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What's in a name.

The presidential primary season is in full swing; the various candidates have been analyzed to death. Yet, one aspect of this competition has been ignored--the subliminal message lurking in their names. Names don't lie! Here is an onomastic tour of the leaders as 2008 begins.

The number of words that can be teased out of a name various considerably from one candidate to the next. The three most fecund ones are John Edwards, Fred Thompson and Hillary Clinton; the three most recalcitrant are John McCain, Mike Huckabee and Barack Obama. Taking them in reverse order:

JOHN MCCAIN The longest words in his name are only five letters, such as CONIC; longer ones include the proper names JOHANN, MONICA (of Bill Clinton fame) and JOACHIM, as well as MINOAN. His only mascot is a CONCH. One can describe him as MANIC, a COMIC, and a MACHO CON MAN.

BARACK OBAMA His longest words are also five letters: ABACK, AROMA, CROAK and MACRO. For mascot he has a choice of COBRA, CRAB, RAM or BOAR. Is he a RAMBO when considering the use of an atomic BOMB?

MIKE HUCKABEE Again, only five-letter words: BEECH, BEACH, IMBUE, HAIKU, KHAKI and CHIME. His mascot is a BEE, or more generically a CUB or a BUCK. He is MEEK (no doubt turning the other CHEEK) but is he the ACME of perfection, or just a HAM or HACK?

RUDY GIULIANI At last a candidate rises to the seven-letter plateau: RAILING, DIURNAL, GRANDLY, RIGIDLY, ANGRILY. His sole mascot is the GNU. Rudy's cross-dressing is recognized by GIRL, LADY, GAY, DARLING and DRAG. He sports a host of negatives: UGLY, DINGY, LIAR (and LYING), ANGRY, RIGID--yet he is a DARING GURU with a GRIN. His motto? I--I RUN GAUDILY (or I RUIN GAUDILY).

MITT ROMNEY His name contains the eight-letter ENORMITY, using 80 per cent of the letters; could this refer to his Mormonism? He is represented by the OTTER and the TERN. One should not earn his ENMITY, for he has an elephantine MEMORY; but he may be motivated by MONEY. Take your choice of mottos: MY, I TORMENT or MY, I'M ROTTEN.

JOHN EDWARDS He has the eight-letter SHADOWED and a host of seven-letter words in his name: HOARDED, ADORNED, ONWARDS, WANDERS, WONDERS. He has a choice of many mascots including HORSE, SHREW, HARE, WREN, HEN and SWAN. He lives by the SWORD, but is also a master of SHREWD WORDS. Is he an ADORED HERO or a HORNED devil? His motto, AND DREW JOSH, alludes to the fact that other candidates rib him in debates.

FRED THOMPSON In his name are found the eight-letter words DOORSTEP, SMOOTHED, SMOOTHER, PROMOTED, PROMOTES and SPOONFED (the longest-known word in reverse alphabetical order). Again, many mascots are present: HORSE, HERON, HEN, MOOSE, HORNET and MOTH. He has an amazing number of derogatory names (MORON, DESPOT, PEST, POOFTER, SNOOP, MONSTER, DOPE, FOP, DEMON with HORNS) and is POOR, SOFT, MOROSE and STONED--yet he can be a HERO with HONOR! He has the sexy motto HOT FOND SPERM (P.S. DEMON FROTH).

HILLARY CLINTON She ascends to the ten-letter plateau with IRONICALLY and CORINTHIAN, followed by the eight-letter CLITORAL, COITALLY, TRILLION, CARILLON and LOCALITY. Her mascots include a CAT, RAT, ANT, ROACH--and a LION. She is ARCH, COY, CHILLY, AIRY, OILY, IRONICAL and a RICH HORNY LIAR subject to periods of INACTION and INANITY--but she is LOYAL. Nevertheless, some think she is HOLY and wears a HALO. (Does this provide enough CLARITY?) Her motto reflects her cool demeanor: RANT? I ONLY CHILL!

A. ROSS ECKLER

Morristown, New Jersey
COPYRIGHT 2008 Jeremiah Farrell
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Title Annotation:Powhatan?
Author:Eckler, A. Ross
Publication:Word Ways
Geographic Code:1U2NJ
Date:Feb 1, 2008
Words:598
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