While I'm not keen to offer the GOP advice, here's who I think (in a genuine, non-concern-troll way) would be their best candidate: Mike Huckabee. He is exactly the GOP's version of Howard Dean -- a popular governor of a small state, with a huge, energized following who briefly led his party's nomination contest before being kneecapped by his party's establishment. Like Dean, Huckabee isn't an insider, isn't one of them, and as such, isn't bound by their outdated and obsolete conventions. Like Dean, Huckabee offers a different direction from his party. Dean wanted muscular, unapologetic progressivism. Huckabee wants a more compassionate version of conservatism -- not fake "compassion" like Bush's, but the real stuff. "Big government conservatism", as his fiercest detractors charge.
...you see Huckabee speak, and you don't think "he's f*cking crazy". You ever see him on the Daily Show? The guy is good. Real good. (I've worried about this guy for years for those very reasons.)
His entire post is worth a read.