Of course, the best of the neglected candidates waiting in the wings is former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson. He has an outstanding record in office and some of the best ideas, including being the only advocate for the FairTax. He's also been the whipping boy for the media and the party establishment. He's been overlooked and excluded from debates and press coverage and left out of the polls, and he's sufficiently disgruntled he's even considered jumping ship to the Libertarian party. But despite all that he's still in the race and if Cain's departure opens a spot in the primary field then Johnson is the one who ought to be brought in to fill it. There's no one more deserving and no one who could do more with another opportunity.
While the partisan press continues to prattle on about Romney and Gingrich, two candidates who no one really wants, one a replay of 2008 and the other a replay of 1994, there's a real field of candidates out there that Republicans could truly be proud of. After all the disappointments and missteps of party leaders, a primary field led by Paul, Huntsman and Johnson might restore confidence in a party which is on the brink of failure and has broken faith with its own base too many times.
My Republican Party isn't represented by the Newts and Mitts of the world. It's not a party of tired old hacks and used care salesman smiles. It's a party of smart ideas and responsible government and refreshing honesty. It's a party which can celebrate candidates like Paul, Huntsman and Johnson, embrace them and let them show us what a real election with serious candidates can be like. They are the tonic for the disease which grips the party. They are the serious contenders to counter the damage done by flirtation with faux candidates like Cain.
Abraham Lincoln won the Republican Party its first national victory with a "team of rivals" bringing the best his party had to offer to Washington. Paul, Huntsman and Johnson could be that winning team for a new era of Republican politics if we can discard the baggage of our old mistakes and believe in the brighter future which they represent.