They express this discomfiture in a number of ways. First and foremost: Denial. "Marco's Moment Is Now," insists Michael Graham of The Weekly Standard. "No, not Saturday night’s debate: This is Marco's moment." (I am put in mind of Max Bialystock getting Lorenzo St. DuBois to audition for Springtime for Hitler: "Wait, wait, this is Boomerang! This is Boomerang!")
Getting knocked-down in New Hampshire does not have to be the end of Rubio's run for the GOP nomination. It could be the real beginning. It's all up to the junior senator from Florida.Graham may just be covering for his boss, who bet long on the thirsty childman. At National Review, Eliana Johnson speaks of "Marco Rubio’s New Challenges" rather than Marco Rubio's Collapse. There are other candidates for anti-Trump savior: At National Review, Jeremy Carl calls NH "Armageddon for the Establishment," because of Trump and the "less obvious" winner... third-place finisher Ted Cruz -- whom I guess you could say the Republican "establishment" doesn't like, if only because no one likes Ted Cruz. "Ted Cruz Might Be The Real Winner In New Hampshire" says Matt K. Lewis. "...The primaries are about to head South, which is Cruz country." Wow, a Republican who can carry the South! Now all he has to do is get people in the rest of the country to embrace Opus Dei crackpots.
For laughs there's "Jeb Bush Gains Some Steam After New Hampshire" (WSJ) and, my favorite, "Why Can't Kasich Win?" by Jay Cost ("Isn't the Kasich case at least as persuasive [as] the Bush case?" Now that I can believe!).
I don't like Trump either, and I am convinced someone other than he will be nominated. But with me, one has nothing to do with the other -- America has disappointed me many times and I'm sure will disappoint me again, so I don't think we're too good for nominee (or, God forbid, President) Trump -- I just think Trump will fall because the GOP has too much invested in getting one of their made men on the ticket, and they control the means of production. These conservative columnists, on the other hand, are writing rotisserie league campaign speeches; they write as if they believe their columns and blog posts, despite being read entirely by people who already agree with them, can actually affect the race. That's what makes them pathetic: They're putting on brave faces for a mirror.
UPDATE. Comments are (as is traditional here at alicublog) glorious, and I have to call attention to a burst of song from Ellis Weiner:
You’re standing onstage one night
While running for POTUS
Debating your foes because
It’s part of the gig.
Then Monday they take a vote
You’re handed your hat and coat
But this could be the start of something big.
It goes on below the fold.