Mitt Romney is in the race. So is Tim Pawlenty. But last night on “Hardball,” the man who should be the Republican nominee for president revealed himself. Just like Donald Trump and Sarah Palin, he’ll neither run nor win. That man is former senator Alan Simpson (Wyoming). I knew he was a fiscal conservative. Hence his holding up the Republican-conservative side of the Simpson-Bowles commission tasked with coming up with a report, promptly ignored, on how to fix the nation’s fiscal house. But Simpson as a social progressive was new to me.

“What do you think of the field?” asked Chris Matthews. “Is there anybody running for president that you think has got the right stuff and earns the Alan Simpson endorsement?” And with that, the man whose countenance screams “Get off my lawn!” let ’er rip.

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“We won a governorship in New Jersey, one in Virginia, by not talking about social issues,” Simpson said in full grimace. Social issues like abortion.

“Who the hell is for abortion? I don’t know anybody running around with a sign ‘Have an abortion, they’re wonderful.’ They’re hideous. But they’re a deeply intimate and personal decision, and I don’t think men legislators should even vote on the issue.”

What about gays and lesbians, Mr. Simpson?

“You’ve got homosexuality. You’ve got don’t ask, don’t tell. We’ve got homophobes in our party. That’s disgusting to me. ... If they’re going to get off on that stuff — [former senator Rick] Santorum [Pa.] has said some cruel, cruel things about homosexuals. Ask him about it. See if he attributes the cruelness of his remarks years ago. Foul.”

Still riffing on Santorum, Simpson lamented, “You know, that’s the kind of guys that are going to be on my ticket.” Noting that President Reagan would want Republicans to stick together, Simpson flat out declared, “I’m not sticking with people who are homophobic, anti-women, moral values while you’re diddling your secretary, while you’re giving a speech on moral values. Come on, get off of it.”

Wow! What a breath of fresh air. Pity no one else in the GOP contemplating a run has the guts to be so bold.