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.