THE BLOG
05/10/2007 12:28 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Times They Are A Changin': The Ending Of The Bush, Blair, Chirac Era

British Prime Minister Tony Blair has just announced his resignation after ten years in power ("I've been the Prime Minister of this country for just over ten years... I think that's long enough for me, but more especially, for the country.") and French President Jacques Chirac didn't run for re-election in France.

And in the U.S., the lamest of lame ducks, George W. Bush will step down as America's president at noon on January 20, 2009.

What is interesting about France and Great Britain that may have implications for our 2008 presidential election is the fact that the new President of France Nicolas Sarkozy, and the most likely new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, the current Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown, is that they are both of the same party as the person they are replacing.

Sarkozy and Chirac are members of the UMP, the Union for the Presidential Majority party. Chirac had lower approval ratings than President Bush yet a member of his party won the presidency of France last Sunday. True, Sarkozy said it was time for a change in France and did not align himself all that much with Chirac but he did beat the Socialist candidate
Segolene Royal with 53% of the vote with close to an 85% voter turnout.

In Great Britain, because of the Labor party's majority in the House of Commons a general election won't need to take place. Blair also resigned as head of the Labor Party when he announced his resignation as Prime Minister. The Labor Party will now have their own internal selection process to choose their new leader and the new Labor head, presumably Gordon Brown, will become the new Prime Minister of Great Britain.

Gordon Brown, born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1951, is and has been a close friend of Tony Blair as they helped build the new Labor Party together in the 1990s. Brown has patiently, and sometimes not so patiently, been waiting his turn as Prime Minister. And, now his time has arrived.

Brown will be replacing a leader who has fallen to very low approval ratings in the opinion polls mainly because of his support of the Iraq War. It is not certain what Gordon Brown will do about leaving British troops in Iraq after he assumes power.

The interesting point is that both of these men, Sarkozy and Brown, are following leaders who are quite unpopular in their respective nations yet they are of the same political party.

Does this have any implications for the U.S. presidential election in 2008? Can a Republican win the presidency if they come up with new ideas and move away from our current unpopular President not only on the Iraq War but on global warming, climate change and energy issues.

Obviously, the main issue they need to distance themselves from the President on is Iraq. The President's low approval rating of 28% is mainly due to the war in Iraq with no clear end in sight. According to the polls, more than two-thirds of the American public want us out of Iraq, the sooner the better, but the President continues staying the course whatever that means today.

A Republican could and might win the presidency in 2008. However, most of the candidates are supporting the President's views on Iraq which may not be a winning strategy for moving into the White House.

Senator Chuck Hagel has become an outspoken Republican critic of the Iraq War and could throw his hat into the ring in the near future. Following the examples of Great Britain and France he would be a member of the party in power who might win election by distancing himself from the current President especially on the overriding issue of the day--Iraq.

Or maybe we will see, possibly in September when the top commander in Iraq General Petraeus and the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker come to Washington to offer their assessment of how the war is going, some of the GOP presidential candidates changing their views and coming out against the President's policies in Iraq.

It is a very fluid situation with an unpopular war that none of the candidates wants to inherit when they enter 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

If one of the GOP presidential candidates follows what has happened in Great Britain and France they just might have a shot at the White House.

Do any of the Republican presidential candidates have the courage to change their views on the Iraq War and go against the President? If they do they just might have a chance to win in 2008.