Except they aren't the same thing. You want the 2 NM guys setting the table for Wieters, Jones, Reynolds, etc..
With Hardy up there, it makes it harder to set the table.
Plus, with Nick on base so much, having the lefty to exploit the hole between first and second is a nice luxury to have.
You're talking two slightly different things when bringing Hardy into the discussion. I agree completely that Hardy and his embarrassing OBP have no business being anywhere near the top of the lineup.
I'm just saying that there really isn't that much difference between batting 2nd or batting 3rd in terms of impact on the team. Sure you can make the typical arguments about batting style - table setters v. run producers - and protection and the hole at 1B, those are all valid arguments. I just don't think it really makes that much difference over the long haul.
I do completely agree that we should be doing everything possible to optimize the lineup, since we're no longer in a long haul but a shorter sprint and those very few runs of difference may actually mean something this season while we're in a pennant race.
I still would lean towards Quintanilla batting 2nd, at least until he cools off, against RHP and Reynolds against lefties. And I like Wieters in the 3-hole for the reasons you've stated previously. If McClouth can stay or get hot (or if Q and/or Reynolds slump), I don't mind him at all at the top of the order.