BUSINESS COMMUNITY WEIGHS IN…. When it comes to economic issues, the Republican Party may not get much support from economists, unions, or voters in general, but the GOP can usually count on the business community.

But when it comes to the stimulus debate, that’s not exactly the case.

The administration is betting on at least three Republican moderates to help see it through, and the traditionally Republican-leaning business lobby is beginning to exert itself more as well.

In announcing his support Friday night, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) pointedly read from a Chamber of Commerce endorsement. The National Association of Manufacturers has also weighed in, telling Republicans that votes on the bill “including potential procedural motions” may be considered for designation as key votes in NAM’s scoring of their legislative record.

As DougJ aptly explained, “I’ve always thought … that some day the Republican party would become so insane that it would begin to frighten big business. That day may have arrived.”

What’s more, Glenn Thrush speculated about whether the business community would give Democrats a second look after a dispute like this: “Not likely, but it could change manufacturers’ traditional two-to-one GOP-to-Dem contribution ratio.”

In all likelihood, regulatory, labor, and environmental issues alone should keep Big Business on the Republicans’ side indefinitely — the upcoming EFCA fight will drive the point home — but if the Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers are on the stimulus package’s side right now, I’m sure Democrats will welcome the support, and isolate the minority party just a little more.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.