Tony Abbott, one of the leading figures in Australia’s (conservative) Liberal party, has a very sensible and upbeat analysis of why Howard lost here.
Among other points it argues that the excellence of Howard’s record in office is so widely accepted that if anything at all goes wrong under Labor, it will look like a Golden Age. There is no need for the Liberal Opposition to tear itself apart over the past therefore–as it did after earlier defeats. Though the same condition does not apply to the Bush record or to the John Major record in Britain, the advice remains good.
In the British case, alas, the Tories contrived to get the worst of all worlds by apologizing for–not the amiable collapse of Major–but the success of Thatcher. Fortunately they now seem to be getting over that. To make assurance doubly sure, however, maybe both the Tories and the GOP should fly Abbott over for some strategic sessions.