I'm sort of committed to noting every time Matt Bai writes a good piece (since I've been unkind when he doesn't). At the same time, I bashed NJ's Josh Kraushaar recently, saying that he was in the running to be the new Matt Bai. So this is a double-obligatory item, because both Bai and Kraushaar wrote the same column today, and in both cases it's pretty good. The topic is that the GOP field isn't as bad as all that. Bai is right that some of the white knights look better from afar than they would up close and that the process of winning will supply the "stature" that none of the candidates have now; Kraushaar is good on the importance of the economy, compared to the candidates. I could quibble around some of the edges, but they're both solid articles.
Meanwhile, I'll use this excuse to repeat my own points about "the field is weak" talk. First, what matters as far as November 2012 is concerned is the winner, not the field. Second, while I agree with both Bai and Kraushaar that the crazy candidates look unlikely to win as of now, the chances that the winner will wind up having to say all sorts of crazy things along the way are as high as ever. And while it's easy to overstate the effect of candidates or what they've said, in a close race everything can matter, so overall you would rather have a strong candidate who hasn't said a bunch of nutty things and taken goofy positions.