BUSH AND BLAIR….FRIENDS FOREVER?….I was wondering the other day whether George Bush would demonstrate any real loyalty to Tony Blair for the yeoman work he’s done supporting the war. For example, will he be willing to show his gratitude by helping out if Blair asks for support on something he’s not too keen on?

Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard takes a crack at this today. His conclusion:

Bush feels beholden to Blair, but gratitude has its limits.

Indeed it does, and Barnes seems to feel those limits have already been reached. Bush, he says, has already made “quite a list of concessions,” so why should he make more?

There’s a lot to quibble with in Barnes’ article. His “list,” for example, seems to consist solely of variations on working with the UN, which he admits was favored by other administration players anyway. And his objection to Blair’s Mideast roadmap is that “evenhandedness” is intolerable, nothing more than “a code word for pressuring Israel.” We all know that pressuring Israel is ipso facto a bad thing, but you’d think even the Weekly Standard could muster up a better argument than that.

Quibbles or not, however, Barnes’ view is quite likely shared by many in the White House. If you want to know the likely outcome of the Bush-Blair alliance after the war is over, it’s probably a pretty reliable guide.

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