Latest GOP 2016 rankings: The leader will surprise you

OK, to review all this, we’d agree Governor Christie is falling. Bridge-gate is developing a life of its own and may turn out to be rare “gate” that actually affects a politician’s fortunes. Senator Rand rising? Don’t see it. He’s got a devoted following and draws some liberal support for his anti-National Security Agency surveillance stand, but his noninterventionist foreign policy limits him in the GOP primaries.

Governor Walker? Wisconsin Democrats dislike him intensely. Come to think of it, that probably helps him – for now.

As for former VP candidate Ryan, he might be underestimated here. He’s the flavor of the week in some GOP circles. “Is Paul Ryan the man to beat in 2016?” writes Allahpundit Friday at the right-leaning “Hot Air” site. “He’s as personally likeable as any of his rivals, and he is, technically, now ‘next in line’ in a party that tends to go that route when making hard choices in the primaries.”

And Jeb Bush may be limited only by his own ambition (and by the fact that his mom keeps implying he shouldn’t run). He’s an establishment guy the conservatives mostly respect who is keeping himself out of current policy disagreements.