Mark Sanford was totally going to be the next president, until he fell in love with Maria. Now, not so much. But Republican strategists have so many other Great White Hopes! What disasters will greet them?

Sad Republican strategist Mark McKinnon has been handicapping the Republican field over at The Daily Beast. So far, he's identified both Senator John Ensign and South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford as Ones to Watch just days before they admitted extramarital affairs. And then he called on both of them to resign. It is hard, strategizing for this bunch of losers! So let's look at the rest of his list and wonder what will be!

Haley Barbour: Barbour is McKinnon's new favorite, because he is the opposite of Barack Obama. He is a fat old white Southerner who used to be a lobbyist. So, as you can imagine, he will definitely help with that whole "GOP is only the party of old white Southerners now" thing. But McKinnon is pretty sure that the next election will actually be held on opposite day, which will definitely improve Haley's chances.

But there is a problem: he is a crooked lobbyist with crooked lobbyist children!

Tim Pawlenty: Tim is the Governor of Minnesota. He is a charming cipher. He is completely inoffensive. He would maybe convince Republicans that they could put some more upper midwestern states back in play.

But there is a problem: even being a charming cipher was not enough to net Pawlenty a majority of votes cast in either of the elections he won. And now he is retiring, rather than face possible defeat. Meanwhile, the state has gone completely broke. And he made a bridge collapse. Also he's on the road toward revealing some embarrassing personal secret: claiming he has nothing to hide and almost challenging people to dig something up.

Newt Gingrich: People have heard of him, but they have also forgotten why they used to hate him, mostly. He likes to pretend to be full of exciting new ideas for remaking the party. He is an elder statesman. He, uh, hasn't cheated on his wife lately.

But there is a problem: he's Newt fucking Gingrich.

Mike Huckabee: He's a charming, roly-poly former Arkansas governor with his own talk show on Fox. He used to be fat, then he got skinny, and now he is kinda fat again. He is friends with Chuck Norris. A lot of liberals find him surprisingly tolerable, and he is more than willing to charm them without losing his Conservative Christian Cred. He plays the bass.

But there is a problem: he says a lot of dumb shit and is hard to take seriously, especially now that he's doing his "Conservative White Male Oprah" thing at Fox.

Sarah Palin: She is really famous, and really good at getting on TV, and also she is a lady. She has those kids, and that husband, and a lot of people seem to think she is a wonderful lady. Also she talks funny, which appeals to millions of Americans who also talk funny.

But there is a problem: she is really fucking dumb and no amount of media training can ever make her appear confident and prepared, which is weird, considering her local news background.

Mitt Romney: He has money, and nice hair.

But there is a problem: he is a Mormon!

But that is not actually the best argument for Mitt. The best argument for Mitt is that, barring news that he secretly slept with Joe the Plumber, he basically already has this locked up.

This is how Republican primaries work: if there is a Republican President or Vice President who would like the job, he gets the nomination. If not, the guy who came in second in the last contested primary gets the nomination. (Unless it's Pat Buchanan.) This is the way they have done things since World War II. It means the candidate will be Mitt Romney (or maybe—maybe!—Mike Huckabee). All this John Ensign and Mark Sanford talk was bullshit even before they all took themselves out of the running by sleeping around.

But, you know, good luck to Haley Barbour.