Don't Be Too Sure

The Politico can usually find the dark cloud behind any silver lining, which explains Ben Smith's and Jonathan Martin's take on the current discord within the GOP:

Asked about how a presidential candidate urging the party toward the middle on cultural issues would fare, [head of the Iowa Christian Alliance Steve] Scheffler said flatly: “They’re not gonna go anywhere.”

In one sense, Republican leaders face the same challenge their Democratic counterparts did during the Bush years: how to effectively channel the deep emotion of the base while tamping down its excesses.

Of course, Scheffler has a pretty big dog in that fight, and Iowa went pretty solidly for go-nowhere loser Mike Huckabee in the '08 caucus. So to him I say: Thhhhhhpht.

More seriously, there's a decent chance the Republicans in '12 will be feeling a lot like the Democrats in '92 -- willing to nominate pretty much anybody who looks like a winner. It took twelve years of Reagan and Bush 41 for the Democrats to give up on the likes of Dukakis and Mondale and pick a moderate winner like Clinton.

And if President Obama turns into Carter 44, then it might only take four years for the Republicans to get desperate enough to -- brace yourself -- nominate a winner themselves.