Tory stupidity

I think this complements Michael`s post about attempts to impeach Tony Blair quite nicely:

Michael Howard last night accused George Bush of seeking to protect Tony Blair in an extraordinary row sparked by news that the Tory leader has been banned from the White House.

Mr Howard hit back after it emerged that his calls for Mr Blair to stand down over the Iraq war have enraged the US President. The simmering feud was
laid bare yesterday as it emerged that Karl Rove, Mr Bush’s most powerful official, told the Tory leader that he “could forget about meeting the President”.

Mr Howard last night launched an unprecedented attack on Mr Bush. “If some people in the White House, in their desire to protect Mr Blair, think I am too tough on Mr Blair or too critical of him, they are entitled to their opinion. But I shall continue to do my job as I see fit,” he said.

Senior Conservatives last night admitted that relations between the leader and Mr Bush broke down in February after Mr Howard called for the Prime Minister’s resignation in a Commons debate.

In a furious message to Mr Howard’s office Mr Rove said: “You can forget about meeting the President full stop. Don’t bother coming, you are not meeting him.”

Mr Howard is the first Tory leader in modern times to have been denied a meeting with a Republican president. Traditionally, the Tories and Republicans have been considered natural allies.

The Sun also reports on this affair and adds this:

Senior US Right-wingers blame Mr Howard for undermining the coalition in Iraq and say they are privately rooting for a Labour victory in the next election.

A Tory source said: “They see Tony Blair as a true ally against terror and the Tories as a bunch of w*****s.”

(w*****s is obviously supposed to mean “wankers”).

All this might seem like an overreaction by Bush and Rove, but David Carr at Samizdata knows a bit more:

Strange as it may sound, I have been reading what sound like reasonably reliable reports in the UK press about squadrons of young British Conservative
activists hot-footing it off to the USA to work in the Presidential election campaign…for the Democrats!.

In the interests of accuracy, I think it ought to be said that this is far more about the Tories trying to pull some sort of rug from under ‘Teflon Tony’ than establishing any sort of link with either the US Democrat Party or Mr Kerry. But in any event, it is still a deeply ill-judged political blunder….

…one wonders what these jet-setting young Tories were hoping to achieve by throwing their lot in with Mr Kerry? There is nothing to suggest that a President Kerry would somehow undermine Tony Blair. If the Tories cannot make a dent in him at
home, then how are they going to land any meaningful punches on him via Washington? And if they imagine that they are going to be the subject of any outreach by either the US Democrats of the Guardian-reading classes at home then all I can say is that they are even stupider than they look (and they look fairly stupid).

In short, the British Tories have managed to alienate one of their few powerful friends for no gain whatsoever and, since I assume that the leadership either gave their blessing to these transatlantic jaunts or, at the very least, turned a blind eye, then it merely reinforces my view that the British Conservative Party is in the hands of
buffoons and political pygmies.

If you consider this stupid affair in context of the benighted attempt to impeach Blair, it seems as if he is driving his opponents up the wall the same way Bush is doing it to his own in the US (and elsewhere). I don`t think that, barring accidents, anything can prevent Blair’s reelection.

It just remains to be seen how angry at Howard Rove really is. If he is as angry as it seems there might be even some ads of Swift boat vets describing their tour of duty on the River Thames fighting the Viet Tories. :-)

6 thoughts on “Tory stupidity”

  1. C-SPAN had open phones and was taking calls today while broadcasting from the convention floor. A British woman called and identified herself as an American and a Republican. She spoke with a British accent, so I don’t know if it was a put-on or not.

    She proceeded to rail against Bush, the war in Iraq, Blair ‘following’ Bush into Iraq, and the likelyhood that Iran was next. She seemed fairly angry.

    I suspect, natch, she was neither American nor Republican but now I wonder, Was she a Torie? Kidding.

    I have a really hard time getting a feel for Brit politics, but I have to say that Howard’s cheap opportunism and duplicitousness is transparent even from over here. It’s pathetic and worse. It’s cowardly.

    Does he think he’s showing leadership by parroting the Blair-lied meme? Didn’t he see the intel and wasn’t he persuaded by it? Did he not support the war?

    Maybe in desperation for power, he’s willing to play the anti-American card and position himself as the Gerhard Schröder of the UK.


  2. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: trust the Tories to be opportunistic AND inept.

    Howard would have been briefed as Leader of the Opposition and a Privy Councillor on all the issues (of which WMD was only one, despite the media obsession with it then and since).
    His recent attempts to damage Blair with this issue are transparently hypocritical (and unsuccessful; Blair ripped him apart in Parliament), and I suspect motivated by a perceived need to mollify elements in the Conservative Party who have been grumbling that over Iraq he has been missing an opportunity to bash Blair. Some are old fashioned Little Englander isolationists or High Tory arabists; a few “progressives” who like the chance to look “right-on” in elite circles; most just consumed with loathing for Blair and all his works.

    This is inept because, as I suspect Howard knows in his heart, this goes against the requirement for a responsible Leader of the Opposition (and a credible Conservative leadership) to place the security of the realm before petty political tactics.

    And not even good tactics; it is not as if Schroder is a credible role for a Tory.
    As the two by-elections in the Midlands this summer demonstrated, in seats the Tories won in the past (albeit one not since the 70’s) anti-war votes are going to go to the consistently anti-war Liberal Democrats.
    Labour won one, Lib-Dems the other. The Conservatives polled third, and below 20%, in both.
    Way to go, guys!

    The only way I can even begin to make sense of the tactic is if Conservative strategists figure that if they keep slinging mud at Blair on “trust/delivery” issues, they can claw back enough ground at the next election, if not to win (v. improbable), then be placed for a “final push” in five years time, and perhaps also set the stage for internal dissension in Labour when Blair leaves.
    And also added time to develop a Conservative platform that can both
    a) attract voters and
    b) avoid party infighting.

    If so, I believe they are making a serious mistake. A coherent, popular platform is the Conservatives first requirement. Now. And if they lose credibility on national security, at a time when the issue is jumping up the polls on voter concerns, they are sunk for the next two elections.
    Which means increased likelihood of fragmentation of the base with UKIP and/or BNP challenges on the right, and Lib-Dems targeting marginal seats from the left.

    To be fair to Howard, he does not seem to be pushing this daft impeachment nonsense. But if he has any sense, he will take any Conservatives so inclined aside and give them orders to stop being silly.
    Ditto for any “Conservative activists for Kerry”.

  3. The Tories really don’t get it. To Pres. Bush the most important thing is the war. Period. Mr. Blair supports Pres. Bush in the war. The Tories don’t support the war.

    Why then, did they expect that Pres. Bush was going to through away a loyal ally, even if he is a Labourite? Stupid, stupid, stupid Tories. They have become the Democrats; out of power so long they will do anything, no matter how stupid, to get back in. Well, almost anything; I mean they won’t actually come up with any ideas that the voters might want to hear.

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