Prime Ministers will be Prime Ministers. Of course, when any politician leaves office, political junkies, supporters, detractors, the news media, and others whose lives have been touched around the world by this politician’s actions all rush to find out what this politician really thinks.
So it’s no surprise that former British Prime Minister Tony Blair had a lot to say about his time in office, as well as a lot to say about successor Gordon Brown. According to BBC News, Blair’s book recounts Brown as a “strange guy” with “zero emotional intelligence.” Pretty strong words from one former leader on another. Still, the words ring true, and both sides are up in arms. Defenders of Blair acknowledge that he’s right, and that Blair and Brown did have some heated exchanges; defenders of Brown offer that Tony Blair is way off the mark, and that Gordon Brown only sought to continue the work that he and Blair did agree on.
Blair/Brown – Hillary/Obama:
In order to draw a domestic parallel between the Tony Blair and Gordon Brown situation, one need look no further than the current US presidential administration. It seemed at the time that Barack Obama was as cool as a cucumber and that his campaigning was really only about issues. Of course there was a lot of back-bending going on in the 2008 US presidential primaries, and many things were said.
Of particular interest was the overt hostility between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Clinton could feel her anointment slipping away from her, and she went on to assert herself in a way that really just turned off voters. Who can forget January 2008’s “debate in Myrtle Beach (where Clinton & Obama were) accusing each other of obscuring the truth and of lowering the level of campaign discourse,” as reported by The Boston Globe? Obama won, so, for his rhetoric, all was forgiven among the Democratic party; for Clinton, we saw the result: She didn’t get the vice presidential nomination.
Joe Biden was an unmemorable candidate in the 2008 presidential primaries; his rhetoric was just the least offensive of the bunch. When Obama didn’t nominate anyone right away, speculation was rampant that it would be an Obama/Clinton ticket which would run away with things. But David Axelrod likely quelled that notion really quickly; because Clinton had been so spiteful during the primaries, she didn’t get the vice presidential nod.
However there is speculation that Biden will not run for president at the end of the Obama term. It seems likely that, if Obama were able to carry his two terms, Clinton could be the likely successor as Secretary of State. Of course, six years is a long ways away, and Obama hasn’t even won a second term, so who’s to say?
As far as the Blair/Brown comparisons go, both these cats are out of office, likely never to return. While they may forge alliances one day in the future that could bring them out of hibernation (Al Gore, anyone?), it seems far more likely that both Blair and Brown will work behind the scenes in more advisory roles and leave the mudslinging to far younger gents who are able to do so without the name-calling which political autobiographies seem to allow.