Saturday, December 3, 2011

Fundamentally Speaking

I came across this amusing article today on Newt Gingrich's favorite word: Fundamentally.

By now, we've all become familiar with Newt Gingrich's habit of using a few choice adverbs to make the things he says sound just a bit more intelligent to his listeners. Profoundly. Deeply. Frankly. But none of them are as vital to the Gingrich lexicon as fundamentally (along with its cousin, the adjective fundamental). While this appears to be Gingrich's favorite word in the English language, you could also argue that he uses the word so often, and so reflexively, that it's become virtually meaningless to him. In a single 2008 address to the American Enterprise Institute, he used the words fundamentally or fundamental a total of eighteen times.

Newt Gingrich, you might say, is the world's most hard-core fundamentalist.

He then proceeds to share a list of 418 unique usages Gingrich has employed. Here are a few of the favorites:

  • "fundamental assault on the core values of the American Constitution and a fundamental assault on the core values of the Founding Fathers"
  • "fundamentally changed the mood of the Republican party and he fundamentally changed the story of 2008."
  • "fundamentally destroying jobs and fundamentally weakening our economic future"
  • "fundamentally different model, a fundamentally different culture and a fundamentally different approach"
  • "fundamentally dishonest and fundamentally dangerous"
  • "fundamentally misleading about the nature of reality and fundamentally misleading about the world"
  • "fundamentally off-base in very profound ways"
  • "fundamentally out of touch with the reality of the real world"
  • "fundamental, profound change”
  • "fundamentally profoundly ignorantly anti-American the current judicial model is"
  • "fundamentally, profoundly change Washington"
  • "fundamentally, profoundly wrong"
  • "fundamentally reform and overhaul the federal government — fundamentally — "
  • "fundamentally reform the government, they had to fundamentally change the rules so that people had more gasoline at a lower price"
  • "fundamental violation of the Constitution and a fundamental violation of the executive branch's power"
  • "fundamentally wrong and fundamentally against the American tradition"
  • "fundamentally wrong with how Washington works, and there's something fundamentally wrong with how the Congress is currently working"

Believe me, this list just scratched the surface. Read the whole thing, if you dare.

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Teemu said...

Mark Steyn also made fun of Gingrich for overuse of adverbs a few days ago.

Alan said...

Gingrich's downfall will come when the voters realize what a blowhard he is. Think of the smooth talker you know in your life. Everyone knows one. You don't trust them and you try not to associate with them. This is what will happen to Gingrich. His self-inflated balloon will burst and all the air will go out of his campaign.

hamaca said...

So Newt is fundamentally a fundamental fundamentalist?

Anonymous said...

Noelle, great post. Thanks.


Pablo said...


I almost posted this myself. Newt's manner of speaking is the chief reason why conservatives think that he is smart. Nice post!

GetReal said...

Don't forget another of Newt's Luntz Focus Group approved favorite words, "transformative."

Anonymous said...

GetReal, I was trying to think of that other word, too.

And don't forget that Newt is by his own definition 'a transformational figure'.


Terrye said...

Newt is fundamentally an egomaniac, with a fundamental personality disorder.

MassCon said...

Anyone ever notice that Rick Perry always says "The idea that..."

He also says "have a conversation" a lot.

GetReal said...

"Have a conversation" is his code-phrase for "I don't know much about this" or "I don't want to take a clear side on this because it will hurt me either way."