The Atlantic Monthly magazine’s lead article for May is entitled, “The Tragedy of Tony Blair: Spin, Scandal, and the Fearful ‘Yes’ to a War He could have Stopped.” The cover photo of Blair is barely recognizable
As I initially browsed through the article, I felt a strange sense of sadness. Over the years whenever I heard Blair speak, I wished my own president sounded as good.
Reading the article more intently, the following lines struck me:
“…Blair is, I think, the only British Prime Minister save Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher who could be considered genuinely famous in America, where he has excited something beyond mere affection or admiration. He has been lauded as ‘the Prime Minister of the United States,’ or, in the writer Paul Berman’s less facetious phrase, ‘the leader of the free world.’ Nor was this just gratitude for his heartfelt response to the mass murder in New York: more than two years before the attacks, when Bill Clinton was still twenty months away from leaving the White House, the Washington journalist Dana Milbank was moved to say that at least the United States has ‘a leader who is acting presidential’ on the international stage, before adding ruefully, ‘Unfortunately, this leader is Tony Blair.’
“After 9/11 Blair touched a deeper chord with Americans, employing an eloquence that did not come so naturally to… Bush to express the moral case for fighting terrorism and, later, for invading Iraq.”
A few sentences beyond, the author quotes Will Marshall, of the Progressive Policy Institute, referring to left to center Americans as “Blair Democrats.”
All these sentiments I can claim, although I might refer to myself as a “Blair Independent,” or, if I claim my right of center leanings, a “Blair Republican.” There are so many Republicans (the few that we are) at the seminary are stupefied by this man we call president. If there are plenty of other Republicans out there who feel the same, Bush is in trouble. The Religious Right cannot elect a president all by themselves!
With sadness, I read the article, and hope that this man, who claims his Anglican faith, does not end as a tragic figure.