By now you will have seen video from the camera and heard sound from the microphone that inadvertently eavesdropped on the US President and UK Prime Minister at the G8 summit this week. I have a few observations, such as that we’ve learned a few interesting things about the President of the United States.

First, it was apparent within a few seconds of listening to the exchange that Bush has no trouble stringing a sentence together when he’s talking one-to-one. This would appear to be consistent with what those close to him have said on occasion, and yet inconsistent with the way in which he has been portrayed by the media. (He is, to be fair, a horrendous public speaker.) Secondly, his private discussion is absolutely and utterly consistent with his public policy. A straight-up guy. Third, he’s also a down-to-earth kind of a fellow! His speech is unostentatious, natural low-key American English. His use of “Yo Blair” caused British tabloid The Sun to remark that he sounded “…more like a rapper than a statesman.” But America’s wealthy tend not to have the upper-class pretentiousness of Britain’s, and moreover I would argue that his colloquial style of speaking lends Bush a credibility with ordinary, everyday people that few world leaders possess. Have people not always complained that their leaders are not their peers? Fourth, Bush drinks Diet Coke like anyone else; my guess is that he was the only world leader at the G8 drinking soda of any kind. Fifth, he swears. Sixth, he hates long speeches and gets irritated with the formalities of summitry. Can you see the pattern? George W Bush is a folksy, unaffected, informal, Coke-drinkin’, laid-back American.

Now you’d think the Left would love that complete lack of pomposity in the most powerful man on the planet. Even Labour politician Roy Hattersley, writing in The Guardian, came to the defence of UK Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott last month for exactly the same reason. Do you think Bush would get the same treatment? Of course not. But Bush, you see, is evil. The Left’s prejudicial elucidation of the US President has been so far removed from any real assessment of the man that now the Bush they know is a mere figment of their collective imagination. In actual fact, he seems like quite an amiable man. Chances are the general public would get along rather well with him.

That said, I wonder how American evangelicals are reacting to his use of the word “shit” during this exchange. To understand America, you must understand that evangelical Christians have a strong need to feel that Bush is one of them. They are some of his biggest supporters. It is important to them to know that they have a ‘man of God’ in the White House. Evangelical conservatives are the same people responsible for the huge advances of the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) into the lives of American broadcasters on decency standards, the same people so offended by the Janet Jackson boob at the Superbowl. As I see it, there are a couple of ways they could react. ‘Bush is no longer a good guy, we’re very disappointed in him.’ Alternatively, it could be liberating for the poor buggers: ‘Hey, the President said shit – it’s okay now.’

Other observations: the ‘special relationship’ so hated by other European nations and so necessary to keeping Britain somewhat comparatively sensible would appear to be not just intact, but flourishing. THANK. GOD.

The media coverage was also interesting in and of itself. US broadcasters are treated like little children by the FCC, who impose a fine of over $300,000 per breech of FCC decency rules (such as use of the word ‘shit’), while BBC newscasters are not only able to replay the video uncensored but also to quote Bush in full before doing so. Surely this incident should provoke some kind of questioning from American conservatives on decency regulation, and how sensible such rules actually are? Essentially, Bush supporters pressed for rules that have now been used to censor their own President. The ridiculousness of that, I would hope, should help them see the way forward for the FCC.

It was also interesting to note, as each media organisation attempted to create transcripts of the dialogue, that various different versions of the transcript emerged. While some merely left parts as ‘Inaudible’, others guessed at what was said, for example when Bush thanked Blair for the sweater, Blair is said by some to have replied: “Absolutely. In fact, I knitted it myself!” Others had Bush calling Syrian President Bashir Assad “Bashad”.

And finally, despite the large amount of attention that the Bush-Blair Open Mic incident has received there really was nothing scandalous in the conversation. This must be a severe disappointment for our friends on the Left, who are always looking for a chance to validate their impression of Bush. So, to close:

My Top Ten Things The Left WISH Bush had said

10) ‘Blair, I feel we need to pray about this together.’
9) ‘Does anyone know where I can get a joint?’
8) ‘We’ll just fire a rocket up their ass and then we’ll see who’s boss.’
7) ‘Is this chicken, what I have, or is this fish? I know it’s tuna, but it says Chicken Of The Sea.’
6) ‘I think we should let Dick loose on Hezbollah, he’s a hell of a shot.’
5) ‘Yo Blair. Whatup, dawg? Kickin’ it? I bin’ talkin’ to old Putin an’ all, and he say it take him 8 hours to get back to the pound. I was all, “Yeah, me too, dude” – he’s like, “You ain’t be pullin’ mah leg, now!” – I’m like “Naw man!”‘
4) ‘Go ahead, Annan, make my day.’
3) ‘A buddy of mine found some oil in North Korea.’
2) ‘Clinton was a great man. He started a White House tradition that I’m personally very grateful for when I’m in the Oval Office.’

And the number one thing the Left WISH Bush had said:

1) ‘Fuck.’

John Wright