I discovered another biographical sketch of a prominent (and perhaps appealing) Republican leader, Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana at Forbes (via RCP) from Reihan Salam. Daniels has gone on record against the auto bailout, and might make an a formidable contrast to President Obama in 2012. Daniels certainly understands economic policy and budgets, having served as OMB director under President Bush and managing the Indiana state budget extremely well as governor.
"He has also managed to keep Indiana's state budget in the black despite the downturn, thanks in large part to aggressive budget cutting in his first term. In fact, Daniels is known for his personal stinginess as well. Even as a successful business executive, rumor has it that he kept his own family on a tight allowance. He took a number of controversial steps to secure Indiana's fiscal future, among them a decision to lease the Indiana Toll Road to raise revenue for infrastructure improvements throughout the state. Though he was attacked for this measure early on, he's won the grudging respect of voters in the state, Republican and Democrat. It's worth noting Daniels won reelection with the help of thousands of voters who also voted for Obama."
Interesting that there are already pundits looking at potential 2012 before Obama even has taken office. I'd say there should be more interest and focus squarely on the 2010 races and improving the Senate seat count in particular.