Jacob Weisberg writes:
One way to understand the divisions in the Republican Party is as a clash of regional philosophies. Northeastern conservatism is moderate, accepts the modern welfare state, and dislikes mixing religion with politics. Western conservatism is hawkish, hates government, and embraces individual freedom. Southern conservatism is populist, draws on evangelical Christianity, and plays upon racial resentments. The big drama of the GOP over the past several decades has been the Northeastern view giving way to the Southern one. To see this transformation in a single family, witness the shift from George H.W. Bush to George W. Bush.
In this taxonomy, isn’t George W. Bush more “western” than he is “southern”? He was hawkish and hated government. That’s two of the three western qualities. And while he drew on evangelical Christianity, a “southern” trait, I cannot recall him playing on racial resentments, nor did he strike me as a populist — he was much closer to the big business wing of the GOP than the populist wing, which makes sense given his personal background and governing philosophy.
(His position on immigration is the single best example of this.)