In a party conference address earlier this month, Osborne gave the speech that an American politician will someday have to give. He said that he is not ideologically hostile to government. “Millions of Britons depend on public services and cannot opt out,” he declared. He defended government workers against those who would deride them as self-serving bureaucrats: “Conservatives should never use lazy rhetoric that belittles those who are employed by the government.”

But, he pivoted, “it is because we treat those who work in our public sector with respect that I want to be straight with you about the choices we face.” The British government needs to cut back…

Osborne’s speech was not an isolated event. The Conservatives have treated British voters as adults for a year now, with a string of serious economic positions. The Conservatives supported the Labour government bank bailout, even though it was against their political interest to do so. Last November, Osborne opposed a cut in the value-added taxes on the grounds that the cuts were unaffordable and would not produce growth. It is not easy for any conservative party to oppose tax cuts, but this one did it…

If any Republican is looking for a way forward, start by doing what they’re doing across the Atlantic.