Monday, March 06, 2017

A Trump By Any Other Name . . .

Some of my internet correspondents have been busy coining nicknames for our president. Most of them are not flattering. "Dopey Donny" seems truly insulting for the leader of the free world. "Groper in Chief" is not nice at all. One widely read blogger went so far as to claim she will never mention Trump's name, and chose instead to indicate him as an * in her writings.

Although political opponents traditionally have tried to hang derogatory descriptors on presidents, most of the slurs did not become widely accepted enough to make it into formal histories. However some terms have had remarkable staying power.

Andrew Jackson will forever be known as "Old Hickory," a tribute to his toughness supposedly applied by soldiers he commanded before becoming president. Calvin Coolidge, who said little and also didn't achieve much, is known to most students of American history as "Silent Cal." And who doesn't still like to refer to "Ike"?

Is there a pattern to all this? Indeed, there is a minor trend along party lines. Although the first president to be known by his initials was a Republican, Theodore Roosevelt's "TR" designation was the only such label that stuck among GOP presidents. The Democrats, for reasons unknown, assumed leadership in nicknaming by initials. Even many in our younger generations know that HST was Harry Truman, JFK was John Kennedy, and LBJ denoted Lyndon Johnson.

The Republican trend in nicknaming is quite different. The best known labels represent some great deed or characteristic attributed to the president. Abraham Lincoln became "The Great Emancipator" for his proclamation that freed many slaves during the Civil War.  Ronald Reagan is widely known as "The Great Communicator" for his abilities as an orator.

So how should tradition and performance guide us in attaching a suitable nickname to Mr. Trump? "The Donald," a label bestowed on him by his first wife Ivana in 1989, may speak to his ego but hardly relates to any great achievement. Reading the findings of fact checkers who have analyzed Trump's various statements and claims during his presidential campaign and early days in office is perhaps our best guide to an appropriate label.

One respected fact checker found that three-fourths of Trump's statements during the campaign were exaggerations or downright lies. He hasn't improved much, if at all, on that level of performance as president. Perhaps, "The Great Emancipator" and "The Great Communicator" should be followed on the list of lasting Republican presidential nicknames by "The Great Prevaricator."

DONALD TRUMP
The Great Prevaricator



8 comments:

Jhawk23 said...

"The Great Prevaricator" does have potential, though perhaps it's not "fair," since many say that the individual in question truly does not realize that he's lying, or fabricating ... he really believes those things he's saying in those tweets!

The search for a moniker goes on, though personally I find that by his constant assault on truth and reason,n he has forfeited any expectation of being treated with respect.

Maybe the comic strip Doonesbury got things right in depicting George W. Bush as a feather; it remains to be seen how they might top that!

Dick Klade said...

Agree, JHawk. Trump doesn't deserve respect. Respect must be earned, and so far none has been. It will be interesting to see what Doonesbury comes up with.

Rummuser said...

Not being an American, I would rather not offer any suggestions for an appropriate name for your current POTUS. I would however point out a glaring omission in your list of nicknames, Tricky Dick!

PiedType said...

If a nickname has to derive from a great achievement, I've a feeling we're going to be out of luck this time. Aside from The Great Prevaricator, the most distinctive thing I've seen so far is his incessant tweeting. At the rate he's going, he could end up being the Half-President, much as Palin became the Half-Governor.

Kay said...

Oooooo.... Good one. I like it! I've been occasionally referring to him as #45. The Great Prevaricator doesn't have a false ring to it.

Alan G said...

Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a long-term pattern of abnormal behavior characterized by exaggerated feelings of self-importance, an excessive need for admiration, and a lack of understanding of others' feelings. People affected by it often spend a lot of time thinking about achieving power or success, or about their appearance. They often take advantage of the people around them. The behavior typically begins by early adulthood, and occurs across a variety of situations.

Now that you have the definition, you can name the object in question....

Dick Klade said...

Alan, that fits Mr. T to a T.

joared said...

I was toying with Mr. or President Mendacity, but The Great Prevaricator fits quite well. But then, there's The Great Pretender -- but guess that was a song title.