That leaves … well, Rubio again. Maybe he can be rehabilitated in time for the primaries! How? Hmm. Well, if Jeb takes a stand way far out in a squishy idealistic pro-amnesty direction, that creates space for his quondam protege, Rubio, to stake out a position that’s seemingly tougher–e.g. “Jeb’s off base there. Saying it’s an ‘act of love’ obscures the very real problems illegal immigration can cause, which is why I am strong on border enforcement, etc.” Of course Rubio would still be for amnesty, and the establishment would know this. But it might help smuggle him through the primaries. ….
Well, the Gentry GOP pushed John McCain to the nomination, even though many conservatives hated him as a RINO who had nearly left the party not very long before, not to mention many other treacheries, on the theory that his “War Hero” status would make up for his other sins. It didn’t.
Then they nominated the fatally flawed Mittens Romneycare, whom many conservatives despised for being the Godfather of Obamacare and hence unable to campaign against it, on the theory that Romney’s deep pockets and supposed fiscal conservatism would soothe conservative distaste for him. It didn’t.
Now they’re looking at Rubio, whom many conservatives loathe for his lies about Scamnesty, on the theory that his supposed conservatism in other areas will make up for his word not being worth a bucket of warm spit and thus induce conservatives to support him in spite of his demonstrable treachery. It won’t.
And it may not matter. I’ve been contending, and I now believe it to be entirely true, that the Gentry would rather lose gracefully and remain the minority faction of the Ruling Party, with their perks and boodle intact, than see a conservative win. So a graceful loss with Rubio, the fifth out of the last seven, might well be right up their alley, given that they view conservatives as a far greater danger to them than Democrats.