by Maisie Allison
Mataconis entertains every establishment Republican's nightmare scenario:
Conservatives will argue that, once again, the Republican Party lost because it nominated the moderate instead of the conservative candidate, and because it didn’t “take the fight” to President Obama, whatever that means. In reality, that will be untrue but it really won’t matter. The GOP Establishment will cower in the corner and the right will go on the war path. By 2016, the odds of a moderate candidate being about to pass muster with the base of the party will be somewhere between slim and none, and Rick Santorum will be one of the people best able to take advantage of all of this.
Larison isn't so sure:
Imagine how much greater the desire to have a Republican President will be if Obama is in office for another four years. That will cancel out the instinct to turn to a more conservative nominee. After eight years of the Obama administration, there will be more Republicans interested in simply winning the election than there are today. They will likely be ready to tolerate a nominee as compromised as Romney, or they might be willing to accept a nominee even less conservative than the current iteration of Romney pretends to be.