US citizens - your current views on Tony Blair...

Several commentators on recent news programmes in the UK have suggested that the US ‘love’ of Tony Blair in the US is a thin veneer.

They are suggesting many people (neo-cons principally) have begun to resent and blame Blair for convincing Bush to return to the UN for the (failed) second resolution for the war in Iraq, and believe he is becoming more of a liability to the US than an asset. They are following his trouble & turmoil at home (Hutton etc…) and now wish to distance themselves from Blair. That he has served his purpose.

Is this a view which is becoming more prevalent, or is it just a small but vocal (and powerful) minority?

How do you now view Tony Blair, and how do you perceive he is now viewed by the general populace?
Thanks for any comments.

I really like him. He is a gifted speaker who is capable of imparting onto me more motivation than my own president. Blair seems to be clever, he has a good sense of humor, and he comes across as a good idealistic human being. It’s quite unfair for any Bush supporters to push blame on Blair for any actions that Bush himself decided to take.

He seems to me to be a voice of relative reason and balance. On the world stage, I think it’s definitely to the US’s advantage to have him on their side. Even so, I’d have second thoughts about buying a used car from him.

I have heard that he was one of the reasons to go after the second resolution was because he needed for domestic reasons. However, that turned out to be no big deal in the end since the war went so well anyway. His speech in Congress was great, very well recieved by most of the neo-cons I read. I follow British politics a little and don’t know what Hutton is, I don’t think anyone over here cares about it. Blair is as good a friend to the US as we have ever hd.
The only criticism I ever hear of him is that he is determined to hand over British sovreignity over to the French and Germans, without even a vote.

The Hutton Inquiry into the death of David Kelly.

The commentators I spoke of on the OP certainly suggested that many of the Neo-cons in or around the White House were concerned about the inquiry and the effects it was having on general opinions. Perhaps their concern is not filtering out to the general populace.

He seems like a decent, well spoken, honest and genuine man. Other than that I don’t think of him much at all.

He seems like kind of a pussy, too eager to follow Bush to war instead of exercising some moderation. I do question his integrity as well, given the lack of any WMDs to date.

I like him. He radiates intelligence and capability. I think you can trust that whatever decision he makes, he’s thought it through very carefully, and thought all the alternatives through. Whether or not his decisions serve himself above his constituents, I don’t know, but I think he will be remembered as someone who can play the political field extremely well. Would that I could say the same about other leaders…

I haven’t heard anyone around me say that they resent Blair or think he should mind his own business, or anything of that nature.

Well, I think he’s a little too close to a socialist for my taste, but he’s trustworthy, and that counts. A friend, even one whose private life is a little flaky, in need is a friend indeed.

I see Blair as a skilled politician. He’s still in office, so I guess his nation likes him. His dogged loyalty to the US government’s every whim makes him look foolish sometimes.

He comes across as an intelligent and capable man. Too bad he was unable to avoid becoming Bush’s lap dog. For this, I have lost all respect for him.

I have watched him speak a couple of times and I know that he is, in fact, a very talented speaker, probably more so than any American politician, and he seems to be doing a decent job of trying to retain good relations between Britain and the rest of Europe while at the same time preventing the EU bureaucracy from taking over the British economy entirely. However, I can’t say I like his handling of the Iraq issue at all. He seems obsessed with defending against the report that he wanted reports of Saddam’s weapons capabilities “sexed up”, but has not, to my knowledge, tackled the issue of why he agreed to a war under pretenses that have thus far proven to be entirely false.

Remember that, barring catastrophic events, most of the US tends not to think much about other countries, much less have opinions about their leaders.

I think that much of the US population only became aware of Tony Blair in the context of the run-up to war in Iraq. Those who supported the war welcomed his support and thought him courageous for fighting the tides of European opinion. Those who did not thought of him as “Bush’s lapdog”.

That’s simplistic, of course, especially on the anti-war side. I would say that the political left in the US was somewhat more aware of Blair before the Iraq war than was the right, and had something of a favorable opinion of him as a kind of “Euro-Clinton.” Their response to his support for the war has substantially been one of confusion. Many among them have been somewhat hesitant to write him off completely, instead responding as if he’s come down with some sort of unfortunate illness.

Aro – I wouldn’t say that a souring of opinion regarding Blair is at all prevalent in the US. If there’s any buzz like that among the Neocon movers and shakers, it certainly isn’t spreading to the general public. To the extent that support for US involvement in Iraq is apparently slipping in the polls, I think it’s largely a function of disillusionment (whether justified or not) regarding the cost and pace of progress. Any and all negative feeling in the US is focused squarely on Bush.

Like most political debates here, this tends to be framed in simplistic black and white with a shade of depressed gray in between. There’s no significant audience for a rationalization as nuanced as “Everything would have worked out fine if not for Blair making us go back to the UN.”

And, among those who support the the war and rebuilding of Iraq at all, I think Blair’s recent speach before Congress was very well received. If anything, he may have inspired some jealousy.