What's a shy librarian doing on Temple Mount?
She cuts a sweet and unassuming figure, this smiling other half of the Bush couple, as unobtrusive as her husband's present is abrasive, intrusive and unwelcome. The rise of Laura Bush is a clear symptom of the fall of George W. The pertinent question is, who is Laura Bush and what place does she have to wade into the most sensitive areas of the globe talking about US policies?
Could it be that Condoleezza Rice, Dick Cheney, George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld are so hated that they dare not step off an aircraft in most countries, or that they feel so unwelcome outside Washington that they prefer the safe, comfy confines of their offices, with the safe, comfy knowledge that their staff will be polite to them, rather than venturing forth in the big wide world where they will be heckled, get an egg thrown at them and be sneered at?
Therefore, the rise of Laura Bush is the fall of her husband. The face of the Bush regime is now Laura and not George, nor Condy, Dick or Donald and this is a clear sign that Washington has got the message: people do not like regimes which commit acts of slaughter, whether they be in Baghdad or in Washington.
The visit this weekend to Temple Mount was perhaps the most blatant sign that Washington has run clean out of ideas, has reached the end of the cul-de-sac and does not have the ability to turn round and try another tack. Basically, Washington has used all its shots in Iraq, where there are reports, more than rumours, of casualties at a far higher level than are being admitted on an almost daily basis.
Yet Laura Bush, the shy and retiring, sweet-faced ex-librarian was also heckled, not because she is an ex-librarian but because her surname is Bush and because she spoke in the name of her husband on US policy. This was no private visit.
Was Laura Bush elected by the people of the United States of America to speak on their behalf, telling the world that "The United States will do what they can in this process?"
She was not. The fiasco called the Bush regime in Washington has reached the bottom of the barrel. The people who were elected by the citizens of the United States of America sit tight in their offices, out of sight and, they hope, out of mind while Laura Bush goes gallivanting around the Middle East, being insulted by both Israelis and Palestinians, after, that is, she has told us that George is asleep by nine thirty and that she goes to watch male strip shows with Cheney's wife.
However pathetic it is to see Laura Bush being used by the regime because she is the only human face left in Washington, it is also true that she is a far better ambassador for her country than her husband, the President or his friend Condoleezza Rice.