George W. Bush has a history of mangling the English language as much as he mangles the law of the land. Call it the wrong phrase at the wrong time but “Brownie, you’re
doing a heckuva job” was named on Thursday as U.S. President George W.
Bush’s most memorable phrase of 2005.
The ill-timed praise of a
now disgraced agency head became a national punch line for countless
jokes and pointed comments about the administration’s handling of the
Hurricane Katrina disaster and added to the president’s reputation for
verbal gaffes and clumsy turns of phrase.
Paul JJ Payack,
president of Global Language Monitor, a nonprofit group that monitors
language use, says Bush’s statement in support of the then-director of
the Federal Emergency Management Agency may be remembered for years to
“The ‘Brownie’ quote leads our 2005 list of Bushisms —
memorable phrases or new words coined by the president,” Payack said,
adding that Bush may be the foremost White House creator of new words,
citing such past efforts as “misunderestimate” (to seriously
underestimate) and “embetter” (to make emotionally better).
days after Bush verbally patted Michael Brown on the back before the TV
cameras, Brown resigned amid a public uproar over his qualifications
and the administration’s failure to get aid to New Orleans after the
devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
Although the president did not
originate any new words this year, he had several notable statements,
Payack said, citing the following:
— “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,” Bush said in
explaining his communications strategy last May.
— “I think I
may need a bathroom break. Is this possible?” Bush asked in a note to
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during a U.N. Security Council
meeting in September.
— “This notion that the United States is
getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous. And having said
that, all options are on the table,” Bush said in Brussels last
— “In terms of timetables, as quickly as possible –
whatever that means,” the president said of his timeframe for passing
Social Security legislation in March.
— “Those who enter the
country illegally violate the law,” Bush said in describing illegal
immigrants in Tucson, Arizona, last month.
Monitor uses an algorithm to track words and phrases in print,
electronic media and the Internet. The words and phrases are tracked in
relation to their frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global