15) Bob Corker, US Senator from Tennessee. He's been stepping up his game a little, but to be a serious contender he needs a few more boring conservative white guys on this list to self-destruct. (16)
OK, so we're now officially worried about Corker. As the New York Times pointed out the other day, it's become something of a curse to be named among the GOP's possible 2012 contenders. Mark Sanford is only the latest of these to stumble:
That series of problems has become so chronic that even the party's most pragmatic members could be forgiven for wondering whether being named "possible 2012 contender" is like winning the movie role of Superman, long believed by some to carry a curse for those actors who don his blue tights.
What scandal will befall Corker? And we were just beginning to like him.