Fear not, Republicans, says Matt Bai in The New York Times. Though many conservatives are in a "near panic" over their lackluster field of presidential prospects, there's little need to worry. Even a cursory look at recent presidential races shows that politicians who began as little-known longshots later morphed into fine candidates. Few begin as "fully formed national figures," but rather, "evolve to meet the moment." This kind of "transformation" is inevitable — and someone already in the race is bound to rise up this year, too. Just wait and see. Here, an excerpt.
You can't really blame Republican power brokers who are pining for a more exciting entry to the race. They feel about this crop of willing candidates a little like any teenage girl would feel about the nice-enough guy who begs her to go to the prom six months out. All that availability just isn’t very attractive. Surely there's some more popular kid who will come calling if you just hold out a little longer and drop some hints.
But if history tells us anything, it's that you’re always better off with the small-time or flawed candidate who really, desperately, wants to be president than with a more imposing or romantic figure who has to be persuaded to run. (Just ask President Wes Clark about that, or President Fred Thompson.) Democrats, you may recall, once dreamed of Mario Cuomo and had to settle, instead, for some yokel named Bill Clinton.