Decoding Bushspeak: A Republican-to-English Dictionary
Last updated: 2 August 2001
While Bush mangles the language he is also adept at giving new meaning to words we thought everyone understood. The far right has done a masterful job in the last two decades of redefining some of the key terms in political conversation, a tradition that Bush apparently intends to extend and build upon.
We invite your contributions to firstname.lastname@example.org, and in the meantime here are our favorites:
accountability: Rationale for punishment against those who fail to overcome circumstances beyond their control, such as the ability of poor children and their parents to secure a public education in chronically underfunded public schools. Note that this term does not apply when assessing the validity of a national missle defense system, for which only a good faith effort to spend hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars is required rather than actual empirically measurable successful results.
bipartisanship: Sometimes also seen as "spirit of compromise." Willingness by Congressional Democratic leaders to support, accept or fail to oppose public policy proposals from President Bush and the Republican Congressional leaders despite the mutual understanding that the proposals are not supported by a clear majority of the American people. When used by Republican leaders this term is synonymous with capitulation.
big government: Any attempt by a duly constituted public authority to regulate or put limits on the power of private corporations or make them responsible for the consequences of their actions, with the exception of the gaming or entertainment industries.
compassionate conservativism: Consists of smiling while cheating women, minorities and the working class out of their share of the nation's productive output. Replaces the term friendly fascism.
class warfare: Epithet used by Republicans to insult and delegitimize observations by Democrats and others of the horrendous and worsening problem of social stratification in the U.S.
conservative: Once widely understood as one who adheres to traditional methods or views, Republicans now use this word to cover a broad range of social agendas, including; consolidation of wealth in the hands of a few; intolerance of all religious traditions except certain sects of Christianity; military budgets that are inappropriately large for peacetime.
death tax: New Republican term used to replace the traditional term "estate tax," one of the traditional mechanisms in a democracy to ensure that a self-perpetuating aristocracy is unable to establish itself then capture and subvert democratic institutions. Fully 98% of the U.S. population is unaffected by the estate tax, which primarily burdens the 200 families in the U.S. with a net worth greater than $1 billion.
deregulation: Formerly meant clearing away legal and other obstacles for the purpose of establishing a competitive marketplace, now used to mean the the transition from de jure legal impediments to competition to de facto impediments such as unregulated and uncontrolled monopolies.
discrimination: Classic whine by white males when they have been told they have to share their money and power with women, minorities, and the poor.
disorderly conduct: Formerly the crime of behaving in such a manner as to endanger the physical well-being of others. Now used by radical right wing proto-fascists to refer to any exercise of freedom of speech that challenges the legitimacy of George W. Bush's ascension to the presidency.
election: When used by Democrats it means a consultation with the citizens of a democracy to determine the people they wish to represent them in public office for a fixed period of time. When used by Republicans it means the opportunity to acquire power by any means whatsoever, including but not limited to mimicking the language democracy as cover for violating its essential underlying principles of one person, one vote.
energy crisis: Any situation in which collaboration between a court appointed president and big oil businessmen results in price fixing, intentionally limited production, and coordinated gouging of the average American citizen.
fair and balanced: Republican term meaning archconservative news source serving as a tool of corporate interests while masquerading as impartial. Examples include Fox News, the Washington Times, the Wall Street Journal, etc.
fairness: The goal of any form of justice, but especially in the area of taxation, that provides overwhelming benefit to Republican constituencies.
faith-based: Euphemism for "religious," used as part of an attempt to circumvent the Constitution's Bill of Rights whose first ten words are "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..."
family values: Republican code phrase that attempts to justify homophobia, bigotry, and various other forms of intolerance and fear. Also used to justify tax policies that favor the one-third of U.S. households comprised of families with children over the two-thirds of U.S. households that are either not traditional families or contain no children.
