Everyone needs an exit strategy. A way to sell out at the top when your idea, or company, is worth as much as you think you can get. Or when you can’t see a floor and you’re not sure when you’ll start bottoming out. Political brands are trickier because almost everyone has a backup strategy, a plan B and C that usually involves the seat/office they’re already holding. So it’s more like a high-stakes game of musical chairs. But sometimes some people decide to leave the music behind, and exit the game itself, rather than switch between those expensive leather armchairs. So while some – those closer to Jeb Bush for the moment at least – suggest that Rubio should resign his senate seat, the numbers are in fact starting to wear Jeb down.

He complained in South Carolina, mentioning he has “cool” stuff he could be doing. There is no doubt that the former governor could be leading a far more pleasant life, one that has little to do directly with the cut and thrust of a campaign. So the big question is, after Jeb and his family and donors closed the doors and gathered in Houston, who are they going to come out swinging at?

There seems to be two clear targets: Trump and Rubio. And talented commentators are laying out the reasons for both. Those saying he should target his former protégé define the issue as one of who’s the best Anti-Trump? If Rubio is doing a better job at presenting the type of Republican perspective that Jeb’s donors signed up for – Hispanic- friendly and tax-cutting – then will those big money donors keep backing Bush? It seems that Rubio was targeted by some of Jeb’s team at the Houston get-together to try and bump Rubio from Jeb’s “lane.” That seems to have produced some grumbling by some of them, but the fact is that those donors do have to choose between Bush and Rubio. And maybe Fiorina.

But is Trump a more immediate threat? Should Jeb’s team instead use the vaults of cash sitting there to go negative in a big way on the Beast from Manhattan? Or is there a fear that Trump would love that kind of a slugfest – a real mano-a-mano with Jeb? And turn it quickly into a mud-wrestling mania buzzfest? Trump would likely win that street fight. Attacks on him have bounced back to hurt just about every candidate who’s tried it. Should they do it anyway and keep doing it? And hope it finally works? They have the money to.

But do the donors – the establishment – really want that at this point? Some surely do and would do just about anything legal and non-hit man like to neutralize The Donald. But perhaps, the big money is looking at Rubio and thinking they need to switch horses. And Jeb’s team knows it.

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