who have the intellect and gravitas to sit in the Oval Office but lack the strength of character to be head of state.
Then you have some candidates that are just unacceptable because of their views on race and religion. Southern governors like Haley Barbour (R-MS) and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee fall into this category.
The most qualified potential GOP candidate in the field is also the most popular one - which may stand as proof that the Republican Party is not the mass of hardline fools that many liberals try to portray them to be. Mitt Romney's moderate, nuanced points of view are always backed up by a torrent of logic and data. In debate he would be every bit the match for President Obama.
Romney has had the experience of being a Republican governing one of the most Democratic states in the country, Massachussetts. He successfully passed a health care reform law that mirrors Obama's own, and defended it against his critics. Not only that, Romney is also an experienced business man who can hold his own in economic discussions. If Obama must go down in defeat in Novemeber 2012, Romney is the only one who could credibly claim to be a better leader than him.