July 14, 2003

Tony Blair Polling Well in Hell's Eighth Circle
Too bad his voters are in the UK
by Matthew Barganier

Say you're Tony Blair. You've just deposed the Hitler of the year, spared the world certain annihilation, and hit those stuffy Muslims with a dose of Cool Britannia. This is your moment. You should be living it up (in a well-regulated, inoffensive, New Labour sort of way). Yet, instead of any gratitude from your subjects, all you get are impudent questions about "forged" this, "dodgy" that, and "sexed-up" the other. Your old socialist buddies on the Continent don't send you cards on May Day anymore and that hurts, but not as much as being a hometown pariah. Of course, you're a one-worlder who despises localism, national sovereignty, and similar superstitions, but until the U.N. names you secretary-general, you're stuck with an electorate that doesn't appreciate your courage and vision. What's a transnational progressive to do?

Well, there's always emigration. If Mr. Blair moves, he ought to copy Hillary and shop around for his ideal constituency – panderers, seducers, flatterers, hypocrites, deceivers, sowers of discord, and falsifiers. In other words, some lucky Virgil might soon be guiding the Blairs through metro D.C. real estate.

As British opinions on the late war turn frosty, warmer environs must seem appealing to the prime minister. Leaking his resignation to the tabloids at midnight, shafting the BBC, firing a terse last shot from Downing St. ("You won't have Tony Blair to kick around anymore"), and departing Heathrow for Dulles – who can blame him for dreaming? He's obviously wasting his talents in a geopolitical backwater. The Once-Great Britain hasn't been big enough to hold Tony's ambitions since 1914. Behind the awkward chumminess he affects for Dubya on stage, one senses a flicker of resentment, the old switched-at-birth fantasy. Bush couldn't hack two minutes of Prime Minister's Questions, but Blair would find the White House a breeze: tight scripts, photo-ops, a complacent press, and an endless supply of scapegoats when something goes wrong.

America's living room hawks appear to be thinking the same thing. Last week while cruising National Review online (which I do, dear reader, so that you don't have to), the ad at the top caught my eye. "Click to thank Tony." Upon doing so, one is transferred to a site supposedly run by an American civilian. After boning up on the short happy life of Anthony Blair, visitors can urge the prez to give his soulmate the Medal of Freedom. They can also send love letters to No. 10, as several thousand have done so far. Powerful stuff:

Should the Brits fail to recognize the treasure they have in you, please give them the single finger salute and bring your family to Virginia. As I understand it, the Governor's place in Williamsburg has recently been remodeled in anticipation. Virginia

It seems the Brits are failing to recognize said treasure. And you don't put treasures in the governor's mansion.

You were an inspiration to all of us for standing up for what's right in the face of withering criticism. No one in my adult lifetime has done so with such strength, dignity, and especially, resolve. I wouldn't mind making an exception to allow you to run for President in '08.

My wife and I have the highest respect for you, Mr. Blair, but we still have to ask, what were you drinking that caused you to consult with Bill Clinton? – Arizona

I think the verb you're looking for, Arizona, is "consort," what johns do with hookers. Also, I believe the cliché is "what were you smoking?" Anyway, Tony has been nothing but consistent in his attitude towards U.S. intervention: more, more, everywhere, and at all times. Let him run in '04.

Thank you for your support. Not just in the war in Iraq, but all that you do to help democracy. Nebraska

Like letting British citizens vote on the European Union constitution? Tony says, "The only reason people are campaigning for a referendum is so they can go out and say 'no' - effectively paralysing the EU!" Simon Hoggart of the Guardian pegs this as "the exact equivalent of saying 'the only reason people want a general election is so they can go out and vote for the Tories – effectively paralysing the government!'" Ah, democracy.

I wish you good luck with that rowdy Parliament of yours. Washington

You mean the Tories who couldn't extract the thumbs from their, uh, mouths if their lives depended on it? Or the Labour majority that also voted for war?

I offer my sincerest thanks, and most profound apology. When you rose to office, I held you in low regard due to your apparent friendship with the previous occupant of the Oval Office.

In the years since, I have come to realize that your friendship was with the U.S., and would not be dissipated by a temporary lapse in our voters' judgment. As such, I must now proclaim that, contrary to my previously held views, you are at least half the man that Maggie Thatcher was! Florida

Or twice the gorgon. How many civilians did Maggie bag in the Falklands?

My wife has shifted her home decorating tastes from French Country to English Country in the aftermath of the war. California

Fascinating.

Whether to seize and destroy the WMD, or whatever reason, I am glad that freedom's forces have put an end to mass graves and terror in Iraq. Arizona

Whether to seize and destroy the WMD, or whatever reason, I am glad that freedom's forces have put an end to mass graves and terror in the Ukraine. Or whatever.

God bless you Tony Blair! Thank you for standing with America in the battle against terrorism. You are such a breath of fresh air – a man standing for what is right, moral and just, regardless of the threat to one's own career.

The world needs more men like you to fight for what is right, and a lot less of the politicians who would sell their own mother for re-election. – South Carolina

Don't you just hate those guys, the kind who use friends up and throw them away? If the president keeps distancing himself from the prime minister, it won't be long before Bush country resumes its reflexive hatred of Blair. Where will Tony find refuge then?

I hear Australia's nice.

~ Matthew Barganier

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Matthew Barganier works for an educational philanthropy in Baton Rouge, LA. A late bloomer in his mid-twenties, he has only recently joined the ranks of web punditry. He is an alumnus of Louisiana State University and the University of Alabama.

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