The Moose discusses immigration and the GOP.
The Moose has underestimated the power of the immigration issue within the Republican Party. In the past, he was skeptical that this issue would have salience within the party.
However, the experience of the past year has changed his mind. It has clearly struck a chord with part of the conservative base. The new Buchanan nasty screed against immigration has attained high profile attention in conservative talk show world. When not bashing the left, conservative commentators are attacking fellow conservatives and business types who are considered "squishes" on the issue.
Indeed, the illegal immigration is to the conservative base what the war is to the lefties. According to the new restrictionists, the issue has resonated on the right because it is about rule of law. But, the illegal immigration issue has also gained traction because it is an expression of conservative frustration about other issues - a case of displacement.
The right is frustrated about everything from the situation in Iraq to the level of Washington pork spending. However, it is on the issue of immigration on which the right has staged their rebellion against those they view as conservative "elites."
Expect Buchanan lite to have a resonance within part of the GOP. This phenomena also embraces such issues as protectionism and neo-isolationism. There is even the possibility that a Buchanan lite candidate might emerge as an independent candidate in '08 - someone like a Lou Dobbs.
Two candidates in the GOP Presidential primaries will play the immigration issue to the hilt - Tancredo and Newt. And with the popularity of his new book, maybe even Pat himself will launch a final run.
Ultimately, a restrictionist will not gain the Republican nomination. Saner heads will likely prevail and reject the new restrictionism. However, the divisions within the GOP are deep, and will result in a demoralized base in November. --