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May 17, 2007 11:00 AM   Subscribe

BBC Filter: Asked whether he was "partly to blame" for Mr Blair's departure, Mr Bush joked: "I haven't polled the Labour conference, but, could be." ... And he rounded on British journalists asking about Mr Blair's retirement, accusing them of trying to "tap dance on the prime minister's grave". At least they'll always have Iraq. One wonders if he and Mr Brown will also have a special relationship.
posted by chuckdarwin (36 comments total)

 
US Policy directive; UK out, France new BFF.
posted by Keith Talent at 11:25 AM on May 17, 2007


Oh, and English muffins will be renamed Freedom Muffins before the year is out at the Congressional cafeteria, mark my words.
posted by Keith Talent at 11:26 AM on May 17, 2007 [1 favorite]



I believe the quote was "tap dance on the prime minister's political grave". Makes more sense that way.
posted by bukharin at 11:26 AM on May 17, 2007


man, what a sociopath.
posted by boo_radley at 11:43 AM on May 17, 2007


What a press conference! Bush blathers on trying to show support for Blair, while Blair has a OMG STFU look on his face.

Bush eventually blurts out:
"There's a lot of blowhards in the political process, a lot of hot-air artists, people who've got something fancy to say."

Something fancy to say? Nobody will accuse Bush of that...

Anyhoop, I guess the bond that tied these two together for so long must have been their shared appreciation in oratory.
posted by mazola at 12:16 PM on May 17, 2007


Adam Felber on "Bush and Blair, The Final Chapter"
posted by RavinDave at 12:24 PM on May 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


US Policy directive; UK out, France new BFF.

It seems that in exchange for a blank check to reform many of France's economic laws, Sarkozy is going to take a hard line against US foreign policy boondoggles. The first thing he did was appoint a member of the Socialist party at Foreign Minister. Then he said that pulling French troops out of Afhganistan might be something to consider, and finally, the headline on the front page of the Financial Times today is "Sarkozy to Focus on Global Warming."

The honeymoon Sarkozy enjoys with America's conservatives will likely be brief.
posted by deanc at 12:32 PM on May 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


Last dance in Washington--
Blair is on his last official US visit, and the contrast with his July 2003 tour, in the heady days of the Iraq war, couldn't be more pronounced. ...

I wonder if they gave each other makeovers during their sleepover and talked about how dreamy Wolfie, and Gonzo, and Musharraf, and Gordon Brown are? ; >
posted by amberglow at 2:22 PM on May 17, 2007


Wolfie

I'm sick because I immediately thought which Wolfie? Witzy or Blitzy?
posted by ao4047 at 2:29 PM on May 17, 2007


This FPP made go looking for a blast from the past.
posted by pax digita at 2:46 PM on May 17, 2007


I'm sick because I immediately thought which Wolfie? Witzy or Blitzy?

Either one--i'm thinking Blair would think Blitzer was a hottie, while Bush would know that Wolfowitz gave better hummers.
posted by amberglow at 3:01 PM on May 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


I still can't believe people aren't pissed there about Brown being anointed the new PM like this.
posted by amberglow at 3:05 PM on May 17, 2007


"tap dance on the prime minister's grave".

That knucklehead. Everybody knows you can't tap dance on a grave. You need a hard surface to tap dance on. You can, of course, tramp the dirt down.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:04 PM on May 17, 2007



What I don't understand is why Bush's handlers
permit him to be seen and heard in a forum with Tony Blair.
By himself Bush presents an image of oafishness and lack of mastery of his native language. In the presence of Blair he makes me cringe.
posted by notreally at 6:55 PM on May 17, 2007


By himself Bush presents an image of oafishness and lack of mastery of his native language.

One of the key reasons for his popularity among the kind of Americans who voted for him and support him. They see that as a proud badge of his anti-intellectualism. "Hey, he's one of us!" It's probably Bush's greatest talent, projecting this particular image.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:15 PM on May 17, 2007


By himself Bush presents an image of oafishness and lack of mastery of his native language. In the presence of Blair he makes me cringe.

I just watched their presentation in Rose Garden. This is my play-by-play:

Wow, this is guy is pretty well-spoken...

MMMMMOOOOORRRRRRRRONNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!

This guy really comes off like a human being, why don't I hear more of this?


DOOOOFFUUUUSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

[shake hands, everybody happy]
posted by phaedon at 7:55 PM on May 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


I still can't believe people aren't pissed there about Brown being anointed the new PM like this.

Why would they be? That's how things work in Westminster systems.
posted by Jimbob at 11:20 PM on May 17, 2007


amberglow - Blair is a Prime Minister, not a President. The British people elected his party to lead the country, not him personally. I'm not sure what we're supposed to be angry about.
Most people are glad to see the back of Blair and hopeful Brown can do a better job
posted by MrMustard at 12:14 AM on May 18, 2007


I still can't believe people aren't pissed there about Brown being anointed the new PM like this.

Nope, it's just how things work - the leader of the main party etc etc. Changing PMs without an election is not unknown, after all - Mrs Thatcher's unceremonious booting out in 1990, Harold Wilson suddenly resigning in 1976 when he realised his health was failing. The power of government is granted to the party that has the majority in Parliament, and the prime minister is the person who happens to be the head of that party.

There are rumblings about it, but it's generally realised that the kind of reform we'd need in order to have a directly elected prime minister would be likely to involve renaming that office 'president' and giving it the role of head of state. Not gonna happen.
posted by altolinguistic at 6:30 AM on May 18, 2007


I still can't believe people aren't pissed there about Brown being anointed the new PM like this.

