Me in June:
[L]ord, what a tough spot for Republicans. At its heart the GOP has two basic camps [note: oversimplification for the sake of argument] – business conservatives who bankroll the party and the social conservatives/theocons who staff it. In that light one could say the towering achievement of Bush’s term as POTUS was that he defied the centrifugal forces of majority power and held the GOP’s unlikely coalition together as firmly and as long as he did. If so, his towering failure will undoubtedly be his adamant support of this immigration bill.
I have tried for days to think of something that could wedge the social cons apart from the business cons than immigration but I just can’t do it. The Chamber of Commerce loves our current system because one can pay illegals practically nothing and they will thank you for it. In their view any fix to the current system has to keep bringing in large numbers of people with poor language skills (can’t have them reading those OSHA flyers on the wall) and a weak bargaining position, e.g. guest workers. Otherwise Americans had better get ready to start paying more for hotel beds, restaurant meals and packed meats.
The key problem is that the thing that the business cons need more than anything is exactly what the social cons desperately want to end.
The business con – social con split won’t go away because the fundamentals have not changed since June. The Chamber of Commerce still desperately needs immigrants of the legal and illegal variety, and the social cons will go on demanding that their candidates make the immigrants go away. The neocon vs. paleocon rift and the intramural theocon cage match aren’t going away either. Every faction of the old coalition has their own candidate, and for whatever reason (imminent defeat maybe) they’re going at each other like thieves in the third reel of a crime movie.
If you don’t think that the ’08 RNC convention will be a meltdown for the history books then you’re not paying attention.