The Bully Pulpit

Just a brief reminder as we enter the second Obama presidential term.

The Teddy Roosevelt phrase “bully pulpit” doesn’t imply using president power as a means of being aggressive or nasty. Anyone who uses “bully pulpit” to imply that the president should throw his weight around and force enemies to acquiesce to him is terribly mistaken.

When Roosevelt coined the term, the word “bully” meant “excellent” — not a schoolyard aggressor who preyed upon weaker kids. In other words, the presidency is a great platform for talking about ideas because the president is visible enough so as to grab the attention of the people.

Excellent pulpit. Not aggressive dickwad pulpit.

Are we clear on this?

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  • Ipecac

    Really? That’s a thing?

    Being a student of history, I know what it means. Didn’t realize others don’t.

    • IrishGrrrl

      If there is anything to learn about Americans, it is that they are NOT generally students of history. So yes, you and I would know what it means, but most people, no.

      • Kerry Reid

        Nor are they generally students of civics. Or science. (Hi, Sen. Rubio!)

    • D_C_Wilson

      If it isn’t, I’m sure it will be soon. If there’s one thing republicans like, it’s complaining about how Pres. Obama is “ramming bills down their throats” by being a bully. Except for when they’re complaining about how he’s “failing to lead”.

  • Christine Mitchell

    Yes Bob…

  • M312

    Neither did I. Thanks, Bob.

  • gescove

    Who the hell doesn’t know this?

  • Scopedog

    “Are we clear on this?”

    Crystal, Bob.

  • Razor

    I honestly didn’t know this.

    Public school education, post-evangelical movement. Babies come out of belly buttons, right?

  • Steve Everett

    We may be, but Republicans never will – because it means admitting that they’re wrong.

  • zirgar

    Bully for you, Cesca! Bully for you!

    • gescove

      Hey! Don’t call Bob a bully!

      • zirgar

        What, you don’t think he’s good or excellent?

        • gescove

          Touche’ !

  • Victor_the_Crab

    Well, Roosevelt did say “bully” the same way some would say “awesome” today, so that would make sense.