01 June 2007

What If This Is All Part of the Plan . . .

Peggy Noonan has stirred thoughts across the internets regarding her feelings of betrayal at how the Bush administration has acted with regards to immigration reform. I'm too lazy to link, you've been probably soaking in all the arguments, counterarguments and recriminations, so a rehash hear won't be needed.

The biggest effect has been the massive drop in money coming into the RNC. The rank and file is duly pissed. They're showing their anger by shutting their checkbooks, at least for the moment.

But what if that's a good thing for the GOP in the long run?

I think the end result of this current mess is that it weakens conservatives, even in the primaries, and strengthens social moderates. That seems backwards, but the social conservative wing of the GOP, formerly known as Reagan Democrats, are weakly partisan at best. They will sit out the primaries if they think they're not getting served. If *shamnesty* (as Michelle Malkin likes to call it) passes, the primary candidate who stands to benefit most is Rudy Giuliani. McCain has been mortally wounded, Romney is weak on this issue, and Fred Thompson may not be able to compete against Rudy if the social conservatives stay home.

If your main goal in the Bush administration is to see policies similar to the ones that you currently have in place, Rudy is your man. He's for low taxes, an aggressive stance with regards to terrorists and their sponsoring states, and he's never said he's against easing restrictions on immigration, only that enforcement should come first (a position he shares with Thompson, though Thompson manages to sound tougher on the subject).

The backlash has not helped the aggressively anti-amnesty candidates like Hunter and Tancredo, they still get no traction, so those that are truly upset with the party will stay home.

What the GOP has to hope for is that when it comes general election campaign time that whichever Democrat gets the nod will manage to scare those folks turned off by the GOP back to the polls and vote against Obama or Clinton, rather than for Giuliani or Thompson. The capacity for Hillary to generate negatives is phenomenal, so if she's the candidate, things are looking up for the GOP. Obama presents a bigger problem, he's slippery, and even though he might be an even bigger socialist than Hillary, he sells it much better. He seems prone to stumble between now and when the votes count, and Hillary has the unions in her pocket, and they generally pick who gets the Dem nod. The anti-war sentiment might push Obama over the top, but if it does, their anti-military rhetoric will damage him in the general election.

Despite all that's going on, it's hard to see what states Giuliani would lose that Pres. Bush won, whether he's against Clinton or Obama, plus he'd force the Dems to spend treasure in New York and California, and just having to compete in those states could seriously damage the Democrats nationwide.

So, driving away the GOP activists now might be a brilliant move to help get a socially moderate, fiscally conservative, tough on terror New Yorker nominated as the GOP standard bearer. But only if the Dems are stupid enough to force them back into the GOP's bosom by running a general election campaign that scares the bejeezus out of folks who think draconian new global warming regulations, nationalized health care, capitulation in the face of terror, and much higher taxes are bad ideas.

Stranger things have happened.

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