In 2004, two British journalists, John Micklethwait (now editor of The Economist) and Adrian Wooldridge, published a book called The Right Nation, which charted the rise of the American Republican Party after 1964. It prophesied a Republican hegemony for the immediate future. The rest, as you know, was history: the 2006 Congressional elections, and then the events of last week.

That’s called being trapped in the moment, and they weren’t alone. Lots of folks have been explaining over recent years that the Democrats, having allowed themselves to drift fatally away from the core values of middle America could not win again for the foreseeable future. Many Democrats themselves probably believed it.

It was the same with our own Labor Party before 2007: no talent, no ideas, inward-looking, can’t relate to middle Australia. But all it took was one election and the boot moved to the other foot.