Your favorite Bush-isms

Just for fun…

“Reading is the basics for all learning.” -1/00

“There ought to be limits to freedom.” - 5/99

“Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?” - 5/00

“A dictatorship would be a heck of a lot easier!” - 7/01

“It is clear our nation is reliant upon big foreign oil. More and more of our imports come from overseas.” - 9/00

“I think we agree, the past is over.” 5/00

C’mon guys, loosen up about the big guy!

The “there ought to be limits to freedom” quote has never been independently corroborated, as far as I know.

Also, you do realize that we have Canada to the north of us, and Mexico to the south, right? Because we could import from them without importing from overseas. Yeesh.

“I think we agree, the past is over.”
Dallas, TX 5/10/00

“For a century and a half now, America and Japan have formed one of the great and enduring alliances of modern times (Dude, it’s been like 60 years).”
Tokyo 2/18/02

“This is Preservation Month. I appreciate preservation…You gotta preserve.”
Nashua, NH 1/28/00

This foreign policy stuff is a little frustrating."
New York, NY 4/23/02

Bushism of the Day: Here’s today’s
“[T]hat’s just the nature of democracy. Sometimes pure politics enters into the rhetoric.” – Crawford, Texas, Aug. 8, 2003
I’m not sure I quite get it. I take it that Bush was using “rhetoric” in the sense of “Verbal communication; discourse,” though with the connotation of political debate. What exactly is so Bushistic about that? “Sometimes pure politics enters into the verbal communication.” Yup, sometimes it does.

Now it’s true that “rhetoric” has other definitions:
1a. The art or study of using language effectively and persuasively. b. A treatise or book discussing this art. 2. Skill in using language effectively and persuasively. 3a. A style of speaking or writing, especially the language of a particular subject: fiery political rhetoric. b. Language that is elaborate, pretentious, insincere, or intellectually vacuous: His offers of compromise were mere rhetoric.
Pretty clearly Bush couldn’t have been using 1a, 1b, 2, or probably 3a (except insofar as it lends the connotation of political debate to the “verbal communication” definition). Maybe if he had been using 3b, the line would be strange – “Sometimes pure politics enters into the insincere, vacuous language.” But the strangeness seems to me to be evidence that Bush wasn’t using the term “rhetoric” that way (again, perhaps except insofar as this definition lends a pejorative connotation to the definition which he was almost certainly using).

Nor do these multiple definitions create some sort of particularly funny double entendre. All we have here is something that’s very common in the English language: One word that has multiple definitions. English speakers are quite used to this, and are usually pretty good at figuring out the right definition. They don’t titter when they hear “the right to bear arms” – “ha ha ha, how clumsy, he said the right to have the forelimbs of large forest-dwelling mammals.” Likewise when someone talks about pure politics entering into the rhetoric. So I’m still puzzled: What exactly is so funny, telling, or wrong about Bush’s line?

[Eugene Volokh, 4:32 PM <2003_09_21_volokh_archive.html>]
Bushism of the Day: Reader Tom Johnson does my work for me:
Here is today’s putative “Bushism of the Day” from Slate
“I glance at the headlines just to kind of get a flavor for what’s moving. I rarely read the stories, and get briefed by people who are probably read the news themselves.”

-Washington, D.C., Sept. 21, 2003

  1. If the criticism is merely that there is a grammatical mistake in the sentence, the “Bushism” is no more than a verbal gaffe that any one of us might commit in ordinary speech. This quote is from a Fox News interview with Brit Hume:
    HUME: How do you get your news?

BUSH: I get briefed by Andy Card and Condi in the morning. They come in and tell me: “In all due respect, you’ve got a beautiful face and everything.” I glance at the headlines just to kind of [get a] flavor for what’s moving. I rarely read the stories, and get briefed by people who are … probably read the news themselves.
Note that the President’s pause, while recorded by the transcript, fails to appear in the Slate “Bushism.”

  1. Probably the criticism is more general – that the President of the United States does not bother to educate himself about what is going on in the world. However, the surrounding context clearly demonstrates that the President was making a different point:
    HUME: How do you get your news?

