Other conservative “fighters” may try to frame fighting the good fight (and losing) as the highest virtue, but fighting and winning is vastly superior. And on that count, Scott Walker took on the unions — and won.

Winning covers a multitude of sins. As Dave Weigel noted recently, part of the reason the conservative base gave George W. Bush a pass, and doesn’t seem to be giving Jeb one, is that early polling showed Bush defeating Al Gore (no such polling shows Jeb — or anyone — beating Hillary Clinton). After eight years of Barack Obama, Republicans are anxious to back a winner, and time and again, Walker has pulled rabbits out of his hat. At some point, we want to believe in magic.

I’m still skeptical Walker has the requisite rock star charisma to make it all the way to the top, but I do buy the notion that he’s the one guy that every faction of the GOP could unite behind. And — if one is to buy the argument that the base is looking for someone who a) doesn’t cave, and b) actually wins, then he’s in a class all his own.