I think Noam Scheiber has a point when he says that Scott Walker could unite Establishment and teabagger Republicans in 2016 -- but I'm not sure he'll manage to do it:
Walker has the irreproachable conservative credentials necessary to appease the Tea Party, and he speaks the language of the religious right. But he has the tone, temperament, and record of a capable and responsible establishment figure. That, combined with Walker's record as a reformist union-buster, will appeal to the party's donor base and appease the influential business wing. Walker's experience as an effective but conservative blue state governor makes him a credible presidential candidate, not just a vessel for the conservative message. Equally important, his history of having faced down organized labor and beaten back a liberal recall effort is much more consistent with the sentiment of the modern Republican Party than Jeb Bush's compassionate conservatism. Altogether, Walker has the assets to build the broad establishment support necessary for the fundraising, media attention, and organization to win the nomination. He could be a voter or a donor's first choice, not just a compromise candidate.The problem for Walker is that one 2016 primary has already been held -- the mainstream media primary -- and Chris Christie won in a landslide. I think that's going to leave Walker as the 2016 equivalent of Mitt Romney in 2008, a guy unable to get traction because the mainstream media loves another candidate (in '08 it was John McCain, of course).
The voter base may well have other ideas, of course, and 2016 may finally be the year when the base gets the undiluted-crazy nominee it wants. But that hasn't happened in the last couple of election cycles -- much as the base hates the mainstream press, it eventually settles for the guy the mainstream press chose as the likely winner upfront, and if that pattern repeats, it's going to be Christie.
I'm leaving Rudy Giuliani out of this analysis (a) because he was much, much further to the left of the base on abortion, gay rights, and gun control than Christie, McCain, or post-flip-flop Romney, and (b) because he ran a terrible presidential campaign. I suppose Christie might run poorly in 2016, in which case Walker will be a strong contender. But if Christie puts together a credible campaign, I think he's going to own the title of Establishment Choice. He'll score on electability because the press will never tire of telling us how darn electable he is. That will mean a lot to donors, and I think it'll wear the voters down eventually as well.