What happens when a party gets the thumping that the Republicans endured in 2006 and 2008? If their British cousins are anything to go by, says Jonathan Freeland, "the first response to electoral disaster is denial." Writing in the New York Times, the Guardian columnist analyzes the Tories' decade in the wilderness after Tony Blair's victory, and what clues it holds for the GOP.
To beat Blair, the Tories should have tacked to the center; instead, they rallied behind hard-core conservatives beloved of "Britain's near-equivalents of Rush Limbaugh." The result was an electoral walloping, again and again. At last they have a charismatic, eco-conscious young leader, David Cameron, who might become prime minister; as for the Republicans, they desperately need "a leader who looks as if he or she actually belongs in the 21st century."