BUSH: I get briefed by Andy Card and Condi in the morning. They come in and tell me: “In all due respect, you’ve got a beautiful face and everything.” [UPDATE: Reader Dexter Angelike writes that he saw the program, and the “In all due respect” was actually Bush’s aside to Brit Hume – Bush wasn’t joking that his advisers start out by flattering him, but rather was joking that no matter how handsome Hume (the “you” was Hume) might be, Bush is not going to spend time watching the TV news.]

I glance at the headlines just to kind of [get a] flavor for what’s moving. I rarely read the stories, and get briefed by people who are … probably read the news themselves. But like Condoleezza, in her case, the national security adviser is getting her news directly from the participants on the world stage.

HUME: Has that been your practice since day one, or is that a practice you’ve - -

BUSH: Practice since day one.

HUME: Really?

BUSH: Yes. You know, look, I have great respect for the media. I mean our society is a good, solid democracy because of a good, solid media. But I also understand that a lot of times there’s opinions mixed in with the news. And I …

HUME: I won’t disagree with that, sir.

BUSH: I appreciate people’s opinions, but I’m more interested in news. And the best way to get the news is from objective sources. And the most objective sources I have are people on my staff who tell me what’s happening in the world.
. . . Clearly the President was criticizing the media for its often slanted take on world events, not revealing a lack of concern for current events despite being leader of the Free World. . . .

Source: White House Weekly September 23, 2003, Tuesday (accessed today on Lexis).

I’m sure most of the rest could be similarly explained – it’s not difficult to make someone sound ridiculous when taking things out of context.

If that’s all ya got on Bush then “we” have the election all wrapped up! This sort of ad nauseum attack continues to fall far short of it’s mark. It’s all too easy to look up his credentials on-line and see just how academically qualified our President really is. It’s much easier however to put most of his critics “in a box” and label them as one or more of the following:

9)Hillary Clinton

Very true BB, things taken out of context often seem worse than they actually were.

But, I’ve seen Bush say too many dumb things too many damn times to defend him…They had to customize press conferences so that he’d limit the amount of stupid shit that came out of his mouth.

How about this one…

“There’s an old saying in Tennesee - I know it’s in Texas, I’m sure it’s in Tennesee…Fool me once, shame on…shame…on…you (?)…you fool me-you can’t get fooled again.” (question mark inserted to convey tone).

He knows Texas - not sure what’s going on over there in Tenn., but he knows Texas, and this is a verifiable Texas sayin’! Now this is a simple expression, but he gets himself all mixed up, puts on the deer in headlights expression, seemingly TAKES A GUESS at the “you”, and then scraps the whole expression and tries to just explain what he’s going for - as if his audience needed the clarification. Funny, too funny. I felt bad for him on this one.

BB, tell me you can’t think of one time you cringed when Bush spoke? Have some fun with this thread!

Boston are you trying to say that bush isn’t a complete idiot?? If you are I am going to have to disagree with you.

Neo…do we get much oil from Canada and Mexico? (sincere question)

iraq 21,001 (barrels of crude x1000)

kuwait 6,545

saudi arabia 43,358

mexico 54,718

canada 51,554

yeah, we import a bunch of oil from our BORDERING neighbors mexico and canada… what’s the point? Oh, that Bushism was dispelled, that’s the point!

Derek, this isn’t a “Kerry Campaign” thread…I’m not aiming to “take down” Bush by throwing out a few of the stupid things he’s said…

I find it funny - the lengths his supporters will go to defend Bush, no matter what. Here’s something for all of you:

I was a Clinton supporter, and can easily say that he was lousy for screwing around…when someone’s wrong, they’re wrong…when they’re dumb, they’re dumb!

What ARE his academic qualifications, though?


I wasn’t aware I had mentioned Kerry or his campaign

GWB academic history/qualifications

Phillips Academy

Yale (BA)

Harvard Business School (MBA)
first president to receive a masters degree.

I’m not a bush supporter, and in fact disagree with some of his policies. I just don’t think the attacks are all valid.

