ANALYSIS: Marco Rubio Misses Moment as Donald Trump Rises, GOP Braces for Long Haul

The establishment finally struck back.

MANCHESTER, N.H.— -- The establishment finally struck back. But not in the way anyone might have imagined.

As for those not winning, Rubio took the attacks he knew were coming and answered them -- pretty much the same way. Consistency may be a virtue -- except when you’re being criticized for going rote in a field where others go rogue.

“There it is. There it is,” Christie said. “The memorized 25-second speech.”

The dynamics converged to leave an opening for Trump, still the strong frontrunner in New Hampshire. He was back at a debate after skipping the last one before Iowa, yet only Bush -- on the issue of eminent domain -- took him on in a strong way.

“He wants to be a tough guy,” Trump said of Bush.

“How tough it is to take property from an elderly woman,” countered Bush.

The takeaway for a rollicking race is that it appears poised to go on for a while. Trump appears unlikely to be knocked out, and the Republican establishment appears hesitant to coalesce behind Rubio or anyone else.

Rubio had a window, riding high after Iowa, to dispatch several of the others fighting in his lane. That didn’t happen Saturday, and Tuesday could leave things just as unsettled as it’s been from the start.