It won't be long for Blair.
Tony Blair and George Bush are two peas in a pod. Both are big government advocates, both want troops around the world. They part company over religion. Bush is an unreformed fundamentalist while Blair is typically European on such matters --- paying them scant attention. But both are in serious trouble in the polls at home.
The Conservative Party, which Bush has given a cold shoulder, is now well ahead of Labour in the polls. In fact they have an eight point lead at this time. And recent local elections had Labour coming in third. The Liberal Democrats got more votes than did Blair's party. And as time goes by the policy differences between the Conservatives and the LibDems have diminished. The Conservatives have quieted down on economic freedom but the LibDems are talking about it more and more. Add in their more tolerant view on social freedom and their antiwar stands and the LibDems are starting to look pretty good from a classical liberal viewpoint.
Only 31 percent of British voters say they want Blair to remain in office. The Times of London reports that more than half the voters say that the biggest problem the government has is the Prime Minister. In a recent meeting with MPs Blair said that he would make sure that his successor had plenty of time to transition into office. This basically puts to rest the idea that Blair intends to finish his term of office. And two thirds of voters said they expect Labour to lose the next election. That will mean an upswing for the Tories or the LibDems either way.
Britian's parliamentary system means that Blair's lose of support could have him out of office within the year. Unfortunately for Americans the same is not true in the USA. Bush will finish his term unless something very unusual happens. In the upcoming Congressional elections his unpopularity will hurt Republicans. And against all expectations from a year ago it now appears possible for the Democrats to take both Houses of Congress from the Republicans. Republicans in America are now about as popular as Tony Blair is in England.
This clearly can be a watershed year for the Democrats. And they have been meeting to discuss this opportunity. But it appears they simply won't learn their lessons. If the Republicans win it is not because Republicans are decent but because Democrats are stupid. Rep. Barney Frank is already whinning about how Democrats ought to be talking more about income redistribution. Rubbish, Barney, rubbish. Taking from people who work hard for their money is what caused Democrats to lose the indepdents and working Democrats. It was precisely this sort of watered down socialism that gave Republicans the advantage. A smart Democrat would be running in support of budget cuts and smaller, leaner government not throw more goodies to the special interest groups.
Neocon William Kristol, who helped the betrayal of the Reagan legacy by pushing American military hegemony around the world is urging the Democrats to get behind America as a world policemen. Kristol, having destroyed the small government movement in the GOP now has his sight turned on destroying pro-American priciples in the second major party as well. Just as Democrats ought to ignore Barney Frank they ought to ignore William Kristol.
Scuttle the socialism, step up the heat on American interventionism and don't back down on civil liberties. That is what I would advise Democrats. And if Democrats want to see an excellent speech by one of their own they could do worse than look at the brillant speech by Al Gore which can be viewed on line.
Americans are tired of war. They are turning their back on Bush's failed internventionist policies. But they are not warming up to the redistributionists policies of the old Democrats and it would be a mistake for the opposition to think otherwise. Opposing Bush's foreign policy is not the same thing as embracing the economic snake oil of the Left.