is a satirically pejorative phrase coined by John J. DiIulio
Jr., Ph.D., a former staffer of the George W. Bush
presidential administration who ran Bush's Faithbased Initiative
. After he quickly resigned from his White House post in late 2001, DiIulio told journalist Ron Suskind
, describing that administration, as published in Esquire magazine
: "What you've got is everything--and I mean everything--being run by the political arm. It's the reign of the Mayberry Machiavellis."
The phrase is meant to invoke infamous Machiavellian style power politics coupled with a prejudicial sense of regional backwardness and incompetence in the American south as supposedly exemplified by the fictional, small, rural, North Carolina town of Mayberry R.F.D., from The Andy Griffith Show which ran on the American television network, CBS, from 1960 - 1968.
The phrase, seeming so felicitously apt, was picked up and virally repeated by many critics of the George W. Bush presidency.