Recently I heard a republican state they wished they could mix and match their candidates and make a 'super candidate', using the best qualities of each.
This would not work. Oh, you might get a good candidate, not a great one.
What makes a great candidate is not their values. The Bell Curve ensures that the far majority of people have values that are close enough to one end of the liberal/conservative spectrum that you can fit in one of the major political parties. The Democrats are a little bit more inclusive, but even the GOP has a big enough tent to include all the conservatives. You might have some of your less popular views, but you 80% of people could win a primary if it were just about values.
Nor is background a killer. The GOP has accepted a black man running as the front leader for the primary, and had a white woman running as Vice President. A gay presidential candidate would still have an uphill battle, but give us another 10 years and that may change. President Clinton showed that even affairs are not a career killer.
What makes a great candidate is a combination of charisma and negotiation. And by negotiation I specifically mean you need to be able to compromise. It's not just being the ultimate used car salesmen. Negotiation is the ability to charm people into giving you what you want in exchange for something you are willing to give up. That means you must be willing to give up stuff. Reagan and Clinton did this remarkably well. None of the current GOP candidates have it. If they did, they would be leading the pack. Romney comes closest, but if he truly had it, he would overcome the Mormon issue and the Health care issue.
Part of the reason why is that a charismatic negotiator can LEAD. Lead, as in go where no one has gone before. As in move the party towards what he believes, even if they did not start out agreeing with him about everything. As in overcome prejudices against blacks/women/Hispanics/Mormons or gays.
That said, I expect Bachmann, Romney, Santorum, (and even Huntsman, assuming he gets some support), if they lose the primary, to run again in 2016. If they win the primary and lose to Obama, they won't try again. Gingrich and Paul are getting old. Paul is already 76 and I don't expect him to try and run at 80, Gingrich is 69, and not as fanatical as Paul so I doubt he would run at 73. Perry would need to take some serious debate classes to try again, but he might. Cain is dead - unless he manages to win a Senate/Congressional/Governorship race in 2014 - in which case he might tray again. But even if one of them wins, they won't have a serious shot in 2016.
The serious players in 2016 will probably be:
Senator from Florida, Cuban, Tea-Party favorite, Roman Catholic. He will be 35. Think of him as a republican JFK - young, charismatic, catholic. He stole the Republican nomination for Senate away from the presumed heir apparent, Ex-Governor Charlie Crist.. He has the capacity to get the hispanic vote for the GOP - something they desperately want and aside from their ingrained anti-immigration, anti-hispanic prejudice, would be a good fit as hispanics tend to be a bit more conservative than non-hispanic. Among other things, if the GOP choose him, they get a lock on Texas, but without him, they very well might lose Texas in 2016. In my opinion, he is the Democrats toughest competition.
Ex Governor of Arkansas, GOP presidential primary candidate in 2008, lost to McCain, who lost to Obama in the presidential election. He is a southern baptist, will be 61, and currently hosts a Fox news show. Huckabee and Romney share some of the same supporters - but Huckabee is a Southern Baptist, not a Mormon.
Governor of New Jersey - first republican to win statewide election in New Jersey in 12 years. US Attorney for District of New Jersey, law-order type candidate, budget cutter. Has angered Democrats by cutting money for their programs. Favored by the wealthy, he has endorsed Romney. Christie is overweight and always dieting. If he can lose the weight again, he will make for a very impressive looking candidate. He will be 54.