Barone’s lesson is that the left is fucked, everywhere, worldwide. Dionne’s is that Republicans should move to the center.
What’s great about a foreign election is that you can draw any lesson you like from it. Given any outcome and any possible conclusion, you can find a way of arguing that the outcome is evidence for the conclusion. For example, if the Tories do well, it will partly be because of Labor losing support to Lib Dems. So it could be that the “lesson” is that Dems need to worry more about their left flank. Or that Republicans need to worry about their extreme flank. Or that Democrats should admit they are Beckett-loving atheists like Nick Clegg. So Barone’s and Dionne’s conclusions are just two of a more or less infinite set of conclusions that it is possible to draw from the UK elections…even though those elections haven’t happened yet.
I’m reminded of a Noam Chomsky quote from commenter Mark S. about a very different topic, evolutionary psychology:
You find that people cooperate, you say, ‘Yeah, that contributes to their genes’ perpetuating.’ You find that they fight, you say, ‘Sure, that’s obvious, because it means that their genes perpetuate and not somebody else’s’. In fact, just about anything you find, you can make up some story for it.
(It’s no accident that David Brooks and Nick Kristof are both preparing books on cognitive science, btw.)