Are our president learning? Unpacking the enthymematic connections in the speech mistakes of President George W. Bush


Margaret M. Quinlan, Ph.D.,
Assistant Professor of Communication Studies,
University of North Carolina at Charlotte,
Department of Communication Studies,
Colvard Hall 5003,
9201 University City Blvd,
Charlotte, NC 28223.
Phone: 704.687.6614
Fax: 704-687-6900


The purpose of this paper is to explore public interpretations of President George W. Bush's speaking errors. One interpretation of Bush's speech mistakes offered in the media is that he may have dyslexia. Therefore, we explore how an enthymeme using markers of dyslexia as a sign of bad leadership has been used to frame Bush's speaking errors. We provide an analysis of an exemplar of how Bush's speech errors are represented in the media. Our exemplar is the desktop calendar George W. Bushisms: The Accidental Wit and Wisdom of Our 43rd President. We demonstrate that this text focused on common indicators of dyslexia, that is, speaking errors, to position Bush as a ‘bad’ and ‘stupid’ leader. Finally, we offer conclusions and implications that this study has for our understanding of politics and disabilities.