Decoding Bush

Following Robert Redford’s approach to understanding presidential parlance.

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Nearly every statement that comes from this administration includes the phrase “The American people.” Every time I hear that phrase I just substitute “industrial interests.”
— Robert Redford in The New York Times Magazine, December 8, 2002.

The presidency does not belong to any one person…. It belongs to the American people.”
— George W. Bush, on inauguration day, January 21, 2001

My budget will fund our priorities, from education to defense to protecting Social Security and Medicare. It will pay down our national debt. And when we have done all that, we will still have some money left over. I strongly believe we should return that money, the leftover money, to you, the American people, in the form of tax relief.
— Bush promoting his trillion-dollar tax cut, February 18, 2001

This is a historic day… We have done right by the American people today.
— Bush, celebrating the passage of his tax cut, May 27, 2001

I oppose blanket amnesty. The American people need to know that. I do believe, though, that when we find willing employer and willing employee, we ought to match the two.
— Bush on illegal immigrants, July 27, 2001

It’s a combination of good conservation and an increase in supplies…. I think most of the American people understand that.
— Bush, on sound energy policy May 11, 2001

I ask Congress to work hard and put a stimulus plan into law to help the American people.
— Bush, on economic recovery, November 09, 2001

The final great priority of my budget is economic security for the American people.
— Bush’s State of the Union, January 30, 2002

As president of the United States, charged with safeguarding the welfare of the American people…I will not commit our nation to an unsound international treaty.
— Bush, dismissing the Kyoto protocol, February 15, 2002

Ronald Reagan believed in the strong character of the American people, even when some on both the left and right were quite skeptical of that character.
— Bush, praising the Gipper, May 17, 2002

The Senate now has one week left to make progress for the American people, and I urge them to seize the opportunity.
— Bush, urging the passage of fast-track trade authority, July 29, 2002

It goes to show that when we put our partisanship aside, when people stop all the yelling and hollering and finger-pointing and say, “How can we help the American people?” we can get a lot done in this town.
— Bush, thanking Congress for his new powers, August 3, 2002

It is landmark in its scope and it ends a session which has seen two years worth of legislative work which has been very productive for the American people.
— Bush, on the passage of the Homeland Security Act and the close of the 107th Congress, November 20, 2002


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

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.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

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.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend