A few weeks ago I was having dinner with a couple friends in New York. Both come from the financial world. They are well-educated, conservative, and very Republican – which always makes for interesting dinner conversation. I enjoy a spirited political discussion, and accordingly like to enflame evenings by pointing out what a great President we have, the many inadequacies of the Bush administration, and the bizarro line-up of current Republican leadership. They typically counter with points about the deficit, the complete lack of backbone most Democrats suffer from, an occassional crack about Bill Clinton’s genitals, and the evils of socialism. A little tension during a meal is good for the digestion. They are smart and decent guys with the best of intentions, and they do a good job at defending their positions. But their dislike for Obama goes beyond politics, and I spent a lot of time at dinner trying to determine why they have such disdain for the President.
“I don’t like his arrogance. I don’t like how he introduces himself every time he gives a speech”, one of my friends commented. “He comes out and says “hi, I’m Barrack Obama”, like we don’t know who he is.”
I pointed out that Johnny Cash was one of our most beloved musical stars, and he would always begin his concerts by saying “hello, I’m Johnny Cash”, even though we couldn’t have possibly mistook him for Marilyn Manson, Dolly Parton, the cast from Glee, or some other musical act. We didn’t think Johnny was arrogant; it was just his signature intro. But that did not dissuade them from their dislike of Obama.
Fast forward a couple weeks, and my wife and I were discussing over dinner how well the President has handled the Osama bin Laden situation. And all of a sudden I realized that we were both inadvertently mixing up the President and Osama’s name. The bottle of fine Central Coast Syrah might have contributed to the situation, but as we were talking it was easy to refer to Osama as Obama, and Obama as Osama. And it’s not just us; last night I heard a television commentator embarassingly mix the two names.
“Wait an minute”, I thought. “Perhaps this is the problem. Some people have a deep-seated psychological dislike of Obama because they are mixing him up with Osama. They don’t know it, but when he says his name it conjures up bad images of Osama”.
Imagine if during World War II our President’s name was Addy Hissler instead of Franklin Roosevelt. What a tremendous additional burden to the Presidency if our Commander-In-Chief had a name like Philip Rasputin, Chuck L. Manson, or Clifford Satan.
Accordingly, as we move towards the next election it might make sense for the President to change his name to something less controversial. Why endure the potential hassle of being associated with a mass murderer? Here are a few names that I think might make sense:
- Jesus Reagan. This is a great one to bring in the religious right, the Hispanic vote, and Republicans who long for bygone days.
- Abraham Lincoln O’Flaherty. Combine our most beloved President (and a Republican), with the happy connotation of a really Irish name, and I think you have a winner.
- Bam. Just one name, like Cher or Madonna. A simple abbreviation of Obama. Sounds tough, kinda like the Rock. This is a different strategy – more of a macho makeover for the President, but I think it might work. And it’s a great tagline he could use when something good happens; BAM – there goes the deficit. BAM – take that Donald Trump!