The NYT considers a genuine Conservative meltdown:
At a time when American conservatives are ascendant, the British Conservative Party is adrift, troubled by internal feuding, casting about for a defining theme and struggling to defeat a relatively unpopular incumbent, Prime Minister Tony Blair, in an election nine days away.
Most polls and analysts say the Conservative Party, led by Michael Howard, is heading for a historic third consecutive defeat against Labor on May 5. This prospect is all the more noteworthy given how vulnerable Mr. Blair is on issues of trust and leadership after his insistent assertions that prohibited weapons would be found in Iraq in the American-led war that he so strongly supported and that remains unpopular in Britain.
Putting aside the ridiculous idea that conservatives – as opposed to Republicans – are ascendant, the Conservative party’s problems seem likely foreshadow the Republican Party’s problems in the coming decade, because what is killing the Tories is their allegience of their politicians to the European Union. While there is a Euroskeptical majority in England, both major parties as well as the Liberal Democrats are officially EU-enthusiasts, leaving the majorit with no one to support on the issue except the marginal parties dismissed by the media as neo-nazi right-wing extremists.
Sound familiar? Because once the American Union is unveiled, this is precisely where the Republican party is likely to find itself, especially if a popular Democrat willing to triangulate to the center and co-opt Republican cultural issues is elected in 2008.
When considering the future, most people tend to extrapolate current conditions ad infinitum, which is why most people lose money in the stock markets. The point of maximum apparent power is the very turning point at which that power begins to recede, for after Margaret Thatcher’s economic revival and a victorious war, who would have thought to find the Conservative Party in such complete disarray only eight years later?