Etymology of the Day: Strategery

My incidental use of the George Bushism “strategery” in a post this morning sparked a Twitter exchange which produced an interesting factlet: George Bush didn’t invent the word. Here it is in an 1845 short story by Mark Lemon, the founder of Punch, titled “Never Trust to Outward Appearances”:

The particular strategery spoken of here involves one Caleb Botts, who was negotiating to marry away his daughter Fanny for his own benefit, but eventually gets outsmarted. I just thought you’d all like to know.

UPDATE: Sorry. I’m reminded in comments that “strategery” was invented by Will Farrell in an SNL spoof of George Bush. As happens so often, fiction replaces reality in our memories.


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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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