Thursday, October 04, 2007

Name Game

The Washington Post has a list of which foreign policy bigwigs are supporting the major candidates. I don't know enough about these folks to make any informed comments. So instead, I'll just point out names that interest me. "Interest", as you will see, has very little to do with substantive policy concerns, and everything to do with what weird associations I can make with the last names.

Obama starts off with not one, but two Brzezinskis: Mark, and Zbigniew. The former was a specialist in Southeast Europe in Clinton's NSC, and the latter was President Carter's National Security Adviser. Copy editors everywhere hope that they remain low profile and in the background. Also with Obama is the ever-awesome Samantha Power, which we knew. Though she is unaffiliated with any candidate and thus not listed, another name which has popped up in discussions of possible high players in a Democratic administration is Woodrow Wilson School Dean Anne-Marie Slaughter. This is worth noting not just because they are both highly regarded and indisputably brilliant (though they both are), but because it could possibly give us "Secretaries Power and Slaughter," which tickles me. The only competition on the best/worst names front comes from the Giuliani campaign, which could give us a diplomat by the name of "Conquest," Robert Conquest to be precise. The name matches Giuliani's temperament far better than "Power" and "Slaughter" do Obama's.

McCain doesn't have anybody with as scary-sounding names as Obama or Giuliani, but he makes up for it by being just gosh-darn folksy: two alphabetically-sequential advisers of his are both nicknamed "Bud": Reagan National Security Adviser Robert "Bud" McFarlane, and Brig. Gen. Warren "Bud" Nelson. Also on McCain's ledger: Maj. Gen. Evan "Curly" Hultman. But it's Mitt Romney whose affiliate wins the award for best nickname, in the form of Lt. Gen. John H. "Soup" Campbell.

And finally, just for kicks, a pure count of all the military figures (mostly generals and admirals) listed for each candidate:

Clinton -- 6 (a solid figure, I think)
Obama -- 2 (lower than I'd have expected)
Edwards -- 7 (out of 11 names total)
Giuliani -- 0 (am I the only one whose surprised he couldn't find one?)
McCain -- 17 (wowzers)
Romney -- 1 (well, at least you beat Giuliani)

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