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Fred Thompson's decision to voyage to England in order to court Margarat Thatcher "which his advisers hope will enhance his support among devotees of former President Ronald Reagan" sure does seem a bit strange. Did word not get to him about the Revolution?

It all points to a weird quandry fro the follow-the-leader party. Bush is too unpopular to be the ring everybody wants to kiss, Reagan is dead, and H.W. Bush is the incumbent's father. Newt Gingrich, of course, steadfastly refuses to fade away and play the elder statesman role. So you've got Thatcher serving as a kind of ersatz symbolic leader of American conservatism. And, of course, if the USA circa 2007 actually exhibited the problems associated with British statism circa 1977 rather than, you know, the actual problems we actually have, I, too, might be tempted by the idea that we need a dose of Thatcherism.

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Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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