Blair, In London, Offers Optimism About UN Resolution. Bush, In Crawford, Provides Much Less
British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Friday that he would delay his summer vacation for a few days to help secure a United Nations resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah.
Why didn't President Bush think of that?
A draft of the UN resolution was agreed to by the U.S. last night.
The reaction from Washington, er Crawford, was far more negative than from London.
While Bush said he was "happy with the progress being made," White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, with the president at his private ranch in Texas, offered "I don't think (President Bush) has any delusions about what lies ahead."
Is that code for "The UN is useless, and this resolution won't change squat"?
Meanwhile, Blair praised the resolution as "an important first step in bringing this tragic crisis to an end."
"The priority now is to get the resolution adopted as soon as possible, and then to work for a permanent cease-fire and achieve the conditions in Lebanon and Israel which will prevent a recurrence," Blair said.
The combination of events suggest the image of a disengaged president, unwilling to offer Americans much leadership during the current crisis.
Bush was heavily criticized last year for a similar disengagement, when Bush took four days to arrive on the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina. That type of disengagement contrasted sharply with President Clinton, who canceled appearances to respond to a 1996 hurricane, and cut short his attendance at a new Zealand conference to respond to a 1999 hurricane.
Prime Minister Blair, meanwhile, presents an image of a leader willing to put aside his personal needs to address a crisis, and then respond to events with the optimistic, but realistic tone that no doubt will make the British feel that things will soon turn around for Israel and Lebanon.