By Robert J. Guttman
June 17. 2015
We know they have last names but you might never know this from the early stages of the 2016 presidential campaign.
Jeb! announces for president with an exclamation point after his name with no mention that his last name is Bush.
Hillary has a bizarre looking logo that looks like a sign for a hospital with an H and an arrow pointing to the right.
Bernie just has his first name in a box. When Senator Sanders spoke at our George Mason Center for Politics & Foreign Relations Issues Forum 2016 on June 3rd I introduced him as Bernie Sanders, the well-known United States Senator from Vermont.
And what can you say about The Donald. Everyone knows who you are talking about when you mention only his first name with “The” in front of it.
If Jeb! And Hillary become their parties respective presidential nominees we will have what Yogi Berra called “Déjà vu all over again”.
Jeb! And Hillary are running on their own but let’s face it they are also in the race for the Oval Office because of their last names.
So, why aren’t these candidates going with their full names? Hillary often uses Rodham instead of Clinton.
Obviously, Jeb Bush wants to show he is his own person. Even though his father and brother served as president he wants to show there is no dynasty in his run for the presidency.
Jeb! pretty much pulled it off in his announcement speech in Miami on June 15th. He didn’t pull away from his last name. The biggest applause of the entire speech was when he announced his mother and the crowd stood and applauded.
Yet, the former two term governor of Florida has a record to run on. He is presenting his strongly held views on education and immigration reform to the voters.
We probably won’t see his dad or brother George W. campaigning for him. His son –George P., a probable future presidential candidate down the road, will be on the campaign trail promoting his dad.
Jeb! jamming on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and his speaking fluent Spanish is appealing to many voters. He already seems different than W.
Hillary, who seems to avoid the media at all her stops and whose campaign tried to kick off a media pool reporter because he said negative things about her campaign, is really not mentioning her last name in her speeches.
Hillary does acknowledge her husband’s two term presidency and the former president and her daughter appear often with her on the campaign trail.
However, she is opting out of being called the more formal Secretary of State or former Senator or former First Lady, in favor of Hillary. Supposedly, this will make her seem more like the middle class voter she is attempting to woo in the campaign even though she and Bill are now in the top 1% with their many well paid speeches.
The use of only the first name Bernie seems to fit Senator Sanders the best. He appears to be everyone’s favorite uncle, but an uncle who is very smart with his own opinions.
Bernie is rapidly gaining on Hillary in new polls in New Hampshire and other key primary and caucus states. When Bernie talks the people in the audience know he sincerely believes what he is saying about big banks and income inequality.
Bernie, unlike Hillary who seems to be speaking as result of her latest poll results, has been saying the same thing for years and is sincere.
What can you say about The Donald that he hasn’t already said positively about himself? In the past he has always not run for president at the last minute so this time around is different as he is officially in the race.
The Donald needs no introduction. He is one of the best self-promoters on the planet these days. Whether this type of huge ego will play well or not with the voters remains to be seen. He certainly seems to have an opinion on almost every topic and if some pundit disagrees with him, he is quickly dismissed by The Donald.
The Governor of Louisiana who will be announcing for president soon might go by the name Bobby instead of Governor Bobby Jindal.
Rick Santorum is sometimes mentioned as only Rick as is former Texas Governor Rick Perry.
We may not know what Hillary stands for on the issues or why she is running for president, but we know who she is when someone says Hillary.
We may not know Jeb! as well as his father or brother George but when we hear the name Jeb we know he is part of this well-known, polite and practical political family.
We may not know all of Bernie Sanders views but when we hear Bernie we know we will hear a lively and interesting talk on a populist issue. When he spoke on June 3rd at our Issues Forum 2016 at Johns Hopkins he went back and forth with a graduate student from Finland in the audience discussing the positive advantages of Finland’s health care system.
The Donald, for good or bad, certainly livens up the GOP presidential contest and shows no shame in sharing his immense wealth with all of us as if that is the main reason we should elect someone to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
When Jeb’s son, George P., now the elected Texas General Land Office Commissioner, runs for president in the future will he be running as George!?
Interesting that Jeb and Hillary are running for president because of their last names but rarely invoke those names on the campaign trail.
So, look forward to a year of Jeb, Hillary, Bernie, The Donald and soon Bobby and Scott!
And, the candidate with the best first name has to be Lincoln Chafee, who announced for president on June 3rd at our Issues Forum 2016 at George Mason.
Who could go wrong with the name of one of America’s best beloved presidents Abraham Lincoln. Will we see Chafee adopt first name strategy of Jeb!, Hillary and Bernie?