Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Words I Hate VII


“Make No Mistake”

I hate this phrase for one simple reason: Every single presidential address or speech that calls for our POTUS to appear tough uses it. I think I first heard it back in 2001 right after 9/11 in one of Bush’s speeches. I distinctly recall thinking, “Wow. That sounds tough. Like he means it.” I thought it was a good turn of phrase. Back then. Now, I suffer from Make No Mistake fatigue.

So we had seven years of Bush tossing the phrase about every time he wanted to be strong or macho. He’d usually pause a split second, throw a Harry Callahan stare into the television camera, and utter it in his hyperventilated Texan drawl. Usually he hurled his “make no mistakes” at a foreign leader, country, or army.

The second time I heard it, most likely later that year, I gave him a pass. Then I heard it a third and a fourth time, and it started to lose its punch. But it was Bush sayin’ it, and, like him or not, he backed up his words with action. The military undoubtedly liked him, and the military basically became George Bush’s fist. And I say that without any intended disrespect. Though I have problems with GWB – mainly stemming from his Democrat-like spending and his popped-clutch speaking style – I have no problem with his strong foreign policy stance. Especially in light of the attack on our country on 9/11.

Then I started hearing Obama test-driving the phrase. Just a few days ago he tried it on while appearing on stage with dozens of military personal in the background. Hearing Obama talk tough in front of the military is like hearing Lawrence Welk shout, “Let’s rock” (to paraphrase Jonah Goldberg at National Review). Something just doesn’t sit right. But every time he gets in trouble in the polls, he does a primetime speech, and before you know it he’s make-no-mistake-ing over the place.

In his televised address last night, bingo, the phrase duly came in, a little bit earlier than I expected, at the 2 minute mark of his 15 minute speech.

Yeah, I watched it since he preempted one of my few guilty pleasures, Hell’s Kitchen, to assure us he is in charge and doing all the right things and kicking all the right behinds to heal the gulf oil spill. Eventually. At some point in the near future. Or the distant future.

Make no mistake about it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Obama's version: Make uh no uh mistake. Unless, of course, the teleprompter jams. Then it's Make uh make uh make uh make uh make uh...

Sorry, couldn't resist