free enterprise: Formerly meant marketplace competition. Now used to mean absolute license for big businesses and multinational conglomerates to dump toxins in our air and water, and deadly bacteria in our food; to steal from the most helpless by forcing excessive overtime while fraudulently cutting salaries so that profits are protected but paychecks diminish. Notice that the profits gained on the backs of the poor go to launch a propaganda campaign that extol the magnamity of these oligolopists by presenting a false picture of their alleged involvement in alleviating poverty, crime, and human exploitation.
free speech: Originally meant the right of the people in a democracy to express and to listen to the widest possible range of opinions, increasingly used to mean the right of the well-off, the working wealthy and the leisure class to use financial power to amplify their voices in order to effectively make conservative, status quo positions appear to be expressions of mainstream political thought.
full disclosure: Once widely understood as telling the unvarnished truth, then modified by Nixon's secret team of "plumbers" to mean 'elements selected from the truth to suit our purposes' and now further defined by the Republicans to mean only the residual traces of truth that the "scrubbers" cannot make disappear from government offices, Web sites, and other archives. Under the new disclosure rules making it impossible to be caught telling a lie is the same as telling the truth. Note: These rules do not apply to Democrats and other non-Republicans, who are still expected to reveal intimate details of their lives or face prosecution, even if the purpose of the disclosure is to embarrass people who have commited no crime.
get over it: Warning to the listener that questioning the legitmacy of George W. Bush's claim to the presidency will not be tolerated as topic for American citizens to discuss. As a threat it recognizes the vulnerability of the Bush regime to the growing popularity of the observation that Bush won fewer votes than his opponent in Florida as well as nationwide. Please note, you may also hear this idea expressed as "Stop your whining" and/or "Deal with it."
good science: When used by a Republican, means any exercise of scientific method and analytic reason that can be interpreted in such a way as to reinforce the policy objectives of business interests and their allies/apologists in government. This replaces the former use of the term which meant rigorous, methodical, verifiable and repeatable methods for determining objective empirical truth without regard for its political consequences.
honor and dignity: Generally used in the phrase "restoring honor and dignity to the White House," which requires a Republican to support the invention and then abandonment of Democratic "scandals" of little or no substance (Whitewater, Travelgate, Zippergate) while simultaneously dismissing the misdeeds of Republican presidents such as drug use, arrest records, shady financial dealings, incomplete military service, and influence selling by top aides. If, despite suppression efforts, these issues are reported then the maintenance of "honor and dignity" requires that reporters be attacked for being liberals, partisans, liars or hacks engaged in the "politics of personal destruction," previously perfected by Republican campaign operatives.
illegal vote: Any ballot in which the voter did not precisely follow the exact requirements as set forth in the voting instructions, and in the case where the voting instructions were erroneous or unclear any vote for a non-Republican. Note: this rule does not apply to military ballots. (See related term, legal vote.)
legal vote: Any ballot in which a Republican's name can be interpreted as having been indicated by the voter. (See related term, illegal vote.)
less government: Code phrase for policies that give big corporations and wealthy individuals license to employ unscrupulous business practices, produce dangerous products, pollute the air and water, and monopolize the market,
all with total impunity by allowing the business to write the laws.
liberal: Once commonly used to mean"one who is open minded," Republicans have successfully redefined this word to mean dangerous, irresponsible and unpatriotic fanatic.
liberal media: Epithet used to attempt to further discredit professional journalists who, as a result of their educational background and the broadening effects of travel, tend to be less narrowminded than the average parochial politician. Only invoked on the rare occasion that a non-conservative political perspective expressed by a journalist manages to slip past the self-censorship of the news media's corporate owners.
mainstream: A term that formerly described those who hold far-right viewpoints. While once used to describe a majority of Americans, this new "mainstream" now typically consists of less than 10% of Americans.
middle class: When used by a Republican this term refers to the 7% of the U.S. population that earns more than $125,000/year.
national defense: Formerly referred to the policies, programs and funding necessary to secure our borders and defend the nation from attack. Now commonly used as a rationale for continuing to fund missle defense and other military programs of proven inability to function except as means to subsidize Republican campaign contributors using government funds.
