I'm intrigued by the perspective offered by Jamelle Bouie and Matt Yglesias, who both suggest that liberals could be better off if the Republican party nominated more non-crazy, moderate candidates, even if it cost mainstream liberals a few seats on the margins (obviously, this works -- or doesn't -- in the opposite direction for conservatives, but this is after all the question for liberals). I'm not sure whether they're correct or not; on the one hand, it's true that candidates matter only a bit on the margins in most general election contests, but on the other hand the most important vote in the House is the vote for Speaker...one could certainly argue that partisanship trumps ideology in most cases, including within the White House.
At any rate, it leads to an obvious question for liberals: of the current crop of GOP candidates for president, which one do you think would actually do the best job as president? Feel free to include ideology in your answer (in which case presumably liberals believe the most moderate of the candidates would be best on that score), but I'm also interested in your general perception of these folks as pols and/or their governing skills. What I don't want is a "increase the contradictions" answer, even if you do believe that it would be better for the nation in the long run to suffer four years of a horribly incapable very conservative president than to have four years (and then presumably four more) of a successful moderate conservative who would then lead to more GOP success in the future. I'm guessing that I won't get too many mentions for the Sage of Wasilla, but who do you think would be best at it? If you're looking for a list, here's my (ace reporter) brother's current version -- and while I'm not convinced his ranking if all that accurate, then again I'll have to give him some credit after the #2 candidate on his list won the Value Voters poll this weekend.