As we enter the 2016 presidential election silly season, what was once the GOP presidential candidates "Clown Car" has now grown into an oversized, overladen, over ripe "Clown Bus" packed with characters trying to attract the voters' attention by competing to see who can offend the most people the most with their dog whistles and red meat "rallying cries."
This writer has decided to join the silly season with a silly piece on these silly people's silly slogans.
Readers beware. Should you decide to get off the clown bus, this may be your last chance.
Here we go:
When former Florida governor Jeb Bush announced his GOP candidacy for president, much of the attention was on the name/logo he chose to run under.
Rather than to run as Jeb Bush, he chose to run simply as Jeb!
The scuttlebutt is that Jeb Bush wants voters to forget and forgive that he is the brother of that other Bush and part of a passé dynasty.
Thus, GOP presidential candidate John Ellis "Jeb" Bush chose Jeb! from among a dozen possible name permutations.
Adding that exclamation point was brilliant. So emphatic! So definitive! Nothing more to follow -- ergo nothing more to be embarrassed about!
But Jeb is not the only presidential candidate trying to put some distance between himself and his or her family legacy.
Two other dynasty candidates have omitted their last names from their campaign logos: Hillary and Rand.
It appears to this writer with a lot of time on his hands and with a lot chimeras in his head that it would be neat to figure out -- if they had to pick a one-word logo -- what names the candidates would pick to run under, or run from.
We have already discussed Jeb!
Let us look at Christopher James "Chris" Christie.
He has a problem.
Christie! would remind too many of New Jersey Governor Christie's role in the "Bridgegate" scandal.
Christopher and Chris sound too much like Christie. So that leaves only James or, better, Jim!, short, slim and anonymous.
How about Michael Dale "Mike" Huckabee?
Huckabee! sounds too much like Wannabe!, so that is out.
Michael or Mike sound a little bit blah.
Dale does not go with the prestige and divinity of an ordained Southern Baptist minister.
That leaves only Huck! Strong and macho sounding -- should certainly attract those women who "cannot control their libido."
What does one do with Rafael Edward "Ted" Cruz?
Born in Canada to an American mother and a Cuban-born father who was later naturalized, he certainly doesn't want a logo that would rekindle the "birther" specter that was so abundantly evoked with Barack Obama.
The Latino vote could be a problem for him. However, Cruz could solve it in the same way he handles campaign ads directed at Spanish-speaking voters -- en español, claro! -- do not have a single word about immigration, rather about "fe, libertad, y oportunidad."
The ads beamed at "real Americans" Americans excoriate President Obama's executive action on immigration.
Following this "business model," the Hispanic logo could be "Eduardo Rafael Cruz" and the logo for real Americans "Edward Ted Cruz," or simply, Eduardo! and Ted!, respectively.
On second thought, since Cruz "salutes" the prejudiced ground Trump walks on, how about a CruzTrump! ticket.
Talking about Donald John Trump, Sr., he faces similar challenges courting the "some" Mexican-Americans who he assumes "are good people."
Trump! sounds too much like himself and like chump, frump, rump, grump, or the dumps he is receiving from NBC, Univision, Macy's, Serta, NASCAR, etc.
Donald! might fittingly remind voters of a sideshow comic book character.
Regrettably, Trump doesn't have the initial "C" in his name, as Coiffe! would have been perfect.
But wait, proud Hispanics have already suggested a logo for Trump: ¡Pendejo! although the leading "upside-down" exclamation mark could pose a problem for Trump's Anglo-Saxon keyboards.
Then there is Piyush "Bobby" Jindal.
Piyush! Nah! Pronunciations will be hard to predict and could "spell" trouble.
Jindal! Too close to jingle, jingo...Jindal.
Bobby! would needlessly risk comparisons with that great (Democratic) Bobby.
#AskBobby? Nah, that was a miserable failure.
Ditching the one-word logo rule, "Les Bon Temps Bobby" would be just fine.
Now we come to Lindsey Olin Graham.
Lindsey sounds too feminine and, when combined with Olin, well, you get linseed oil. So, I guess Graham! it is, but without the crackers.
What does one do with James Richard "Rick" Perry?
James! or Jim! are already taken. Rick! Is reserved for Rick Santorum, below.
Ooops! might be great for brand recognition but for nothing else.
Cheating a little bit and running his three names together, we get JamesRichardPerry!
With such a three-word slogan, the former presidential candidate will hopefully remember at least two of the three slogan parts.
Dr. Randal Howard "Rand" Paul has a double-edged problem.
He has to be careful to both separate himself from his father's (Ron Paul) legacy and not to be confused with Paul Ryan.
Howard! Is a possibility, but that could remind many of "the scream."
That leaves Rand! Which, as St. Ridley Santos at the Powder Room writes, would "trade off the cultural cache of another Rand - Ayn Rand."
Cara Carleton "Carly" Fiorina is the only female Republican presidential candidate thus far. If successful in the primaries she may have to run against Hillary!
Fiorina! sounds flowery and feminine enough to capture some of that female vote she'll need, chauvinistic as it all may sound and be.
Marco Antonio Rubio
Marco! would readily remind voters of the game "Marco Polo" traditionally played in a swimming pool, which is filled with water, which would bring back painful, thirst-filled memories of Rubio's "water bottle-gate" moment.
Rubio!? Marco is not blond.
That leaves Antonio! Latinos would love the link to Marco Antonio Solis' beautiful songs and music.
No, not Tony!
Richard John "Rick" Santorum
After last election's embarrassing controversy with "Santorum," Richard! John! Rick! -- anything but Santorum!
Finally, we come to a group of candidates without much name recognition:
Benjamin Solomon "Ben" Carson, Sr.
George Elmer Pataki
John Richard Kasich
Scott Kevin Walker
Solomon! Elmer! Dick! And Kevin! are out.
So, let's see how Ben! Pataki! Kasich! and Walker! play out this silly season.
That's all folks. Now back to the real world of even sillier silliness.