The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press sometimes asks a word association question along with its presidential polling. The question they use is "What one word best describes your impression of George W. Bush?" They offer no option to the polled. The latest results had the word "incompetent" as the leading choice at 29% followed by "good," "idiot," "liar," "honest," and "christian."
An interesting mix that has three of the top four choices as being derogatory toward Bush. The words get a little more offbeat following the above choices. Following "christian" were, "arrogant," "strong," "integrity," "ass," "leader," "jerk," "okay," "sincere," "stupid," "president," "selfish," and "untrustworthy." Out of 710 responses these words all had 6 or more people pick them as their word. I have to wonder what other choices were made, those with less than 6 picks.
Looking at the order of the list I find it funny to combine a few that perchance fell in order, for instance, "stupid president," or "president selfish." The best might be "ass leader jerk." One might say, "Oh that Bush, what an ass leader jerk."
Only once in my entire life have I been called to respond to a political poll, and that was for a presidential primary back in 2000. They didn't ask any word association questions that I recall, but that was a different type of poll. If the Pew people had called me for this latest poll and posed the Bush association question to me, I might have been a bit tongue-tied. Here is how I imagine the phone poll would go.
Ring, ring, (you still have to write the word "ring" as the sound of the telephone in this age of millions of types of ring tones) ring, ring.
Pew: "Good evening sir. We are conducting a presidential opinion poll. Would you be willing to answer a few questions?
Me: "You mean you want me to comment about that rat bastard Bush? Sure, I'll be glad to."
Pew: "Um, I see you already have a strong opinion about the president, but I'll need to go through the list of questions and all need to be answered to count as a complete poll."
Me: "fire away. I can't wait."
Pew: "Do you approve or disapprove of the way President Bush is handling his job?"
Me: "DISAPPROVE!!!! Sorry, I'm shouting, but dang it's so good to be able to tell someone. Someone who will count it."
Pew: "Please answer whether you agree or disagree with the following descriptions of President Bush."
Pew: "President Bush is a strong leader."
Me: "No! Disagree!"
Pew: "The President is able to get things done."
Me: "He gets things done badly. He could screw up screwing in a light bulb. I'm surprised he can walk without falling down. Put me down for a disagree."
Pew: "President Bush cares about people."
Me: "Sure, rich people and religious nutcakes. The rest of us he considers as nothing but subjects of his realm. I guess that would be another disagree."
Pew: "President Bush is trustworthy."
Me: "I trust Bush about as far as I could throw Air Force One, which is not at all."
Pew: "President Bush is well-informed."
Me: "Sure, if you count those crooks of neocons as good advisors, but I don't. Another disagree."
Pew: "President Bush is a good manager."
Me: "...Of a last place team and should be fired. I disagree again."
Pew: "Do you believe that President Bush is "in touch" or "out of touch" with what is going on in the government?"
Me: "I thought he was on another vacation. He is way out of touch. He should be impeached. When are you going to ask me that?"
Pew: "That's not one of our questions."
Me: "Well, it should be. When are you going to ask me whether Bush should tag along with Dick Cheney on his next hunting trip?"
Pew: "Um, sorry, not on the list. Just one more question."
Me: "Okay, okay, go ahead."
Pew: "What one word best describes your impression of George W. Bush?"
Me: "Wow, that's an easy one, just let me think for a second or two."
(What one great word should I tell this guy? This is almost too easy, so many insults to choose from, so little time. Hmmm, howsabout "fucker?" No, that's foul language, they probably won't accept it. Maybe "dirtbag?" But is that one word or two? "Nose picker" I know that's two words, but it would be great. I've got to clean this up a bit. "Droolface?" No, ummm, "dunderhead?" no, geez, maybe, "sleazebucket.")
Me: "I'm here, just thinking. This is harder than I thought."
Pew: OK, but when you first answered that you wanted to comment on that "rat bastard Bush" that would be two words."
Me: "Oh, yeah. I forgot about "rat bastard." But that's how I feel. OK, give me a few more seconds."
