Who’s your dream, offbeat candidate?

Well, that should do it.

When most of a presidential candidate’s campaign staff quits on him, saying he’s not taking his own campaign seriously enough, that should write finis to the effort.

At this point, the only place where the Gingrich candidacy is still viable is in the eye of Newt.

But I come neither to bury the silver-haired blabbermouth, nor to praise him.

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Surveying the dispiriting wreckage that is the Republican presidential field, I rise to ask Casey Stengel’s immortal question: “Can’t anybody here play this game?”

A central dilemma haunts presidential politics: The people who look in the mirror each morning and see a potential Most Powerful Person in the World tend to have such massive egos, overweening ambition and hollow souls that they don’t wear well over time.

And our politics have become such a petty, partisan, ‘fraidy-cat enterprise that it’s hard to find a leadership gene anywhere in the pool.

So, here’s my question: Who would you like to see run for President? Excluding politicians, I mean. Face it, that breed seems to have gone haywire; particularly the males of the species. (No Twitter for you, gentlemen!)

A few top-of-the-head ideas: Sergei Brin, co-founder of Google and its “Don’t Be Evil” slogan. Google’s adherence to its motto may be less than pristine, but Brin does at least put ethics on the table next to innovation and profit. But, sadly, he really wasn’t born here.

How about Oprah? This spectacularly able woman has some time on her hands now. Imagine her helping squabbling congressional leaders get in touch with their inner compromiser, then, once the budget is balanced, taking them all to Australia!

If I could find a younger version of Jack Bogle, founder of Vanguard Group and ethical conscience of American business, I’d vote for him.

How about Charlie Manuel? Now there’s a guy who knows how to get out of the way and lead. And can’t you just imagine David Gregory trying to figure out what the heck Charlie was saying at a presidential press conference?

So tell us: Who, of all the people you admire, would you like to see make a run for the White House?

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