Instead, the full measure of the disaster is that the conservative movement has essentially nothing to show for its moment in the sun. The discontents of the Religious Right are well-known. Economic conservatives are confronted with relentlessly increasing federal government spending. To mention one of my pet interests, far from being willing to break the power of the teacher unions and introduce market forces into public education, the Bush Administration has done exactly the opposite: moving to federalize the K-12 system in a way that is certain to be captured by the education Establishment. And, of course, Bush turned out to be bent on actually increasing immigration, already running at record nation- (and party-) breaking levels.
The alternative strategy is obvious even in this election. In Arizona, Colorado and Michigan, grass-roots initiatives aimed at combating illegal immigration and affirmative action quotas (a species of National Question issue, because quotas directly attack the American majority) won in the teeth of media and elite opposition. In Michigan, combining lack of principle with its normal stupidity, the Republican leadership ran away from Ward Connerly's Michigan Civil Rights Initiative and the party was utterly routed at every level of state government.
However, we know from earlier experience with California's Proposition 187 in 1994, and for that matter Arizona's Proposition 200 in 2004, that just because the immigration issue walks up and bangs on the Republican Party's door, it is not necessarily welcomed--indeed, it can be rebuffed....