The good thing about the GOP “enthusiasm gap” this campaign season is that it means there’s an opportunity for more competition in the Republican field.

For those of us who have been underwhelmed by the likes of Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman (who?), it’s good news that potential candidates like Rick Perry, Chris Christie, and even – yes – Sarah Palin are considering throwing their hats into the ring.

I’m reserving judgment on Perry at this point. I’ve heard conservatives praise him for his economic policies, health care reforms and education proposals. Still, at the same time, I’ve seen libertarians question his real commitment to limited government, as he’s accepted oodles of federal subsidies.

Either way, if Republicans want to win back the White House in 2012, they shouldn’t be afraid of waiting to find the right candidate. Only then will the GOP have a chance at a fundamental realignment away from the progressive state.