I'm starting to think that I counted Mitt Romney out a bit too quickly. Not because of anything about him, but just because the field is so thin. I'll stick to my old claim that the nomination was Jim DeMint's for the taking, because he has the most Tea Party cred without being a gaffe-a-day freak show. But he's apparently not running, and neither are Haley Barbour or Rick Perry or John Thune. I still think that Romney's going to lose to somebody more crazy than him, but there are fewer potential Romney-beaters out there than I thought.
Amanda Marcotte's case for Tim Pawlenty -- that he's the candidate nobody in the GOP strongly objects to -- seems right to me. That's especially valuable in the late stages of the campaign where there are fewer options and broad acceptability matters, so I'll put him at number 1 for now.