"bully pulpit"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Mon Oct 4 12:54:08 UTC 2010

CNN has begun a series on schoolyard and cyber-bullying.

In the first installment, three well-paid, experienced journalists agreed
that society frequently encourages bullying, which is "often
effective." Current politics, they observed, is characterized by
bullying. They also agreed that the phrase "the bully pulpit" glorified the
President's power to bully his opponents into submission.


On Sun, Aug 16, 2009 at 4:34 PM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>wrote:

> Maybe too obvious to mention.
> TV news uses this phrase all the time.  Having been educated just before
> the Collapse of Allusion, I've pretty much always understood it to mean what
> Theodore Roosevelt intended it to mean:  the ability of the President, as a
> promonent influential figure, to get his ideas across.
> Then a cynical thought hit me.  What if....?  Do they really....?  So
> I took a small informal poll of college grads in their natural habitats.
> My lawyer friend (former history major) went with Roosevelt, as did
> my Office of the State Supreme Court buddy.
> But others thought it meant that the Prez has power to bully just about
> anyone into doing almost anything he says, and that mention of his "bully
> pulpit" implies it's time to stand up to the S.O.B.  Just who does he think
> he is, anyway?
> The confusion is apparently so frequent that Wackipedia has a note:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bully_pulpit.
> The ray of hope here is that the confusion seems endemic to have nothing
> to do with party affiliation.
> JL
> --
> "There You Go Again...Using Reason on the Planet of the Duck-Billed
> Platypus"

"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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