Thanks for the figures, derek.

“Nucular weppins”

Right Side –

No, there are times he has said things off-the-cuff that have made me cringe. However, I think that would be true of anyone. If you had microphones in your face all day I’m sure they would record some stupid-sounding misstatements. I know they would if they were pointed at me. In general, I don’t find them very revealing.

Twisted –

I guess you’re in disagreement. Bush is actually a pretty intelligent guy. I won’t make the argument he’s a rocket scientist – I’d have no way of knowing. But he’s surely not below average, nor any dumber than many others who have been presidents or leaders. In U.S. history, I’d compare Bush favorably with JFK, Truman, Roosevelt and Johnson, just to name a few on the other side of the aisle from the last century.

Carter was probably smarter – but he was arguably one of the worst presidents of the last century. Ditto Nixon.

I’m not a Bush apologist, I don’t need to be, and I think his actions speak for themselves. If Bush speaks funny, he speaks funny…laugh at it if you want.

Unfortunately for Bush, he took office after Clinton. Clinton can speak like no one else. It was never more obvious than during the debates between Bob Dole and Bill Clinton in the 96 election. Poor Bob Dole was as stiff and dry as a board compared to the smooth talking (and granted, intelligent) Bill Clinton. The mere memory of Clinton speaking to a crowd is enough to make Bush sound boorish.

Although I can’t speak for how it is at the Harvard Business School, I’m currently an MBA student at a top 50 school and let me say, it can be some hard shit (yes that’s an official MBA term). Bush may talk funny, but if Harvard is as difficult as their reputation makes them out to be, I know first hand how demanding an MBA can be, and for that, I respect his education and intelligence.

If anybody is interested in Bush’s MBA experience:


I don’t know how the hell you can compare Bush to Jfk or Roosevelt. These are two presidents known specifically for their rhetoric.

Both these guys could talk to an audience an command their respect and approval…on more issues than just foreign policy. Bush has had some favorable speaking moments, notably 9/11 and terrorist related incidents, but he cannot be compared to the witty, intelligent and spoke-perfectly-when-off-the-cuff JFK.

JFK was sharp and he was quick with responses. Excellent at debate. Bush can only answer questions that he has already pondered the answers to.

I’m not trying to hate on Bush, but that comment caught my eye, when you mentioned some of the best speaking presidents to date (being that this is a thread for things Bush said) and compared them to one who is not a great nor near-great speaking president.

I am with BostonB on this one. Many of these actually make a lot of sense if you put them in context.

For example - “It is difficult trying to strike a balance between everyone’s desires. A dictatorship would be a heck of a lot easier. There, you would simply ban speech, but this is America and we stand for something greater.”

Or - “My critics like to keep bringing up past events but claiming that they we are going to focus on the current issues. I think we can agree, the past is over. So, why are we not focusing on issues?”

And his comments on freedom are right on the mark. We must have limits on fredom. If we had unlimited freedoms, there would be anarchy as there could be no rules or restrictions (as that would impinge on your freedoms to act as you choose). Isn’t a speed limit a limit on your freedom to drive fast? Are criminal laws limits on your freedom to hurt others or to engage in such things as prostitution? Aren’t pollution and conservation laws a limit on your freedom to do as you like to you land? A land of unlimited freedoms would be a scary place indeed.

Finally, before anyone starts hopping on the “Bush is an idiot” bandwagon, ask yourself this: Could I have gotten into Yale? If I did, could I have been chosen to a secret society (not an easy task at all)? Could I then have gotten into and passed the Harvard business school? - Granted, he had political connections, but from what my Yale alumnus friend told me, that isn’t all that uncommon for that school. I don’t think it guarantees you a cakewalk through the school, especially in the days before inflated grades and un-failable classes.

I am not american, so I won’t get into my likes or dislikes of your president, but I do have this bushism on my wall.
“First let me make it very clear, poor people aren’t necessarily killers. Just because you happen to be not rich doesn’t mean you’re willing to kill.”

I just find that hilarious, I am sure that in context it is less funny, but I don’t see how.