“Fair Dinkum”: That’s Australian for “pandering”, mate

2003-10-23T062101Z_01_HOP305851_RTRUKOP_1_PICTURE0.jpgWhen then-Governor George W. Bush would canvas the Southwestern U.S. for votes during the 2000 Presidential Election, it was often noted that he would sprinkle Spanish aphorisms into his stump speeches when facing crowds that had any significant Latino presence.
Rest assured that that sort of pandering hasn’t come to an end. In his visit to Australia yesterday (before he was effectively chased off the continent by unruly hecklers and protesters), President Bush spoke to the nation’s joint houses of Parliament to express his gratitude for Prime Minister John Howard’s support during the invasion of Iraq:
“Five months ago, your prime minister was a distinguished visitor of ours in Crawford, Texas, at our ranch. You might remember that I called him a man of steel,” Mr Bush said.
“That’s Texan for fair dinkum.
“Prime Minister John Howard is a leader of exceptional courage, who exemplifies the finest qualities of one of the world’s great democracies. I’m proud to call him friend.”

If you’re as baffled by that expression of praise as most non-Aussies are, the phrase apparently conveys a sense of being “the real deal” or some such cliched colloquialism. Of course, as Bush’s speechwriters must have told him before writing his script, “fair dinkum” sounds so much cooler.