Scott Walker to tea partiers: Let's focus on taking out Democrats, not our fellow Republicans

Some righties are grumbling about this, but c’mon. No one expects a Republican governor who’s up for reelection in a blue state to lead the “throw the RINOs out!” movement. Besides, this makes strategic sense if I’m right about Walker’s niche in the 2016 field. I see him as an establishment/tea party “hybrid” candidate who’ll challenge Christie from the right (especially on social issues) and whoever emerges as the tea-party favorite from the center (especially on immigration). His war with the left over collective bargaining reform in Wisconsin is already so legendary that there’s practically nothing he could do to ruin his conservative cred before the primaries. He’ll be acceptable to tea partiers. His task now is to make sure he’s acceptable to establishmentarians too before they settle on Christie and one obvious way to do that is to discourage tea partiers from challenging Republican incumbents. He opposed the shutdown for similar reasons, I assume, saying at the time, “I support limited government. But I want the government left to work.” That might well be his 2016 campaign slogan — and Christie’s too. Christie will simply have a harder time selling it to righties than Walker will. There may well be a new debt-ceiling standoff next month over ObamaCare (or maybe not). How do you suppose Walker will come down on that one?

Is this true, though?

[G]o and help in those elections [against vulnerable Democrats] and elect new Republicans because a year from now things will be much different if Republicans hold the United States Senate.

How? Obama might have to use his veto a lot more next year, but that’s fine by him. He’s a lame duck. At best, forcing a lightning rod like O to play goalie against GOP initiatives instead of leaving it to Harry Reid will free up a few centrist Democrats like Joe Manchin to vote with Republicans on hot-button issues knowing that they have no chance of becoming law. And this assumes, of course, that Republicans build on Reid’s precedent and nuke what’s left of the filibuster so that they can pass bills through the Senate with a simple majority. I’m not sure they will. They gain nothing politically from it given the reality of O’s veto and they’ll take a predictable beating for it from lefty hacks in the media (all of whom cheered Reid for nuking the filibuster vis-a-vis executive appointments). Worse, Democrats will be primed to exploit the new rule in 2017: It’s the GOP that’ll be defending the lion’s share of vulnerable seats in the 2016 election, which is bound to have higher Democratic turnout than usual because it’s a presidential election year. It’s worth nuking the rest of the filibuster if/when Republicans once again control the Senate and the White House. Before then, why?

The only important difference in having GOP control of the Senate next year is that Republicans will be able to veto Obama’s appointments, including/especially Supreme Court appointments. They can still do that now in theory since the filibuster remains in effect for SCOTUS nominees, but if someone on the Court resigns this year, it’s a cinch that Reid will go ahead and nuke that provision too. Having 51 Republicans for the last two years of O’s term would solve that problem going forward — if they hang together and vote unanimously against a bad Obama appointment. You trust Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, John McCain, and Mark Kirk to do that, don’t you?