Online bookies: Palin the odds-on favorite for 2012 nomination

Ever so slightly over Mitt and Huck.

Despite a slew of negative press this fall about Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) running mate, online gaming site puts Palin’s odds at 3.5-1, the best among Republican hopefuls.

Other top GOP contenders include former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, whose odds are set at 4-1, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, at 5-1…

Another online site, BetUs Sportsbook, made Palin and Romney 4-1 co-favorites.

We’ve been over this. Barring a catastrophic first term, The One will be heavily favored for reelection, leading young’uns like Jindal and Palin to bow out and bide their time until 2016. (Even Palinistas as devout as Coulter agree that she should wait, as do you guys.) Mitt might run since he’d be 69 and facing a crowded, charismatic field in 2016, but unless he stands a real chance to win, I figure he’ll pass too in the interest of avoiding further expense and aggravation. Result: A Huckabee-Pawlenty snoozefest, leading grassroots conservatives to tear at their hair in anguish and boredom until some dark horse like Mark Sanford jumps in to make things moderately more interesting. Exit question one: Can you feel the excitement? Exit question two: Might Mitt run, conceivably, out of some sense of party loyalty even if he thought he was likely to lose? If there’s a leadership vacuum at the top of the GOP and the frontrunners are all weak and southern, would he jump in to rebrand the party with a midwestern/northeastern face and a reputation for financial expertise? Dean Barnett always swore to me that Mitt was motivated by a true sense of civic duty more so than any personal ambition. We’ll see.