Bushisms are the one thing I will probably missed when George W. leaves on Tuesday. Yes, it was embarassing to have a President who couldn’t really speak English, but they were also funny. Maybe funny sad sometimes, but always worth a chuckle. Doonesbury created whole Sunday comics of them framed and displayed as in a museum. Calendars quoted them. Bushisms became a cottage industry. It was a way those of us on the left could use his own words to mock him when we seems powerless to change his policies.
Jacob Weisberg has now collected W’s Greatest Hits for Slate. Weisburg writes
People often assume that because I’ve spent the past nine years collecting Bushisms, I must despise George W. Bush. To the contrary, Bushisms fill me with affection for the man—and not just because of the income stream they’ve generated. I find the Bush who flails with words, unlike the Bush who flails with policy, to be an endearing character. Instead of a villain, he makes himself into an irresistible buffoon, like Mrs. Malaprop, Archie Bunker, or Homer Simpson. Bush treats words the way he treated recalcitrant European leaders: When they won’t do what he wants them to, he tries to bully them into submission. Through his willful, improvisational, and incompetent use of language, he tempers (very slightly) his willful, improvisational, and incompetent use of government. You can’t, in the end, despise someone who regrets that, because of the rising cost of malpractice insurance, “[t]oo many OB/GYNs aren’t able to practice their love with women all across the country.”
Weisberg’s favorite is “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.” from August 5, 2004. Mine is “And so, General, I want to thank you for your service. And I appreciate the fact that you really snatched defeat out of the jaws of those who are trying to defeat us in Iraq.”—meeting with Army Gen. Ray Odierno, Washington, D.C., March 3, 2008.
What ever your favorite Bushism is as Weisberg says, “Unfortunately, as we bid farewell to Bushisms, we must conclude that the joke was mainly on us.”