I have this theory which I can't really prove, but I would like to throw out for someone to look into:
The rise of the lunatic right in the US and the deinstutionalisation of the mentally ill.
First off, the world view of the lunatic right doesn't coincide with the rest of thee world's conservatives: e.g., UK tories have no problem with climate change, gun control, and quite a few other issues which are spanners in the political works in the US (wedge issues? political footballs?).
I find people like Michael Portillo and Ken Clarke can be quite lucid most of the time, but they can come up with some real zingers (e.g., Ken Clarke making a comment about how much we earn with Legal Aid).
And I make no bones about it that Margaret Thacher was an effective PM.
Disclaimer--most of the traffic on my blog comes from Michael Portillo's personal website. Portillo Served in Margaret Thatcher's cabinet as well as John Major's.