Cutting and Running from Staying the Course

A simple Google search puts the lie to the Bush administration's effort to distance itself from its own catchphrase about "staying the course" in Iraq. According to cognitive linguist George Lakoff, this latest rhetorical dodge shows that the White House has finally been caught in its own language trap. "'Stay the course' was for years a trap for those who disagreed with the president’s policies in Iraq," he observes. "To disagree was weak and immoral. It meant abandoning the fight against evil. But now the president himself is caught in that trap. To keep staying the course, given obvious reality, is to get deeper into disaster in Iraq, while not staying the course is to abandon one’s moral authority as a conservative. Either way, the president loses." At the Huffington Post, Matt Neuman suggests some candidates for a replacement catchphrase, including "run and hide," "bob and weave," "hem and haw," ""shuck and jive," "twist and shout."