As the pundits repeatedly tell us, we are still five months away from the first votes being cast. We are, however, entering the very serious phase of the campaign. Big campaigns, like Rubio, Walker and Paul, are burning through $1 million a month, just to keep the lights on. In just a few months, major decisions on advertising will have to be made.

The national beauty contest, which the three have lost at this point, will give way to a state-by-state slugfest. Walker is still betting on a strong showing in Iowa to reignite his campaign. Paul is hoping that caucuses, especially in the Western states, can give his campaign a delegate boost. Rubio seems to be placing a firewall in South Carolina and his home state of Florida. At some point he will have to decide whether he wants to be the establishment alternative to Bush or the second-choice of other more conservative candidates. He’s tried to be both, but that strategy isn’t working.

Of course, there is still a real possibility that the voters’ anger with Washington and national Republicans grows rather than abates. In September, Republicans will return to Congress and will likely avoid all confrontation with Obama to pass a spending plan for the government. They are completely out of step with the mood of the country and it is unlikely they would change course even if they were aware of it.