The headlines everywhere scream “Blair reelected despite the fact that most people think he’s horrible, hated, Bush’s poodle, and has stinky aftershave!” — Or, at least something along those lines. The fact that Blair probably won’t get 40% of the vote is cited as proof of his unpopularity, mostly because of his Iraq stance, along with some domestic issues.
As of Friday morning, it looks as if Blair of the Labor Party– excuse me, Labour Party– will get around 37% of the vote. Michael Howard of the Conservative Party is coming in at around 33% of the vote, and others cleaning up the rest of the percentage. The big news is that Blair’s Labour Party is losing seats in the House of Commons faster than it takes Madonna to put on a fake British accent at the Queen’s cotillion.
So, this is all billed as a “failure” for Blair, including amongst the American press.
Just as an ironic comparison, take a look at the 1992 election in the United States. Clinton got about 43% of the popular vote, Bush came in at around 38%, and Perot had 19%. Did the press consider this a colossal Clinton failure? Did the press report that Bubba was disliked because he didn’t get anywhere near a raw majority? No, Clinton is lauded among the liberal hoity toity as a fantastic and popular president.
Couple that with the fact that, in 1994, the Republican gains in the House and Senate were immense… did the press blame the so-called “Republican Revolution”, which gave the elephant party their first control of Congress in 40 years, on Clinton’s failings? Of course not. The latter was simply the fault of “dumb, unenlightened voters” who were simply to preoccupied with being tight-sphinktered jerks to realize how cool Bill Clinton was.
In the U.K., virtually the same thing happens to Blair’s party– Winning with less than a pure majority while losing party seats in the House– and the sole reason is because Blair is hated for buddying up with Bush? It makes my job easier when the bias is so incredibly obvious.