May 6, 2005
I don't normally cheer for socialists, but us Yanks owe Tony Blair a lot of gratitude for his loyalty and stubborn determination to press on in the war against terrorism. Where would we be without our British allies? As things stand now, Mr. Blair's party has won a third consecutive election, matching the feat of Margaret Thatcher. Just like in the U.S. elections last fall, the early projections hinted at a possible upset win by the Conservatives, but Labour will retain a substantial edge. As of now, Labour has won 329 seats, a slim majority, while the Conservatives have won at least 159 seats and the Liberal Democrats 51. The popular vote margin is much closer, however: 37%, 32%, 24%, respectively. How undemocratic!? Actually, that's the way single-member district representation (which we also have) works. See the BBC Web site. It's ironic that popular antipathy toward the war was frustrated by the parliamentary system. People choose their local legislator on the basis of party and have little to say about how the parties choose their leaders. Voting for the opposition Tories (under Michael Howard) would probably have resulted in even closer alignment with U.S. foreign policy. Blair says he does not intend to run as the party's leader in the next parliamentary elections, and his chancellor of the exchequer [Gordon Brown] is expected to succeed him in the next three years or so.
Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA), who recently chaired the hearings on steroid use and has long been a strong backer of baseball in Washington, has introduced the "D.C. Fairness in Representation Act," which would give the District of Columbia a voting seat in the House of Representatives. Good move. Because some Republicans want something in exchange, the bill would temporarily add another seat from Utah, a GOP state with growing population. One of my favorite Republicans, Susan Molinari of New York, appeared at the announcement, along with Mayor Tony Williams, council Chairman Linda Cropp, and Jack Kemp. See Washington Post. Personally, I think it would be better to get this done on its own merits, not as part of a deal. I wish this would be enough to satisfy those folks in D.C. who demand full statehood rights, but I doubt it. Two senators for D.C.? A governor as well as a mayor? Forget it.
George Will, the voice of sobriety and caution on the right, wrote a piece in the Washington Post that warns the Republicans not to get any more closely tied to Christian activists than they already are. Will referred in particular to the "imprudent" legislation concerning Terri Schiavo, and reminded readers that the Constitution forbids making religious belief a qualification for holding public office. He's right. Will cooler heads prevail in the GOP leadership, so they can get back to their job of reducing the size of government? Or have they given up on that already? Interestingly, Will mentioned that Pat Robertson recently said he would accept the liberal-moderate Rudy Giuliani as the GOP nominee in 2006, suggesting that the Religious Right is itself worried about getting carried away with its own agenda, risking a loss in the next election.