The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

Potty-Mouth vs. Policy

I haven’t blogged much about recent events in the Middle East, mainly because I’d probably find myself out of my depth pretty quickly, but this little tidbit about Bush’s reaction to recent news from that region jogged my memory a little.

U.S. President George W. Bush cursed Hezbollah’s attacks against Israel in private conversations with foreign leaders Monday that were picked up by a microphone.

Mr. Bush expressed his frustration with the United Nations and his disgust with the militant Islamic group and its backers in Syria as he talked to British Prime Minister Tony Blair during the closing lunch at the Group of Eight summit.

"See the irony is that what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this [expletive] and it’s over," Mr. Bush told Mr. Blair as he chewed on a buttered roll.

I guess I was amused because (a) Bush’s blue mouth is hardly news and (b) as Bush’s expletive-laden outbursts go, this one was actually quite mild. Maybe there’s a reason it’s news, but it’s no surprise. The real news is that his apparent desire for things in the Middle East to cool down a bit would seem to put him at odds with other conservatives.

Maybe it’s just the first time Bush was caught on mike showing off his vocabulary. A little over a year ago, I posted about reports of some more emphatic blue outbursts from Bush.

“I’m not meeting again with that goddamned bitch,” Bush screamed at aides who suggested he meet again with Cindy Sheehan, the war-protesting mother whose son died in Iraq. “She can go to hell as far as I’m concerned!”

Bush, administration aides confide, frequently explodes into tirades over those who protest the war, calling them “motherfucking traitors.” He reportedly was so upset over Veterans of Foreign Wars members who wore “bullshit protectors” over their ears during his speech to their annual convention that he told aides to “tell those VFW assholes that I’ll never speak to them again if they can’t keep their members under control.”

… “Who gives a flying fuck what the polls say,” he screamed at a recent strategy meeting. “I’m the President and I’ll do whatever I goddamned please. They don’t know shit.”

Now I know that Capitol HIll Blue is a questionable source as far as some people are concerned, so I won’t go so far as to suggest that they’re "angry Bush" stories are the gospel truth by any stretch of the imagination. But, as I posted before, even the Washington Post has picked up the meme, or at least picked up reports from others hinting at outbursts like this.

White House staff members say the White House is “like a wartime bunker” where shell-shocked aides hide from those who disagree with their actions and office pools speculate on how long certain senior aides will last.

Bush, whose obscenity-laced temper tantrums increase with each new setback and scandal, abruptly ended one Camp David meeting by telling everyone in the room to “go fuck yourselves” before he stalked out of the room.

OK. So we know he can cuss. Big deal. What’s more interesting is that the president’s little aside to Blair would seem to put him at odds with other voices on the right, who see the recent events in the Middle East as an opportunity, and suggest more of the same might be even better.

And, no, I’m even not talking about the usual "pie in the sky" crowd who seek to speed up armageddon one way or another, who actually refer to Iraq as New Babylon and and to whom an all out war in the Middle East would be just ducky. (See Taylor’s post for more on what it means for U.S. foreign policy.) I’m talking about people like Newt Gingrich and Bill Kristol cheering on the apparent beginning of World War III, both calling for more and urging Bush to step things up a bit to rally Americans behind it.

With some of his fellow conservatives seeing the recent outbreak of violence in the Middle East as a potentially good thing for the president and his party — and perhaps a number of his constituents eagerly anticipating more (since they’ll be able to safely watch from balcony seats "in the middle of the air" or something) — the news isn’t that Bush actually used an expletive, but that he’d even privately express a desire for Hezbollah to "stop doing this shit."

With so many on his side waiting for this shit to start, and hoping for more of it to start, shouldn’t Bush watch his mouth if he wants to keep their support?

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