January 09, 2012

Bring Back the Old-Timey Political Nickname

I've started in on The Game of Thrones of political biography, Robert Caro's The Years of Lyndon Johnson. The first volume, The Path to Power, begins by establishing the Texas political scene prior to LBJ's birth and during his childhood as the son of a Populist state representative.

As a savorer of political lore, I have to say that the modern era has lost one great element from the early part of the last century—the old-timey nickname. Honest Buck. Old Oxcart. Cactus Jack. Heck, I would settle for Pinky.

The trick is that the nicknames have to be favorable, bestowed by admirers. In the modern media environment unironic affection for political leaders is harder to find. Reagan had “the Gipper”, but he got it on loan from Hollywood. Margaret Thatcher's “the Iron Lady” cut both ways.

I'm too much the satirist to come up with straight-faced, old-timey-ish nicknames for current figures. Hillary “Pant Suit” Clinton? Michelle “Crazy Eye” Bachmann? Rick “Santorum” Santorum?

The best I can do is Barack “Long Game” Obama. Fans of the Steve's Dad candidate might go for Ron “Gold Standard” Paul.

What moniker would you bestow on the politician you admire?