(Yeah, "rat bastard" two words, damn. Wait, I know! "Chickenhawk," that's a good one. "Deserter in Chief." Ack, three words. No, those words get dashes, "Deserter-in-Chief." Too complicated. Ummm, "Fathead," "peabrain," "screwball," "retard," they are coming fast, "dickhead" no, that's Cheney, "asswipe," "vomitface," "pinhead," "blowhard," "meathead," umm, umm, those are just insults. Think of something newsworthy. "katrina clown," no, two words again. "Iraq and a hard place." Way too complicated! Come on, come on, think, dammit!)
Pew: "Have you thought of a word?"
Me: "Look, this isn't easy. What have other people told you?"
Pew: "I can't divulge that. It would taint your answer."
Me: "OK. I've got a few choices. Let me think which one I like best."
Pew: "Sure. But you'll need to answer soon. I have more calls to make."
Me: "Thanks, hold on a sec."
(Ack, I need to come up with something. That bumper sticker I thought up before, Bush is a Dubya MD. No, way too obscure and too many words besides. Umm, "cheater," "liar," "torturer," ummm "bozo," "bimbo," "buzzard," "bastard," "backassward," and those are just bee words. Maybe some cee words, "chump," "crapface," "criminal," "crusty underwear," "clod," oh, wait, lots of people call him "chimp" because he looks like one. Maybe in the dees, "dogface," "dumb bunny," "dolt," dingleberry," "doofus," "dangerous," "dumb bell," deeee, ummm, geez, I can' go through the whole alphabet. But wouldn't that be fun. I wonder if there are any zee words, umm, "zipperbrain," umm "zero," "zilch," yep, even a few zee words. Come on now snap out of it. Think. Think dammit, think!)
Pew: "Hello? Do you have a word? I need to move on."
Me: "Umm, umm, hold on, I've got so many words in mind, ahh, umm, ack! FUBAR!"
Me: "Yeah, fubar, I can't think of the perfect word, but fubar is certainly how I feel."
Pew: "What's fubar?"
Me: "Fubar is a sort of army acronym, similar to snafu. But Bush is more fubar than snafu."
Pew: "What's snafu? What does fubar mean? I've never heard those before."
Me: "Well, snafu is situation normal, all fucked up. And fubar means fucked up beyond all recognition. Bush is fubar for sure."
Pew: "Is that your word?"
Me: "Yes! That IS the perfect word, fubar!"
Pew: "So, your one word that best describes George W. Bush is fubar?"
Me: "Yes, fubar!"
Pew: "Fubar? Hmmm, how do you spell that?"
Me: "I've seen it as eff, you, bee, aye, are and I also think it can be spelled eff, oh, oh, bee, aye, are, but that wouldn't actually be the acronym way. Eff, you, bee, aye, are, that would be the proper way if you ask me."
Pew: "Ok then, (type, type, type, type, type) fubar it is."
Me: "Fubar can also mean, fouled up beyond all recognition, that's the clean version.
Pew: "I'll make a note of that (type, type, type...).
Me: "But I prefer the fucked up version, it's more Bush."
Pew: "Well, that's all the questions. I want to thank you for taking the time to answer them."
Me: "Wait. You're REALLY not going to ask about impeachment?
Pew: "No, sorry. That's not a question on this survey."
Me: "Because that's probably my second choice on the one word."
Me: "Actually, I wish the word was "fired!""
Pew: "Well, sir, I would say that fubar is the perfect word if you ask me, but don't quote me on that."
Me: "Yes, Bush is SO Fubar."
Pew: LOL..."Well, thanks again, goodbye."
Me: "So long."
So, there you have it. Simply out of panicked pressure I probably would have told the Pew Research Center that Bush is FUBAR. In which case my answer would not have shown up in the news releases as so few people would have used the word Fubar. My word would have gotten less than 6 responses. Here's my request. If the Pew people call you and ask the Bush association question, just say Fubar. Let's get that word into the press releases. Fubar.