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The word "strategery" (// strə-TEE-jər-ee) was coined for a Saturday Night Live sketch, written by James Downey, airing October 7, 2000, which satirized the performances of George W. Bush and Al Gore, two candidates for President of the United States, during the first presidential debate for election year 2000. Comedian Will Ferrell played Bush and used the word "strategery" (a mock-Bushism playing on the word "strategy"), when asked by a mock debate moderator to summarize "the best argument for his campaign", thus satirizing Bush's reputation for mispronouncing words. The episode was later released as part of a video tape titled Presidential Bash 2000.
Becoming a Bush catchphrase
After the 2000 presidential election, people inside the Bush White House reportedly began using the term as a joke, and it later grew to become a term of art among them meaning oversight of any activity by Bush's political consultants. Bush's strategists also came to be known within the White House as "The Department of Strategery" or the "Strategery Group."
A February 9, 2001, transcript of a CNN interview shows George Bush using the term, presumably as an intentional nod to the comedy sketch. Affectionately embracing satirical portrayals has been a Bush tactic at other times as well, such as when he presented a self-parodying slide show at the May 2004 Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner about looking for weapons of mass destruction in the Oval Office after the political comic strip Doonesbury satirically portrayed him on a similar comical search.
The term is now widely used in comic and popular discourse across the political spectrum. Rush Limbaugh picked up the usage soon after the SNL airing. A trial exhibit from the 2007 "Scooter" Libby trial included the term, in Libby's daily schedule for June 10, 2003, which showed that Libby had a 6:00 pm "Strategery Meeting" scheduled to last 90 minutes.
Sarah Palin used the term in an interview with Bill O'Reilly on his television show. Speaking of Charles Krauthammer and his political contacts, Palin commented "they're meeting people and they're doing their strategery."
A book by political reporter Bill Sammon titled Strategery was published by the conservative publishing group Regnery in February 2006, and is the author's third book on the inner workings of the Bush presidency.
The term is also a centerpiece of the fictitious firm Strategery Capital Management, LLC, a satirical website, which mocks the Treasury's $700 billion Troubled Asset Rescue Plan.
An episode of the PBS Kids GO! series WordGirl titled "Mr. Big's Dolls and Dollars" uses the word in an advertisement during "The Pretty Princess and Sparkling Pony Power Hour" for a doll of the title character created by Mr. Big, one of the show's villains that does the opposite of what the real heroine does, saying "I will use strategery to defeat you", of which the real WordGirl (in her guise of Becky Botsford) claims that she'd never use the word.
The word has also been popularized in some recent games. In December 2008, two Risk-like world domination games were released using the name Strategery. Strategery is Risk-style world domination game for iOS, which was released on the iTunes Store and App Store. It wouldn't be until 2012 that a politically themed game released using the name Strategery 2012 as an homage to the SNL sketch, lampooning the presidential election using quotes from politicians.
A White House reporter, during a September 29, 2009, press briefing, began a question for press secretary Robert Gibbs with "From the standpoint of leverage or strategery . . ." The question, about Iran, drew laughs and a quip from Gibbs.
The word continues to gain usage, with Strategery Games, a gaming site dedicated to reviews, discussion, and tutorials of all kinds of games. Its slogan attempts to define the word "Strategery" as "The Art of Kicking Butt and Taking Names."
Shepard Smith, on his evening news program The FOX Report With Shepard Smith on July 10, 2012, described London official's quoted "overall strategery" in placing anti-aircraft missiles on apartment buildings during the London Olympics. This was in turn echoed by Fox news personality Johnathan Hunt, who added the plans were a "Huge security stratergy".
The word is frequently used by radio personality Rush Limbaugh, perhaps with a twist of irony. It is also occasionally used by other radio talk show hosts, frequently with a touch of satire or irony.
- Dana Milbank (April 22, 2001). "Serious 'Strategery' As Rove Launches Elaborate Political Effort, Some See a Nascent Clintonian 'War Room'". Washington Post. Retrieved 2006-10-23.
- "See, Why Are These Men Laughing?". Esquire. January 1, 2003.
- "Military Puts President Bush on Defensive; How Should the New Administration Handle the Conflict in the Middle East?". CNN. February 9, 2001. Retrieved 2006-10-23.
- "Bush takes heat for WMD jokes". CNN. May 6, 2004. Retrieved 2008-03-06.
- Defense Exhibit DX1030 - Scooter Libby's Schedule, June 10, 2003
- O'Reilly Factor (December 16, 2010). "Sarah Palin's TV Show Hurting Her Political Career?". Fox News.
- Strategery Capital Management LLC. "Strategery Capital Management LLC".
- "Reporter Uses SNL Word "Strategery" During White House Briefing". YouTube. September 29, 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-30.
- Danny Shea (September 29, 2009). "Reporter Uses "SNL" Word "Strategery" In White House Briefing (VIDEO)". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2009-09-30.
- Itskoff, Dave 'SNL' Writer Narrows The Gap Between Politics and Farce, New York Times, March 3, 2008
- Saturday Night Live: Presidential Bash 2000 at the Internet Movie Database