. . . Wednesday August 18, 2004

The Real Bushisms

Slate, one of my favorite online sites (hint: hire me, you bastards), has kept a running list of Bushisms where they quote the President’s mangled sentences and weird wording. It’s an often funny section. And there is no doubt that the President says something that needs fixing at almost every tour stop.

But let’s not, as the President himself might suggest, be fooled twice, won’t be fooled again, not see the forest through the weeds, nucular, etc.

In other words: Let’s not for a second forget that this administration (and the rest of their Party for that matter) is incredibly creative, disciplined and effective when it comes to the use of language.

From the naming of acts (Want to cut down trees? Just call it the Save the Trees Act.), to the coopting of sections of the political dictionary (patriotism, flag, military strength), to the soiling of words used to describe the opponent (example: Liberal), to the downhome speak to the media manipulation, it never, ever stops. The language tactics are consistent and the hits just keep on coming.

Yesterday, when a report criticized the administration for rewriting this country’s separation of Church and State regulations without getting the greenlight from anyone, their man in charge explained that the President was making good on his promise to “end discrimination against faith-based groups.”

This is a classic Republican tool. And you need to pay close attention when it’s being employed.

Need a more obvious (if that’s possible) example from the past week? Well how about the administration’s response to the increasing criticism about the limits they placed on stem-cell research.

The First Lady gave us the best zinger to answer that issue. She described her husband as “the only president to ever authorize federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research. Few people know this.”

Is that great or what?

As Michael Kinsley points out: “Few may have known it, but many might have guessed. It is true indeed that Bush’s predecessors, from George Washington to Bill Clinton, failed to fund embryonic stem-cell research. Even Abraham Lincoln. Not a penny for stem-cell research from any of them. Historians believe this might have been because it didn’t exist yet. But that’s just a guess.”

And don’t be fooled into thinking this is just another dumb mistake by a member of this administration. It’s not. They rarely if ever are. They want you to think that and when you rip them, they’ll write you off as an out of touch intellectual elite.

And guess who created the idea that being intellectual is bad?.

Concentration is important!