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Top Ten All-Time Bushisms: ‘Misunderestimate,’ ‘Mission Accomplished’ top list

Similar to US Presidential Historians, Re-evaluating the Bush Legacy 

Austin, TX.  April 25, 2013  –  The official opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Library at Southern Methodist University, has prompted US presidential historians to re-evaluate the Bush 43 term in office.  The Gallop organization has noted his highest approval ratings since Katrina.  

Some historians are noting improvement in their appraisals of the Bush Presidency, especially since the Obama Administration has chosen to follow a number of  Bush precedents including the use of drones, keeping Gitmo open, prosecuting the war in Afghanistan, and the like,”  said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of GLM.  “In the same manner, we have re-evaluated President Bush’s most (jn)famous sayings, misstatements and malapropisms to see which have best withstood the test of time.”

President Obama has had his share of linguistic miscue and foibles, but new word creation has centered on his surname:  Obamamania, Obamacare, etc.

The rankings were nominated by language observers the world over and then ranked with the help of the Global Language Monitor’s algorithmic methodologies that tracks words and phrases in the print and electronic media, on the Internet, throughout the blogosphere, as well as new social media as they emerge.

The Top All-time Bushisms with commentary, follow.


1.    (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.     (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.    (9) (+6) —  “Rarely is the questioned asked: Is our children learning?” was uttered before the first primaries back in 2000 (Jan. 11, 2000).

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

6.   (14) (+8) — “When the final history is written on Iraq, it will look just like a comma” (September 24, 2006).

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

8.    ( 3) (-5) —  “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).

9.    (12) (+3) —  “See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things … for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.” Explaining his Communications strategy (May 24, 2005).

10.  (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)

Other US Presidents Bushisms

Other Presidents of the United States created their own words, some of which caused confusion among the literati and schoolarms of the time.  Some of the better known of 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)                 

Thiomas Jefferson prided himself on his his ability to create neologisms.


About The Global Language Monitor

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