George W.'s heartfelt outburst yesterday at the G-8 summit, describing the Hezbollah attack on Israel (and by implication the terrorists themselves) as barnyard excrement, is stout-hearted and reassuring. This president gets it.
You might think the television networks, which more or less invented the vulgarity that has submerged the culture in slime, would know better than to be shocked (shocked!) by the president's word selection, which the TV correspondents invariably described as "cursing," which of course it was not. Vulgarity is not nice, even in what both parties thought was a private conversation between a president and a prime minister, but it gives us an unexpected insight into what George W. really thinks. He obviously regards the diplomatic niceties, taken with such seriousness by those with too much lace on their panties, with the disdain everyone else does.
The president's manly vocabulary recalls Bess Truman's wifely frustration with her husband's earthy way of telling it like it was. One of Mrs. Truman's friends suggested that she persuade the president to eliminate his habit of describing certain partisan parries as "horse manure."
"My dear," Mrs. Truman replied, "you have no idea how long it took me to get him to say 'manure.'?"
Bulls have long since replaced horses as the major purveyors of conversational manure, and the president's impatience with the terrorists -- and by implication his impatience with the patience shown by certain of his colleagues -- is a bracing tonic, much needed. He should send a few bottles of it to Foggy Bottom. Earlier, even as the president described Hezbollah as "a group of terrorists who want to stop the advance of peace," and defended, without asterisks or other qualifiers, Israel's right to defend itself, his secretary of state was making free with the usual State Department girlie platitudes, about how important it was that Israel show "restraint." Such talk subsided with the absence of any sign that the president was looking to his own feminine side (if any) to find moral equivalence in what is going on in Lebanon.
Even more reassuring were the president's remarks expressing frustration -- even disdain, perhaps -- for Kofi Annan's predictable proposal to send his crack United Nations peacekeepers to straighten out the Jews (and maybe Arabs) in Lebanon. The U.N. has a long record of incompetence and corruption in the administration of "peace," and its peacekeepers, sometimes better at rape than rehabilitation, have distinguished themselves by occasionally making things worse everywhere they go.
The beauty part of the president's unscripted and inadvertent (so we're told) commentary at the G-8 summit is that it demonstrates not only that the president gets it, but Tony Blair does, too. The contempt for Kofi Annan's game of both men was palpable. "What about Kofi Annan?" the president asked Mr. Blair. "I don't like the sequence of it. His attitude is basically 'cease fire and everything else happens.' "
The prime minister agreed: "What does he think? He thinks if Lebanon turns out fine, if he gets a solution in Israel and Palestine, Iraq goes in the right way, he's done it. That's what the whole thing is about. It's the same with Iran."
At that point, Mr. Blair reached across the president's buttered roll and, with no discernible look of shock or uneasiness on his face, turned off the microphone. Anyone looking for a precedent could recall Ronald Reagan's famous "open mike" in a warm-up to his Saturday-afternoon radio address. "The bombing [of the Soviet Union] starts in five minutes." Just a joke, of course, but the message was heard loud and clear in the Kremlin, and the rest is history.
Condoleezza Rice will soon be on her way to Syria, or Iran, or Beirut, or maybe all three, to make "peace," and maybe even peace. Tony Blair warned the president to make sure that "the ground is prepared" before she arrives to sup on sheep's eyes with her Arab counterparts. "If she goes out, she's got to succeed, as it were," he told the president. "I can go out and just talk."
But maybe she shouldn't make reservations right away. The Israelis, who have a script for their war against Hezbollah, probably need three or four more days to teach the terrorists the lesson they're begging for.