The perfect candidate will be from the inland South, the source of all electable Democrats since Harry Truman. He (or she) will belong to a politically moderate, mainline Protestant church, be an active and sincere member of his congregation, and not afraid to use the language of religion where appropriate and proper in his political speech. He will be youngish -- 45 to 55 -- vigorous, and handsome without seeming callow. He will have some grey hair, but still look presentable in jogging shorts.
He will hold mainstream Democratic political positions, but will avoid talking about hot button issues, like gay rights and abortion, any more than necessary. He will state his positions in these issues forthrightly, but assert that he will always and respect and listen to people who disagree with him on those issues and look for common ground. He will look moderate Republicans, and try and ally himself with them whenever possible.
He will be a nice guy. He will golf, rarely, and badly, and laugh about his lack of skill. He will play softball, but his real passion will be playground and driveway, shirts and skins basketball. He will always have something nice to say about the professional sports teams in every city he visits. He will throw out first pitches whenever possible. He will go to stock car races, but also go to the US Tennis Open.
He will know how to shoot a gun, but not make a big deal about it. He'll go hunting but he'll never be seen with dead animals.
Early on he will hone a carefully crafted stump speech that explains his positions simply, colloquially, in the simplest language possible. He will critique Bush's policies as president in terms that suggest constructive criticism, even as he refutes them. He will have a pretty wife, who is active and vigorous without being controversial.
He will spend a lot of time talking to church congregations, and encourage the formation of an ecumenical coalition of moderate and progressive faiths. He won't seek their endorsement, but he will publicly stay on the same page with them ideologically.
He will be WASPish in appearance, but he'll have some hispanic and/or american indian great-grandparents. He will speak Spanish fluently. He will have grown up in modest, yet comfortable means, and if he's rich, it will be because he earned it in some way that demonstrates vision, acuity, and good management skills.
In short, he will be Jimmy Carter, without the malaise, Bill Clinton without the bimbos, and John Edwards, without the law practice. He will be George Bush, without Karl Rove. He will be intelligent, but not make a big show of it.
Above all, he will be starting soon to run for the president soon, and do so by meeting and talking with as broad a base of people all over the country as he can manage, to figure out how best to reflect back to them their hopes and ideals. He will craft an image that people can fall in love with, without being a fraud.
It would be nice too if he could cure the sick and raise the dead, but I don't want to get greedy about this.