Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Blair vs. Clinton?

Alex Massie of The Scotsman reflects on the decline and delated fall of Tony Blair, concluding that "Blair’s political gifts, to be sure, allowed him to skate past his critics for years, but, after so much time in office and so many fewer achievements than he promised, there are few buyers for the proposition that Labour is throwing away a pearl richer than all its tribe."

Blair is thought to be Britain’s Clinton, but unlike Clinton, he never got any significant policy reforms out of Parliament. Of course, some of Clinton’s reforms (especially welfare reform and the balanced budget) are reflections of our different political system: the Republican opposition made it possible as well as necessary that Clinton sign off on welfare reform whereas Blair, in Massie’s words, "never convinced Labour to drink his own Kool-Aid--a failure that ensures his legacy is less than it could have been."  

Discussions - 2 Comments

Disagree Steve. Blair DID get one major, significant, civilizational "reform" through the Commons, and past his party, and that’s the war effort.

Additionally, every one of Clinton’s "reforms" were his attempts either to triangulate to the political disadvantage of the GOP, or were reforms thrust down his throat by Gingrich. Either way, the share of the plaudits that should move Clinton’s way are minor, very minor.

Anyone who has ever watched Question Time in the Commons, KNOWS Blair IS a political force, not to be tangled with by anyone less than a political force. Former Conservative leader William Hague was intellectually versatile, and brilliantly witty, frequently getting even his political opponents bending over in laughter in the aisles. But that didn’t help him get past Blair, did it. I expect that "New Labour" will enjoy the same results that the "New Democrats" enjoyed after Clinton, namely, slim pickings.

Didn’t the limeys shrug off Churchill in the same fashion? Thanks for winning World War II dude. There’s the door. Don’t let it hit you on the ass on your way out.

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