How Powerful Is The Base?

Steve Kornacki is still betting that Romney will be the Republican candidate:

When you look back at other competitive nominating contests in the modern era, the reality is that the GOP tends to nominate candidates who began the campaign with potentially severe problems with the base.

John McCain, who was championing a Ted Kennedy-backed immigration reform plan when the '08 process began (and immigration was hardly his only problem), is the extreme example.  Bob Dole, once dubbed "the tax collector for the welfare state" by Newt Gingrich, was hardly a perfect fit for the rabidly anti-government Republican Party of 1996. Nor was George H.W. Bush the ideal option for conservatives in 1988, even if he was Ronald Reagan's vice president. After all, he owed the vice presidency to a compromise after the 1980 primaries, in which he'd run to Reagan's left as a pro-choice opponent of trickle-down (or, as Bush put it, "voodoo") economics. Bush had been nothing but loyal to Reagan as V.P. (and had dutifully switched his positions on abortion, tax cuts and other issues), but the "New Right" hardly trusted him -- and Reagan himself actually stayed neutral in the GOP primaries.