A largely academic
idea that gained popularity after a December 2002 column written for the New York Times
by Thomas Friedman
. In it, he lists a series of four rules that any Democrat
ic Presidential candidate in 2004 should follow. They include being able to identify with the people, never putting yourself “in a position where you succeed only if your country fails”, “likeability”, and good communication skills. He concludes that the only Democrat who can meet all of these qualifications is British Prime Minister Tony Blair
of the Labour Party
The response to this has been websites, bumper stickers, and a continued admiration of Blair by Americans who are increasingly dissatisfied with both the Bush administration and its Democratic opposition. They feel the only middle ground between the two is Tony Blair, a man who has shown force against terrorism, but has also shown great diplomacy and intelligence. In a poll taken by the BBC, it was revealed that a substantial percent of Americans trusted Tony Blair more than George Bush and that the Prime Minister gained a lot of support for military action in Iraq within the United States.
Article 2, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution says that any President must be a natural-born citizen of the United States. This prohibits Blair, who was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, from ever rising to the position. However, people who know this still shout the mantra “Tony Blair for President!” hoping for a leader with both heroism and insight.
For many, such as Friedman, the goal of the phrase is not to have Blair rise to the office, nor is it mean to be particularly complimentary of Blair himself (don't forget some liberals still view him as "the American foreign minister" for his stance on Iraq) but rather to find his American counterpart.