Friday, July 3, 2009 at 5:23 p.m.
The atmosphere at the Intercontinental Hotel in Downtown Miami last November during the Republican Governor's Conference was hopeful. The GOP governors where the only national wing of the party to actually gain membership in the 2008 election, and the line was it was they who would bring their party back on track, emerge as the leadership that Republicans so badly needed, and it was quite possible that one of their members would challenge Barack Obama for the presidency in 2012. In fact, they even launched a GOP comeback campaign.
Fast forward to today and they'd be singing another tune.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's first major speech to the nation after Obama's speech to a joint session to congress was met with comparisons to Kenneth the Page.
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist decided to forgo re-election -- and more than likely any stab at the national ticket in 2012 -- by announcing his run for Senate.
Utah's John Huntsman Jr. is set to accept Obama's offer to become ambassador to China.
South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, who was elected head of the RGA in Miami, disappeared for a few days and admitted to an affair with a mysterious lady in Argentina.
Nevada's Jim Gibbons has a 10 percent approval rating.
California's Arnold Schwarzeneggar, though barred from seeking the presidency, continues to watch his popularity in his state and party dwindle as the state economy and budget continues in to turmoil.
The handful of governors who decided to take a stance against accepting stimulus money, including Sanford, Jindal and Texas's succession-mumbling Rick Perry, either lost major battles if not the entire war.
And now Sarah Palin dropped a classic Friday night news dump, on a holiday weekend no less, and announced not only won't she run for re-election in 2010, but she's resigning. The speculation is that she's gearing up for a 2012 presidential run. She's extremely popular in certain circles, she sure is charismatic, but she won't make it past the primary. I just don't see any way that's possible.
Not to say that all Democratic governors have been shining beacons of political purity since November: Blagojevich was, well, Blagojevich and all of the troubled Republican governors couldn't match his stench even if they tried. NY's accidental Gov. David Patterson likely won't make it past the primary. NJ's Jon Corzine faces an uphill battle for re-election later this year.
And there remains popular Republican governors past (Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee) and present (Tim Pawlenty, Jodi Rell, Mitch Daniels, and okay, we'll give Jindal a pass) who will continue to play a major part in the leadership of their party and possibly as a 2012 candidate
But the idea that the governors were the shining stars of the GOP universe, well, that's not looking so hot. At the way things are going now the Republicans may start heralding past and present Republican state speakers of the House as the future of the party (sup Rubio?) ...Ray Sansom excluded of course.