While I do not think it is a secret strategy coordinated among possible rivals in 2012, there is something to the idea. Right now people in elected office, be it Governors or members of Congress (and state legislatures) are faced with difficult and unpopular choices, particularly when it comes to budgets. Being out of office means not having to make tough decisions on actions and votes that can be used against a candidate for office. Certainly all of these individuals are staying involved in the political world and are still relevant so a run in 2012 would be an option.
With my wet finger in the wind, I predict that the next Republican presidential candidate will be someone not then currently serving in a government position.
The secret strategy of the Republican Party is to proffer experienced candidates with no recent political history to be used against them. Hope and change will wear a new red suit in 2012.
Additionally, a few possible 2012 contenders for the Republicans have likely been removed from the running recently. South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford's presidential ambitions likely died last month. Also, Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman was tapped by the Obama administration to be their ambassador to China, so he is out of the running as well (look for him in 2016).