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Tue

08

May

2007

The Difference Between Bush and Blair
Tuesday, 08 May 2007 12:00
by Andrew Bard Schmookler

Here are some passages from the British newspaper, the INDEPENDENT, describing some interesting poll results concerning how the British people regard soon-t0-be-retiring Prime Minister, Tony Blair.

On the one hand, there is this bad news for Blair:
Seven out of 10 people believe that Iraq will prove to be Tony Blair’s most enduring legacy, according to an opinion poll for The Independent to mark the 10th anniversary today of the election victory that brought him to power.

As the Prime Minister prepares to announce his resignation next week, the survey by CommunicateResearch reveals that 69 per cent of the British public believe he will be remembered most for the Iraq war. Remarkably, his next highest “legacy rating” - just 9 per cent - is for his relationship with the American President, George Bush.
Looks pretty bleak for Blair, no? His main legacy is an unpopular war. What he’ll most be remembered for is a disaster.

But on the other hand, there’s this:
Despite public hostility over Iraq, 61 per cent of people believe that he has been a good Prime Minister overall, with only 36 per cent thinking he has been a bad one.

Only one in 10 Labour supporters say he has been a bad Prime Minister, while 89 per cent regard him as having been a good one.

The poll suggests there is strong respect for Mr Blair across the political spectrum. A majority (62 per cent) of Liberal Democrat supporters think he has been a good Prime Minister, while only 36 per cent of them regard him as a bad one. Almost half (45 per cent) of Tory voters believe he has been a good Prime Minister, while 53 per cent judge him a bad one.
And that points up the difference between Bush and Blair.

For Blair, Iraq stands as a major mistake. He apparently decided –for reasons probably neither altogether disreputable nor stupid– that it was necessary for the security of the civilized world in the aftermath of 9/11 to remove Saddam Hussein from power. He also continued for four years –for reasons that I do not understand, and that no one over there was able to explain to my satisfaction– to remain on board Bush’s war, long after he must have seen how greatly he’d misjudged his ally.

These are very significant mistakes. But they do not define the entirety of his accomplishment during a decade in power.

And evidently the British people see this: despite the fact that the biggest single item in the picture, the overall picture is not one that they condemn. More than sixty percent of Britons see him as a good Prime Minister overall.

But with Bush, it is different.

With Bush, as with Blair, Iraq represents a major blot. But with Bush, this blot is of a piece with all the rest of his presidency.

With both men, the Iraq invasion was a blunder. With Bush –far more (I think) than with Blair– it was even moreso a crime as well. And as a crime, it blends in with the whole pattern of Bushite lawlessness.

If the invasion of Iraq represented an arrogant imperial over-reach, it was also emblematic of this president’s pervasive self-serving hubris.

If Iraq was botched because of an indifference to genuine knowledge and understanding, it is consistent with this president’s lack of that elementary form of wisdom, knowing that he does not know,which is in turn a part of the still larger pattern of the profound lack of self-knowledge on which hypocrisy feeds.

If the selling of this war was a campaign of lies, big and small, these lies are but part of the tapestry of deception the Bushites have woven in their communications with the American people on virtually every matter on which they’ve spoken.

If the Bushite venture in Iraq was callous about the human costs to be paid –by Iraqis and Americans– to satisfy their imperial ambitions, that callousness fits with an entire presidency marked by indifference to human needs other than the over-weening lust for domination.

So when Bush leaves office, his countrymen may well identify Iraq as the dominant story of his years in the White House, just as Blair’s are doing.

But when the question of an overall evaluation of this presidency comes up, there will be no majority telling pollsters that, despite Iraq, Bush has been a good president.

Sure, he’ll get his twenty-some percent, for whom loyalty means never having to confront reality, who’ll still tell pollsters they approve of this president.

But the majority of American will see this whole Bush presidency as a disaster and, perhaps, as a disgrace. 
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Crosby said:

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tony blair
The reason why the British public (me being one) overall rated him as a good president err prime-minister is because he supposidly managed the economy with a great deal of care. People were also bewittled with his grasp of leadership skills, or should I say his manipulative salesmen jargen.
Those people in Britain who voted him good overall in his 10 years as premier obviously have forgotten the 10 years of tax hikes (council tax, morgage payments, student fees, petrol, etc) and the stealth taxes the government implemented, which would go a long way in producing a strong economy.
 
May 08, 2007
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