Putting down my marker: as I've said for months, Jeb Bush has zero chance of winning the GOP nomination. This race is between Marco Rubio and Scott Walker. John Kasich might make it interesting, but I doubt it.
Why? Mitt Romney won the nomination despite being the first choice of zero primary voters for two reasns: he had a national organization and his competition were literally clowns. I mean put a red nose on Newt Ginhrich and he's a hit at kid's birthdays.
Like Romney, Bush is nobody's first choice. But Rubio, Walker, and Kasich are real candidates. At this point in 2011 here's what the PPP poll in Iowa reported:
...Perry leads with 22% over Romney’s 19%, Bachmann’s 18%, [Ron] Paul’s 16%, Herman Cain’s 7%, Newt Gingrich’s and Rick Santorum’s 5%, and Jon Huntsman’s 3%.
So, sure, if Jeb! were up against "Oops", Miss Crazy Eyes, and Old Man Paul, then, yes, all that money backing him might convince GOP voters to get behind their electable second choice.
To be the first choice of the Reaganist base, a candidate must make certain commitments that Jeb! is not willing to make. But Rubio and Walker have declared their fealty to St Reagan. Taxes? Killing jobs. Regulation? Holding us back. Climate change? Doubt it. Abortion? Murder. Unions? Evil. Immigrants? Upon reflection, you're right: deport them all. Public funding of schools? Optional.
Jeb! has correctly calculated that you can't both hate immigrants and get Latino votes. You can't call abortion murder and carry suburban women.
So neither Rubio nor Walker have any chance of winning a general election. But the media had decided that they pass the laugh test. And that's all it takes, because it is an article of faith among Reaganists that the path to victory is clear for the candidate willing to run as a "true conservative."
Update: Ed Kilgore looks at the latest poll matching various GOPers with HRC and notes:
If said leaders cannot even convincingly demonstrate that Jeb's more electable than Donald Trump, why would Caucus and primary voters follow them over the cliff to support a guy they clearly don't like?