They won’t of course. Caught in the midst of a recession that isn’t of their making, they will still receive much of the blame from disillusioned voters, and the Republicans should cruise to a victory in at least the House of Representatives. A Gallup poll is estimating an unprecedented Republican gain tonight , enough to give them the Senate as well, and the Republicos at Conservative Home are already cooling the champagne. Tim Montgomerie has triumphantly recorded Conservative support for the Democrats at a limping 17%. Where, he smugly asks, have the former Tory Obamacons gone?
If the Obamacons were genuine One Nation Tories they should still be standing at his side. The witches’ brew of Republicanism and Tea Partyism offers up such a lethal cocktail of xenophobia, state minimalism, fear, religious fundamentalism and rampant, crush the poor libertarianism that it should inspire nothing but horror amongst all decent, modernising One Nation Tories. The idea that anyone in the Tory Party should feel an allegiance with Sarah Palin or Christine O’Donnell should be anathema. They should recognise instead that Obama and the Democrats have forged ahead over the past two years with an extraordinary legislative programme that, but for its conservative timidity, would bear proud comparison with the aims of One Nation Tories.
The health care bill could put the number of insured Americans over 95% - impressive and praiseworthy, even if still short of the 100% achieved by an NHS which David Cameron rightly placed at the heart of his campaign. The regulation of out of control capital markets fits well with David Cameron’s own calls before the election in Britain for more effective regulation. Which of us, after all, would argue with the need for a systemic regulator, such as is envisaged by Obama’s financial regulation bill? As for the stimulus, it may seem to be radically different to the Coalition’s austerity budget, but in George Osborne’s ring-fencing of education costs, his rescuing of defence contracts, and his careful focusing of the cuts that were made, he achieved a measurable triumph on behalf of the Coalition in balancing the need for continued fiscal stimulus with the aim of reducing the worst excesses of the budget deficit. What it clearly wasn’t was the Friedmanite slashing beloved of the Republicans and the Tory right, a result that should have relieved us all.
The Republicans operate to the right of a political centre of gravity that is already considerably rightwards of our own. The addition of the Tea Party, for all the honeyed words of Dan Hannan in his eloquent calls for a ‘repatriation’ of the Tea Party revolution, sends elements of them even further into a stratosphere that is thoroughly alien to European centrists. If the Republicans win big tonight, One Nation Tories should be weeping with the Democrats, and then working flat out to defend their own remarkable coalition from the ravages of libertarian pillaging that have caught out their friends amongst the Obamaites.