The Bully-in-Chief Takes the Bully Pulpit

President Obama's pen and phone and threats to use them could forever transform the meaning of the term "bully pulpit" in our nation's lexicon. According to the Oxford Dictionary, "bully pulpit" describes "a public office or position of authority that provides its occupant with an outstanding opportunity to speak out on any issue." The term originated with President Theodore Roosevelt, who often used the word "bully" and once said of his presidency: "I have got such a bully pulpit." Nowadays, though, Roosevelt's use of the word "bully" -- a positive adjective meaning "first rate" or exclamation expressing approval -- occupies the dictionary's number two spot.  Today someone hearing the shout "bully, bully!" would probably rush to call 911, automatically assuming Oxford's definition number one -- the negative noun or verb referring to the "strength or power to harm or intimidate those who are weaker." It is this definition of "bully" that characterizes Obama's pulpit. ...(Read Full Article)

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