Here's one for Daniel Larison, who ridicules Ross Douthat's foolish albeit somewhat tentative embrace of the Late Entrant fantasy. Good fun.
Douthat's post, and one from Aaron Blake here also claiming that Mitch Daniels would have been a strong candidate, just make no sense to me at all. The candidates who could have saved the GOP from their current situation would hardly be those, as Blake touts Daniels as being, who can be "the adult in the room." C'mon, folks, you can do better than that. If Republicans were looking for an adult in the room type, they would be perfectly happy with Mitt Romney right now. Don't think the Mittster looks like a grown up these days? Of course not; no candidate ever does when brutally attacked by politicians from his or her party, and losing primaries.
What Republicans could have used both this cycle and last is a candidate who raised no suspicion from any important party faction and also had conventional credentials. Rick Perry, Tim Pawlenty, and perhaps Fred Thompson all came close, but none of them really achieved that. Given the GOP's wild pivots on so many issues over the last decade, perhaps no one can, and someone like Romney -- who holds orthodox views on all issues right now, but hasn't for long enough to build long-term trust -- is the best they can do. But at any rate, it's hard to see Daniels (or Christie, or Ryan) fitting the bill. He's just not different enough from Romney. Might have been a better candidate, but he wouldn't square the circle.
Anyway: nice catch!