Typically, when a political party is out of power and out of favor with the public, they look to their slate of state governors to find the leaders of the future. Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush all emerged from their governor's houses to take charge of their party and take control of the White House.
With that in mind, how are things looking for the current state of Republican governors? Coming out of the 2008 cycle, there were a number of contenders for the crown, largely drawn from McCain's list of prospective running mates. But less than a year later, they've all imploded spectacularly.
Most notably, of course, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin just shat all over damnherself and came rushing to the cameras to tell us about the delicious pudding she found. But she's not alone. Louisiana's Bobby Jindal crippled himself with the Kenneth the Page speech he gave at the start of the year, while South Carolina's Mark Sanford horndogged his chances away with the Argentinian telenovela.
There was a deep bench behind those erstwhile frontrunners, but they've been decimated too. Texas's Rick Perry got involved in wild-eyed secession talk and is now facing a tough re-election fight against Kay Bailey Hutchison. Minnesota's Tim Pawlenty has seen his stock plummet to nothingness as he became embroiled in the Coleman-Franken Senate fight. Nevada's Jim Gibbons makes Sanford and Palin look sane. California's Arnold Schwarzeneggar can't run for president, of course, but he was considered a bright star in the party, and now he's practically a pariah.
There were others out there -- the seemingly sane ones -- but they've largely been taken off the chess board. Utah's Jon Huntsman represented a real hope for a new direction in the party, but he just joined the Obama administration as ambassador to China, while Florida's Charlie Crist is eyeing the Senate seat there and sees no love from the conservative base.
So, who's left? Some former governors like Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee, of course. But from the current crop, who's going to emerge? Idaho Governor Butch Otter?