This bears repeating.
At its heart the GOP has two basic camps – business conservatives who bankroll the party and social conservatives/theocons who staff it.
OK, the leadership has its infestation of grifters and opportunistic idiots but the above rule pretty much covers the network of voters, volunteers and money that the grifters and idiots need to keep the game afloat. You can understand every major intraparty conflict in light of this simple rule. The social cons always want to sieze every chance to push their minority, gay, immigrant etc. – hating agenda one more yard down the field. Now business cons do not always oppose the social agenda. In some cases, sure. Take immigration for example. Business desperately needs cheap labor who can’t read the OSHA signs on the wall while social cons desperately hate and fear anything different from them. Immigration is the GOP’s Centralia, PA: a simmering danger zone that goes quiet for a while but cannot ever be made safe and threatens to consume any foolish politician who ventures there in flames and poison gas. Democrats have no such problem because neither side is particularly frantic about it. The pro side would be happy to see some movement in the right direction most people who feel all that strongly against it vote Republican. Unions have their own opinion of course, and that might become a problem some day when they get their political mojo back.
In other cases the Chamber o’ Commerce takes the moderate side in GOP civil wars mostly because the GOP can’t cut taxes for the rich if they spend all their capital on suicidal vendettas. Arizona fits neatly into the this category. Business interests figured correctly that the mess would complicate their financial prospects in AZ and give a significant tailwind to the party of Elizabeth Warren, so they yanked Jan Brewer’s leash and saved another windmill the trouble of knocking don Quixote off his horse.
If you want my opinion, and I feel pretty good about prognosticating after taking the right side of Peak Wingnut, I think Arizona represents the last surge of a receding tide in America. More watered down attempts to pass the same bill have already failed in three states and Ohio just bailed on theirs after Brewer’s veto denied them cover. Desperate, poorly thought out plays like this are a classic sign that a side knows it is losing. Call it political hyperinflation: when your currency is getting less valuable by the minute you rush to spend it any damn way you can before the entire wheelbarrow won’t buy a pack of cigarettes.
When Mississippi bails on the social cons, you know the gay haters are holding a wooden nickel.