A couple of American friends visited this afternoon. Both are US Republicans. However, one had been convinced George Bush would lose the White House last November in the teeth of a four year attack from Democrats, which: 1 questioned the legitimacy of his 2000 election victory and; 2 sustained personal attacks on him throughout his first term. That he won may have come down to a new Sluggeresque rule of politics: playing the man at the expense of going for the ball, simply means you lose the ball. Alternatively, David McWilliams may have it when he suggests a forty year metropolitan liberal consensus is coming to an uncomfortable end.