It's the first part of the above discussion to which I refer: Romney is so unlikeable that it makes for good excuses if he loses: it was the medium man, not the message. As his "unfavorables" rise (how truly amusing: where ever Mitt goes, the more people get to observe him, the more his favorables drop like Larry Craig's pants), the question is whether it's because of The Rominee's mendacious and craven ("they can go to the ER") emptiness, or is it because as people see what it is he's saying they realize what a train wreck it would be if he, and those like-minded string-pullers to whom he hands his dignity as if it were gift-wrapped, gain unfettered control of our government.
Both are true, of course: he's the world's least likeable and most core-free candidate; and his message (when he lets it out of the bag) is as appealing as smallpox. (Like smallpox, it should have been eradicated long since, as we've seen the damage it's done every time it breaks out.) So, win or lose, until it's rejected on its merits instead of its messenger, we'll have trickle-down and laissez-faire economics to kick around yet again.
On the other hand, within the current iteration of the Republican Party, it's hard to see a credible spokesperson, one who'd not be rejected by sane people: Santorum? Gingrich? Perry? Bachmann? Akin? Paul Ryan, probably, until the truth of his disingenuousness and zealotry, and his lack of math skills, are fully revealed. The real problem is that a true conservative, a thoughtful and principled one, would be unable (one assumes) to put him- or herself in front of those people and be accepted as their leader. A thoughtful conservative would do those things their party no longer accepts: work together with the opposition, find balance between positions. Think. Deal with reality.
Until the Republican Party regains its senses, such people will neither be welcomed, nor willing to run for president. So we'll be stuck with amoral principle-free ego-stroke-needy panderers like Mitt Romney, who wants to be president but not do president (he literally said he'd "kick the ball down the field" with respect to Middle East peace, and that with luck the economy will fix itself without him "having to do anything"), or religious zealots like Rick Santorum and Paul Ryan, or whole-package nutjobs like Newt and Herman and Michele. As long as the Republican party puts forth people like that, so easily rejected by marginally sane people, it'll still be them, and not their politics, that gets the blame.