non-partisan: A term frequently invoked by President Bush to instruct his political opponents to roll over and play dead so that the Republican or "nonpartisan" approach to public policy can prevail. See also: Partisan.
partisan: In common Republican usage is now defined as any mean-spirited, illegitmate and unpatriotic attempt by non-Republicans to question the current administration's goals or methods, or to call for debate, or to ask for consideration of alternatives.
patriot: Anyone proud to be a Christian, god-fearing Republican, who believes strongly in the immutability of the status quo. See traitor.
perjury: The crime of lying while under oath. Formerly applied uniformly to all citizens, now only applies to Democrats and other non-Republicans.
pro-family: Policies designed to keep women -- other than the daughters resulting from the marriage of two Republicans -- in a state of economic dependency upon men and under the control of abusive husbands.
propaganda: Credible, honest news reporting that exposes unpleasant truths about right-wing political operatives, also sometimes referred to as a baseless charge.
property rights: Laws designed to protect the interests of the oil, timber, mining and livestock industries and enable them to exploit public lands to secure private profits.
pushers: Dealers of physiologically addictive and mind-altering drugs known to cause disease and death, subject to criminal prosecution unless the substance in question is tobacco or alcohol, in which case the perpetrator should be given influence and authority within the highest echalons of the Republican Party.
routine military operation: A sneak attack by an overwhelmingly superior force.
rule of law: Subversion of the Constitution, laws and institutions of the United States in order to achieve, justify and maintain unified control of the U.S. government by a single political party.
security risk: Any action by political opponents that would expose the truth that Bush stole the election and is occupying the White House by sheer judicial fiat, such as displaying signs hostile to the regime in the face of the pResident or reporting crimes committed by right-wing political operatives (see propaganda). These actions call for drastic measures to curb them, such as arresting citizens for carrying signs bearing slogans critical of the regime, and herding protesters into makeshift concentration camps they call "First Amendment zones", far out of view of the tinhorn dictator and the news media.
special interest: Formerly this phrase was reserved for economic interests who sought special privilege. In common Republican usage however it has come to mean any citizen or group of citizens who petition their government to respond to their concerns.
states rights: Doctrine for legitimizing racist, sexist and homophobic reactionary forces fighting a rearguard action against the ineluctible forces of democracy that over time make the U.S. increasingly accepting of full citizenship for racial and ethnic minorities, women and homosexuals.
strict constructionist: Doctrine adopted by conservative judicial activists to justify reactionary attempts to roll back progress on civil rights, women's rights, protection of the environment, and the defense of citizens from arbitrary government actions, while simultaneously claiming to be "above politics."
support: Republican euphemism for "is opposed to but unable to publicly say so due to the overwhelming popular support," as in "George W. Bush supports campaign finance reform." Usually appears in a phrase containing the word but, as in "Bush supports environmental protection but not effective measures to limit industrial emissions."
traitor: Godless humanists who may either be domestic enemies of the state (Democrats) or foreign enemies (Communists), and who continuously question the legitimacy of the Bush presidency even after patriots have clearly instructed them to "Get Over It." (Please see Get Over It.)
unconstitutional: Any action that is not favorable to the Republican agenda.
unifier: A person who, after seeing the results of a divided election, vows to bring the people together in a common political agenda, then appoints the most extremist cabinet members and sets out an extremely conservative agenda, forgetting his earlier vows. See also: hypocrite.
welfare reform: Forced reintroduction of uneducated and unskilled workers into the job force to exert downward pressure on wage demands, undercut job training programs and ensure that corporate lobbyists continue to call for an easing of immigration restrictions rather than for improved education and training for American citizens.
youthful indiscretion: Felonies that would be punishable by long prison sentences, or calls for resignation or removal from office, if committed by a poor person, feminist, black, Hispanic or a Democratic politician, such as possession of cocaine, multiple offenses of driving while under the influence of alcohol, or perjury and obstruction of justice stemming from an adulterous affair. However, this may be used as an absolute defense against all criminal charges when committed by conservative Republican politicians.