Listed below are my favorite ten candidates for the Republican nomination who aren't running, but who haven't refused (as opposed to the long list of potential candidates who have refused). They are listed in reverse order (my personal preferences), but any of these would be competitive with those who are currently pursuing the nomination and would have resumes equal to or better than the announced candidates. So, if you're not excited about the current Republican field, then how about ..........
10. Rob Portman: Newly elected Senator from Ohio, a state the Republicans must win in order to defeat Obama. Strong background as a Congressman, U.S. Trade Representative, and Director of the Office of Management and Budget. During his tenure at OMB, federal deficit was cut in half.
9. Sam Brownback: Ran unsuccessfully last time, but now has executive experience as governor of Kansas. His candidacy would draw strong support from social conservatives and leave Rick Santorum with no rationale for running.
8. Condaleeza Rice: Bush' Secretary of State, who was strongly urged to run last time, but opted out. Strong foreign policy credentials, as opposed to the faux foreign policy resume of Jon Huntsman and noticeable lack of foreign policy experience within the rest of the field.
7., 6., & 5. Paul Ryan, Kevin McCarthy & Eric Cantor: The Republican "Young Guns" in any order, all three would make excellent candidates. They are the key nucleus of the House Republican leadership and have offered the "new ideas" Republicans need to re-take the White House. While Ryan is being pushed by many, Cantor, as majority leader and a Congressman from Virginia, might be the better choice. I would take any one of the three.
4. Tom Coburn: Now that he's quit the Gang of Six, Coburn has enough time on his hands to run. He is serious about solving the debt problem, served on the President's Bi-partisan Debt Commission, voted for the commission's proposals (even though not agreeing with all of them), and is one of the few Republicans who understands that you have to put everything on the table, including defense cuts and additional revenue. He is an intellectual who could hold his own in debates with Obama.
3. Steve Forbes: Third time could be the charm. His new proposals to solve the deficit problem along with his continuing support for the flat tax would make him a strong contender. His support for a return to the gold standard would drain support from Ron Paul. A businessman who would make Republicans quickly forget Donald Trump and would present a real challenge to Mitt Romney for his core constituency.
2. Bob McDonnell: Governor of Virgina, a state carried by Obama that Republicans have to win. Entered one of the first suits against Obamacare, a suit that will reach the Supreme Court during the height of the campaign. Previously served as attorney general of Virgina with strong record against sexual predators and drug dealers. Balanced his state's budget and increased spending on education without raising taxes.
1. John Kasich: Newly elected Governor of Ohio, a must-win state. Previously served in Congress from 1983 - 2001. As chairman of the House Budget Committe, he authored the Balanced Budget Act of 1995, which took the U.S. from deficit spending to surpluses in 4 years. He has the extra advantage of not being a part of the Bush years. Kasich is right on all the issues.