Actually, it’s the *conservatives* who can make better plays to the middle in 2016.

Allahpundit is raising an excellent point, here:

Why would a center-right voter prefer Jeb Bush to Scott Walker? We all do understand, I hope, that Walker will be running basically as a centrist, yes? …I think he’s going to run as a similar sort of pragmatist as Bush — lots of talk about jobs and education, squishy on immigration, socially conservative but low key about it, and if tea partiers start getting restless with him, he’ll pull the ol’ “remember the time the unions spent millions to recall me and I kicked the sh*t out of them?” card. And then everyone will quiet down.

…Well, maybe not ‘quiet down.’ The GOP base could raise an audible ruckus in hard vacuum. But there is a definite point, here. There are certain candidates who can take advantage of having existing breathing room on things. Scott Walker is merely the most obvious example, but honestly: if, say, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Ted Cruz94%Senate Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard94% takes a less conservative position than expected on (to pick something at random) increased wind energy subsidies it’s not going to have the same immediate effect on a Republican base voter than would Jeb Bush doing the same thing. It’s not that our base voters have a problem with triangulation, per se: it’s that they’re not always convinced that our politicians are starting from the same place when they start triangulating.

And that’s pretty much how it goes; You get the street credit first, then you spend it to get the rest of the electorate on-board. Not the other way around. It astounds me that this still needs to be said.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

PS: It should be noted, by the way, that Jeb Bush would happen to be a far better establishment Republican stalking horse in 2016 than was either Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. John McCain52%Senate Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard52% or Mitt Romney. And I mean ‘better’ in the sense of ‘the country could do worse.’ Not that the New York Times wanted to admit that the Republican base has already usefully changed the basic parameters of the upcoming GOP Presidential primary fight…

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