Former Utah governor John Huntsman has joined the GOP presidential field with a mild-mannered anti-Washington and fiscally conservative message. Now that Huntsman is officially in the ring, Texas governor Rick Perry's expected announcement should just about round out the Republican field.
The only problem with all these delightfully conservative candidates is that they are generally indistinguishable to most Americans - which means that a moderate in their midst, such as Mitt Romney, will be the only candidate who is not dividing his share of the primary vote among a half-dozen other candidates. (The same is true for Ron Paul and the libertarian vote, but I don't expect that vote to pose a threat.)
A fractioning of the conservative vote among all the rest will allow Romney to seize the entire moderate vote in the GOP primary. Romney's name recognition and well-honed political skill could secure any remaining votes necessary to boost him above the fray. A conservative candidate either needs to rise above the crowd, or the herd needs to thin itself out. As it stands, the mere contrast between Romney and the rest bode poorly for conservative hopefuls.