Jewish World Review Feb. 28, 2003 / 26 Adar I, 5763
Debra J. Saunders
SACRAMENTO HE USED TO be dismissed as Tony
Blinton, a Clintonesque slave to polls and public
opinion. Now British Prime Minister Tony Blair is
taking heat for not bowing to public opinion and
instead steadfastly supporting George W. Bush on
possible war with Iraq.
Now he's my hero. And I'm not the only American
grateful to Blair for showing true leadership -- he has
the courage to take a political risk for the greater
Which made me wonder how Bob Mulholland, the
California Democratic Party bad boy who has served
as an adviser to Blair and his Labor Party, was
juggling his support for Blair as Blair supports
President Bush. Mulholland, you see, loves Blair, but
Or "Bush Jr.," as Mulholland calls him.
So I went to Democratic Party headquarters to ask
Mulholland about Blair and his role as the new best
buddy of President Bush.
Is Blair right to support the United States on Iraq?
Yes, Mulholland replied.
Is Bush right on Iraq? Mulholland said that he doesn't
know. Blair's spot on. Bush is iffy.
Blair, Mulholland predicted , will survive politically
because it's the end game that counts in military
Mulholland added that Bush erred when he walked
away from the Kyoto global- warming pact. Bush
angered Europe, now America is paying the price -- a
split in Euro-think over the Iraq situation.
To my surprise, I have come to agree with Mulholland
on that. As policy, Bush was right to reject Kyoto.
But as a matter of politics, he should have pretended
that he really wanted to meet Kyoto's
greenhouse-gas reduction goals,
while doing as close to nothing as a president can do
to not meet them. That's what President Clinton did --
and it worked for him.
Then Mulholland faulted Bush for not knowing how to
talk in a way that appeals to Europeans. It was
mistake, he argued, for Bush to say Osama bin
Laden was wanted "dead or alive."
White House aide Tucker Eskew responded to
Mulholland's dig, saying, "Hard- core partisans will
always struggle to find criticism of a successful
leader. If that's the best he can do, he's reflecting
Mulholland's not the first Democrat who knew better
than to attack Bush on a war the public supports, so
he stooped to saying that Bush failed to sell the use
of force against Iraq. It's not what Bush is doing, but
how he's doing it.
Disappointed Democrats sigh that it's too bad Bush
is not as articulate as Blair.
Except that across the pond, the same chorus is
being sung by Blair's critics. A recent Guardian
headline read: "Blair hasn't even convinced his own
security establishment" on Iraq. "You cannot just
take people for granted," a Conservative Party
spokesman complained to the New York Times.
The problem isn't Blair's delivery; it's that there are
Europeans who won't be persuaded by any argument
Mulholland pointed to a recent poll in Germany by
the independent polling agency Forsa. When asked
who was the "greatest threat to world peace," 38
percent of Germans said Hussein, 37 percent said
Bush. Forsa also found that 57 percent of Germans
believe the United States is "a nation of
Mulholland interprets the poll as saying "that these
people have been our friends since the end of World
War II. We, with the Marshall Plan, rebuilt them.
They became the (world's) third-largest economy. It
says that we may be talking (wrong) and doing the
We're wrong? No, they're ingrates, I retorted.
"Typical American," Mulholland fired back at me.
Guilty as charged.
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© 2000, Creators Syndicate