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Home > World

Blair in 2004?

One man's quest for a president who can actually speak.

By Mike Wendling.

8 January 2004

The protracted U.S. political season is about to get going, and everyone on the left side of the Atlantic can bank on Baghdad and Basra finally being edged out of the news in favor of the electoral war.

Along with the two headline-hogging parties come the usual light relief of wackos, freaks and fringe candidates. There’s the question of Ralph Nader: will he or won’t he? There’s a guy from Minnesota running on a platform that includes a mandatory 32-hour work week. There are libertarians, communists and a minuscule movement leftover from Ross Perot’s 15 minutes of fame in the mid-90s.

And there’s Jim Bursch of Los Angeles, who has set up a campaign to back none other than Tony Blair.

Those born outside the U.S. can’t technically run for the presidency, and to be fair, Bursch admits his campaign is a joke, a tongue-in-cheek movement with a serious point. He wants someone who’s progressive at home but who talks tough abroad – a sort of boil-in-the-bag Clinton.

Most of all, though, Bursch says he wants a chief executive who can string a coherent sentence together. Like a lot of other Americans, he’s been hooked by Tony’s accent and speechwriters, which make the US leader sounds like something from a different species. As Bursch says:

“George W. Bush is a public speaking disaster and an embarrassment."

As you might expect, a lot of the visitors to the Blair2004.com website are Brits, leaving feedback along the lines of “you’re welcome to him.”

Bursch says he hasn’t yet picked which Democrat to back once Blair2004 comes to an end. But it’s not looking good. The cover stories of this week’s US newsmagazines establish two main points:

a) Howard Dean is the clear favourite for the Democratic nomination.
b) Howard Dean has trouble stringing a coherent message together.

Sounds like America may have to wait a bit longer for an erudite leader.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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