It is harsh, Palin is a low comparison. American politics hasn't had a nut like Palin for as long as I remember - and I know that is saying a lot. Who does Dean contaminate for? Doesn't have to be lame, it can be, depends on the network. There are some politicians that can pull it off with legitimacy, Ford for example.
Oh sure Romney has a problem with women voters, but how to fix that? McCain made a colossal error with Palin. What will Romney do? Idk. I doubt anyone associated with the Bush administration is in the cards though. Bush is still a hot potato, even in hard core repub circles.
Rubio said he does not want to be considered. That means he is totally out. Remember Cristi? He's out too. My money is on McDonnell. He has some problems, but he has big aspirations himself and solves the conservative appeal problem Romney thinks he has. He won't help with women though- VA almost passed a sperm is a person type of law that he endorsed (or at least didn't say he would veto). That's huge for women voters. We'll see.