Tony Blair's memoir, A Journey, came out in the U.K. last Wednesday, and judging from early reports, Blair's managed to solidify his reputation as the nicest politician in world history by praising just about everyone around him. According to CNN, Blair praises George W. Bush as "very smart" (dubious) and "a true idealist" (probably true, and nothing in the world is more dangerous). He does concede that Bush had "immense simplicity in how he viewed the world," but seems to think that might be a good thing: "Right or wrong, it led to decisive leadership." (Decisive is definitely one word for it.)
The book probably won't do much to shake the common English contempt for Blair's obsequiousness (from a 2002 Channel 4 poll: "Almost half of the British public see Tony Blair as George Bush's 'lapdog'"). But Blair apparently reserves his greatest praise for Bill Clinton, "a great guy, a good president, and above all a friend." This friendship, combined with Blair's base level of hysterical niceness, leads to a hilarious defense of Clinton over his affair with Monica Lewinsky:
But Clinton's greatest political strength was an "endless ability for rapport with ordinary people… and to be fascinated even by the most unfascinating people because he was always willing to learn from them."
Blair also suggests Clinton's affair with Lewinsky may have arisen in part from his "inordinate interest in and curiosity about people."
How did the silver-tongued Clinton not pursue that defense himself back in '98? "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. I am just inordinately interested in and curious about people. In general. Even bosomy, yet unfascinating ones."
Blair's memoir comes out here tomorrow; be sure to check it out for Blair's thoughts on Vladimir Putin's "strong hands." (Just a guess.)