If you'll permit me, I'm going to go on record with a very early prediction about 2012. Sarah Palin has an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal this morning endorsing Paul Ryan's Roadmap as a good plan for rescuing the nation's fiscal solvency. It's far from the first time that former Gov. Palin has spoken warmly of Congressman Ryan and his ideas.
I have no idea as of yet who is running in 2012 and who isn't, let alone who will be the GOP nominee, and other than being committed to finding a candidate who (1) has executive experience and (2) isn't Romney (not that I'm likely to back Huckabee, either), I haven't settled on a candidate and haven't ruled out any of the remaining contenders.
But I will predict this now: if Sarah Palin is the nominee, she will pick Paul Ryan as her running mate. Ryan has a few things in common with Palin - he's relatively young, telegenic, and a workout fanatic - but my guess is that Palin recognizes that the biggest knock on her is that she's not regarded as a policy-details person, and Ryan of course is precisely that, a sharp communicator with a mastery of the details. While the conventional wisdom goes in one of two directions - either that a running mate would be someone with specific ethnic/regional/religious appeals different from the nominee or that a nominee coming from a governorship would pick a national security heavyweight - my guess is that Palin would look to Ryan as a guy she could see taking the de facto prime minister role of running the legislative and budget agenda, freeing her up to handle the big-picture issues and the Commander-in-Chief role.