Oh, they are. I really doubt Brown's ever going to be a popular prime minister now that he's been tarred with all this talk of ten years' plotting, being "a Stalin", a coronation not a contest, etc. He'll end up worse off than John Major did.
posted by reklaw at 7:47 AM on May 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


I get pretty annoyed about the lovefest that USians seem to have every time they see Blair with Bush. "Ohhh.... I wish we had one like that."

Yeah sure, he's sincere and eloquent. So what? I know plenty of sincere, eloquent assholes and he's one of the biggest. He's a neo-con with a red rosette. Fucker. Don't let the door hit your arse on the way out.
posted by Jakey at 8:21 AM on May 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


amberglow - Blair is a Prime Minister, not a President. The British people elected his party to lead the country, not him personally. I'm not sure what we're supposed to be angry about.

His party should then be choosing a replacement, not Blair. Why is it Blair's choice? Your Prime Ministers have enormous power in reality, and independent of what their party wishes--as we've seen, no?, and should not be appointed like this.
posted by amberglow at 9:21 AM on May 18, 2007


Can't wait for Bush's first opportunity to say "You're doing a great job, Brownie!"
posted by beelzbubba at 9:22 AM on May 18, 2007


The power of government is granted to the party that has the majority in Parliament, and the prime minister is the person who happens to be the head of that party.

There are rumblings about it, but it's generally realised that the kind of reform we'd need in order to have a directly elected prime minister would be likely to involve renaming that office 'president' and giving it the role of head of state. Not gonna happen.


But the head of a party who is themselves already out the door is obviously not speaking for the people anymore (and Blair is leaving on his own schedule, not the party's, or otherwise he'd be gone already, no?). The party themselves--and citizens--should be deciding in some sort of fair process--not an anointing. In many ways, your PM has even more power than our President.
posted by amberglow at 9:24 AM on May 18, 2007


Tony Blair, Bill Frist Floated As Possible Wolfowitz Replacements At World Bank
posted by amberglow at 9:38 AM on May 18, 2007


If the Labour party caucus wanted to, they could roll Tony with a party vote of no confidence. This is how Jenny Shipley became New Zealand's female Prime Minister.
posted by X-00 at 4:30 PM on May 18, 2007


amberglow - Eh? Brown is not 'Blair's choice', although he did endorse him. The Labour Party had the opportunity to elect a new leader, only Brown got the number of nominations required to stand, therefore there was no contest and he will take over when Blair stands down. There is nothing sinister going on here.
posted by MrMustard at 12:43 AM on May 19, 2007


not sinister--it's unrepresentative. The party only had the opportunity to pick someone when Blair decided he was done, not when he lost public confidence or the party's confidence.
posted by amberglow at 12:06 PM on May 19, 2007


This is great news, if it actually happens: Gordon Brown is prepared to risk the future of the "special relationship" with the United States by reversing Tony Blair's support for the Iraq war, President George W Bush has been warned.
He has been briefed by White House officials to expect an announcement on British troop withdrawals from Mr Brown during his first 100 days in power. It would be designed to boost the new prime minister's popularity in the opinion polls.
The President recently discussed with a senior White House adviser how to handle the fallout from the expected loss of Washington's main ally in Iraq, The Sunday Telegraph has learned. ...

posted by amberglow at 7:24 PM on May 19, 2007


Probably no-one's looking at this now - but amberglow, I do think you've got the wrong end of the stick here. There are certainly opportunities to replace a prime minister who has lost the party's confidence (e.g. Thatcher - though the Conservatives' procedure for ditching a party leader is much more brutal than Labour's). The fact is, Blair did not lose his party's confidence. If he had, there could have been a leadership challenge at any stage.

If a PM loses the public's confidence then his/her party can be hammered in local or general elections, which happen according to their own schedules. He/she can also be unseated in his/her own constituency. And a PM who has lost the public's confidence will, if the party knows what's good for it, be ditched by the party as well. I think this would have happened pretty soon, had Blair not made it clear that he was going.
posted by altolinguistic at 3:50 AM on May 21, 2007


and I'm with MrMustard - this is hardly an anointing, and Blair was very slow to endorse Brown (it is said that Blair was hoping there'd be a challenge - theirs is a complex relationship, to say the least).

Any MP wishing to stand as party leader has to get 45 nominations from fellow MPs (this is also the criterion for triggering a leadership challenge, as I mentioned above) - there were two apart from Brown who wanted to, one of whom stood aside to allow the other a clear run. That one (McDonnell) did not get the 45 nominations, and Brown got more than 300, so Brown has the party's support and is certainly not just being crowned by Blair.
posted by altolinguistic at 4:08 AM on May 21, 2007


ok, but it still doesn't seem right--Blair announced he wanted Brown ages ago, no? I presume Brown ensured he had the votes starting then, but didn't see anything in the Guardian or BBC News until recently about any challengers at all.
posted by amberglow at 7:42 AM on May 21, 2007


The trouble was that the nominations were not secret, so only the absolute hard left of the party - people who have no hope of any kind of ministerial position in Brown's government - voted for a contest. If it'd been a secret ballot, I think we would have had not just McDonnell, but all sorts of other candidates too.
posted by reklaw at 7:22 AM on May 23, 2007


secret would have been better--can they change the rules, or the bigshots don't want to?
posted by amberglow at 7:25 AM on May 23, 2007


I think everyone with the power to change the rules is pretty happy with the result. Kind of the same reason we don't have proportional representation.
posted by reklaw at 7:28 AM on May 23, 2007


well, none of us really have good systems yet...maybe someday?
posted by amberglow at 8:27 AM on May 23, 2007


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