Matt Brundage

Political conventional wisdom

How do politicians acquire nicknames that are often inaccurate, or, at worst, downright wrong? Take, for instance, the Kennedy clan. They are frequently referred to as a “dynasty” or as “American royalty”. What makes JFK’s presidency “royal”, but, say, Woodrow Wilson’s or George H.W. Bush’s presidency not royal? Speaking of which, if titles such as “dynastic” or “royal” should be bestowed upon an American political family, it should be the Bushes, as they have served in executive positions for roughly 2.5 times as long as the Kennedys (26 years vs. 10.5 years). And I am including Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend’s tenure in this equation, which is indeed generous of me.

And why is Barack Obama always referred to as a “rock star”? I have never heard him sing or play any kind of musical instrument. As far as I know, he has yet to release any songs. Furthermore, isn’t the typical rock star the last kind of person that one would want in the most important executive office in the land? The only thing Obama has in common with the typical rock star is the narcissism. Oh, and the cocaine use.

And why was Ted Kennedy known as a liberal lion? It was obvious that he was a liberal, but what about the lion, an animal known for a powerful libido and a ferocious appetite for raw flesh? Furthermore, people didn’t go around calling Jesse Helms a “conservative caribou” or a “Republican rabbit.” What gives?

And why-oh-why was Bill Clinton the first black president? Was it because of his saxophone playing, as Toni Morrison asserts? That musical ability alone would make Clinton much more deserving of the “rock star” moniker than Obama. And if Clinton truly was the first black president, then what of Obama’s supposed historicity?

One Response to “Political conventional wisdom”

  1. Haven says:

    On Edward Kennedy, especially with his history – one can really say that the lion fits him.

    On Obama: The Rockstar talks about his charisma, not so much his musical talent.

    On Clinton: Oh, I could say so much here and I just don’t dare.

    I can actually understand the reasoning behind some of the nicknames. Right now, though, I’m basking in the glow of being right. :-D I told people Obama didn’t have the experience needed to run the country – and I still don’t understand why McCain chose Palin.