My first two thoughts, after hearing Tuesday’s primary news:
1) What? Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) lost his primary?
2) To a guy named Brat?
I confess I have always been slightly in awe of, as well as slightly terrified by, politicians who win elections despite having the kinds of names that would lead to lots of playground teasing. If they’re able to overcome the built-in bad P.R. packaged with having a funny name, they must be either unusually compelling or unusually ruthless politicians. Or both.
Come on, you know who I’m talking about: the John Boehners, Mike Crapos and Anthony Weiners of the world. Also the lesser-known Frank Schmucks, Young Boozers and Ryan Fattmans. There are a few others too whose unfortunate appellations somehow don’t seem appropriate for a family newspaper.
Oh, don’t you judge me for giggling. Everyone knows that if politicians could focus-group (and easily change) their own names the way companies do with consumer products, they would never choose to run with a brand like “Brat” or “Schmuck” or “Dick Swett.” Not so much because of puerile pundits like me or the obvious New York Post headlines, but because having a silly-sounding name probably subtly undermines their credibility with voters. If they can overcome constituents’ subconscious reluctance to vote for someone whose name sounds like a “South Park” character, they must run one hell of a campaign. Or face a really, really vulnerable opponent, I guess.