‘Misunderestimate’ Tops List of All-Time Bushisms

‘Misunderestimate’ Tops List of All-Time Bushisms

Compendium of Fifteen of the President’s ‘Greatest Hits’


Austin, TX January 7, 2009  – The Top All-Time Bushisms were released earlier today by the Global Language Monitor (www.LanguageMonitor.com). Topping the List were:

  • Misunderestimate,
  • Mission Accomplished,
  • Brownie, you’ve done a heck of a job!
  • I’m the decider, and
  • I use the Google.

“The era of Bushisms is now coming to an end, and word watchers worldwide will have a hard time substituting Barack Obama’s precise intonations and eloquence for W’s unique linguistic constructions,” said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of the Global Language Monitor.  “The biggest linguistic faux pas of the Obama era thus far involves the use of the reflexive pronoun myself.  This is a refreshing shift from the Bush years.”

The rankings were nominated by language observers the world over and then ranked with the help of the Global Language Monitor’s PQI (Predictive-quantities Indicator).  The PQI is a proprietary algorithm that tracks words and phrases in the print and electronic media, on the Internet and throughout the blogosphere.

The Top All-time Bushisms with commentary, follow.

1.     Misunderestimate. Stated in the immediate aftermath of the disputed 2000 election:  One of the first and perhaps most iconic Bushisms (Nov. 6, 2000).

2.     Mission Accomplished:  Never actually stated by the President but nevertheless the banner behind him was all that was needed to cement this phrase into the public imagination (May 1, 2003).

3.     “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.” said to soon-to-be-discharged FEMA director Michael Brown. Stated in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina; it came to symbolize the entire debacle (Sept. 2, 2005).

4.     “I’m the decider” came to symbolize the ‘imperial’ aspects of the Bush presidency.  Said in response to his decision to keep Don Rumsfeld on as the Secretary of Defense (April 18, 2006).

5.     “I use The Google” said in reference to the popular search engine (October 24, 2006).

6.     Iraq Shoe Throwing Incident.  In Iraq, throwing a shoe is a symbol of immense disrespect.  Some have suggested this to be the visual equivalent of a spoken Bushism — Inappropriate, surprising, embarrassing yet compelling to repeat (December 14, 2008).

7.     ”I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully” came to symbolize the President’s environmental policy (Sept. 29, 2000).

8.     ”You work three jobs? … Uniquely American, isn’t it? I mean, that is fantastic that you’re doing that.” Critics used this to symbolize Bush’s detachment to the plight of the working class, said to a divorced mother of three in Omaha, Nebraska (Feb. 4, 2005)

9.     ”Rarely is the questioned asked: Is our children learning?” was uttered before the first primaries back in 2000 (Jan. 11, 2000).

10.  ”Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we” was cited by his critics as revealing his true thoughts (Aug. 5, 2004)

11.   It was not always certain that the U.S. and America would have a close relationship.”  The President was speaking of the Anglo-American relationship (June 29, 2006).

12.  ”See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.” Explaining his Communications strategy (May 24, 2005).

13.  “I think I may need a bathroom break. Is this possible?” scribbled on a note to Secretary of State Condi Rice during a UN Security Council meeting in 2005.

14.  “When the final history is written on Iraq, it will look just like a comma” (September 24, 2006).

15.  “Stay the course” was stated on numerous occasions during the course of the Iraq War.  Bush’s change of course with the Surge, actually made a dramatic difference in the conflict..

Other Presidents of the United States created their own words, some of which have entered the standard English vocabulary.  These include:

  • ADMINISTRATION (George Washington)
  • BELITTLE (Thomas Jefferson)
  • BULLY PULPIT (Theodore Roosevelt)
  • CAUCUS (John Adams)
  • COUNTERVAILING (Thomas Jefferson)
  • HOSPITALIZATION (Warren G. Harding)
  • MUCKRAKER (Theodore Roosevelt)
  • NORMALCY (Woodrow Wilson)
  • O.K.(Martin Van Buren)
  • SANCTION (Thomas Jefferson)

About The Global Language Monitor

Austin-Texas-based Global Language Monitor analyzes and catalogues the latest trends in word usage and word choices, and their impact on the various aspects of culture, with a particular emphasis upon Global English.  For more information, call 1.512,801.6823 email info@GlobalLanguageMonitor.com, or visit www.LanguageMonitor.com.

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