A thought occurred to me last night as I was gazing in my mirror and brushing my hair 50 times. “Jason, for a man in your thirties you have fantastic hair.”

Then another thought hit me. While the republican party at-large is going ga-ga over Palin, there are at least a few who haven’t paid their Palin Fan Club dues just yet.

They are: Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Mark Sanford, Tim Pawlenty, Bobby Jindal, and anyone else who thinks their destiny is to be president. Which if you believe their staffers is pretty much every governor, senator, house member and community organizer in America.

Caribou with me for a moment.

If McCain/Palin wins, then there are no job openings at the top of the GOP ticket until at least 2016. Because if McCain retired in 2012, America’s favorite hockey mom would surely become the nominee. If he didn’t and they ran again and won reelection, Palin would be the obvious nominee in 2016.

If McCain/Palin loses, assuming it’s not because Palin commits a Biden-sized gaffe between now and November 4th, who’s going to beat her for the nomination in 2012? Four years from now she’ll be more experienced as a politician on the national stage and much more experienced as a state executive. Plus she’ll spend the next four years traveling the country raising money for republicans, campaigning for candidates at every level, and collecting enough chits to fill a Greek column. Heck, even I’d pay to have her speak at my neighborhood bbq.

Back to the GOP bench. Romney wants to run again. Huckabee wants to run again (if for no other reason because his nemesis Mitt does). I hear Mark Sanford has designs on DC and Jindal hears every single day how he’s a president-in-the-making. Tim Pawlenty may have the itch to run at the top of the ticket and not wait for his phone to ring for a #2 spot. Even Rudy might be interested in running again and acknowledging that Iowa and New Hampshire were once admitted into the Union.

I’m not suggesting these horses want the GOP ticket to lose eight weeks from now and for Palin to go down like a moose in the morning mist. But isn’t it conceivable that somewhere deep within their political bones, the 2008 losers hope for another chance? And isn’t it likely that chance doesn’t come without a colossal Palin collapse that renders her unfit for another race?