Paul at Powerline gets some of the reasoning for the selection of Mel Martinez as Chairman of the RNC correct. Still, he misses one key point that bears repeating:
There were certain people who pushed a hard line on immigration as a means to salvage the Congressional majority in the face of scandals and the inability to address other issues (like Social Security reform). Other social conservatives wanted their agenda advanced on certain issues. On some, it was reasonable. On others, not so reasonable, particularly in the lack of priorities set. Many of these people have significant sway on both talk radio and in the blogosphere.
Well, there was a payoff date for the attention that the Congressional GOP paid to them. It was November 7. And these people proved they could not deliver. Close doesn't cut it. Now, the GOP has to patch things up with those who these social conservatives offended, including moderates, small-l libertarians, the business community, and Hispanics.
That means the social conservatives now have to take their lumps, and learn to play nicely with others.