Trail to the Chief: What's In A Name ~ PAC Edition

What's In A Name ~ PAC Edition

There are many reasons to believe that starting a presidential election season some 600 days before election day is, as Slate's Alec MacGillis says, "simply insane." But though this is madness, there is still method within -- and if you're a candidate in this part of the so-called "invisible primary," it's clear that you've gotta have a PAC.

Our own campaign finance sherpa Paul Blumenthal recently wrote about the role that candidates' political action committees (a.k.a. "PACs") play in the complicated tarantella between presidential hopefuls and donors of all sizes. Here in what Blumenthal calls the "beta-launch stage" (Mitt Romney's rockets having already misfired), the yet-to-declare candidates are "using different platforms in the form of specialized political committees, allowing these people to raise money and connect with the all-important wealthy donors who could bankroll their future campaigns."

It's a complicated game, one that's only gotten more sophisticated as campaign finance laws grow increasingly permissive. But there's one aspect of PAC creation that is, and shall ever remain, hopelessly slapdash -- the naming of the PAC.

Maybe there's too much money in politics, or maybe the regulations require careful study in order to maximize the fundraising potential, but for some reason, every time you hear a political action committee's name you wonder if it's something they created by taking a particularly patriotic set of magnetic poetry chits and throwing them at the refrigerator. The end results are often vague and sometimes nonsensical, but they always sort of halfheartedly wave to the notions of America and Freedom and Future and Rising and Reclaiming. Back in 2010, the Sunlight Foundation created a Random PAC Name Generator that mixed hundreds of real PACs in with 28,000 fictional ones, and the degrees of difference between real and fake were startlingly few.

Our 2016-ers are no different: they need cash, they need it now, and their PAC branding efforts are as miserly as ever. Enjoy our rankings of the silliest of the lot, and this year, as you ponder your own campaign contributions, consider maybe just donating a thesaurus.

1 RAND PAUL - REINVENTING A NEW DIRECTIONMoronic oxymoron. How can you “reinvent” something “new”? Republican
2 MARTIN O'MALLEY - O’SAY CAN YOU SEEBasically, what O’Malley’s PAC tells us is that he needs a Blarney intervention. Democrat
3 HILLARY CLINTON - READY FOR HILLARYYeah, so we’ve had over a decade to get ready for Hillary. It is the one thing for which we can’t not be prepared. Democrat
4 JEB BUSH - RIGHT TO RISESomehow, the brand manager for Cialis ended up wooing Baby Boomers for Bush. Republican
5 LINDSEY GRAHAM - SECURITY THROUGH STRENGTHMcCain yes-man bravely opposes weakness. Republican
6 CHRIS CHRISTIE - LEADERSHIP MATTERS FOR AMERICA.ORGOkay, one more LMFAO joke: “SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS!” should be a personal choice for parents. Republican
7 CARLY FIORINA - UNLOCKING POTENTIALTypical Fiorina: reaches for a name with "disruptive" Silicon Valley feel, ends up with something that's hard to Google. Republican
8 SCOTT WALKER - OUR AMERICAN REVIVALShow us to the tent! And please explain how America can have anything but an "American" revival. Republican
9 TED CRUZ - STAND FOR PRINCIPLEAs long as you're standing in front of TV cameras. Republican
10 ELIZABETH WARREN - READY FOR WARREN“Ready” works better for her than Hillary. Democrat
11 RICK PERRY - RICK PACAbout as Texas with a pickup truck that you can get. Republican
12 (Tie) BARELY TRYING TRIO: MARCO RUBIO, BEN CARSON, RICK SANTORUMMarco Rubio: “RECLAIM AMERICA”? Ben Carson: “USA FIRST”? Rick Santorum: “PATRIOT VOICES”? Come on, you guys, make some effort! Don’t just settle for the first idea. Republican

Candidate Photos: Getty, Associated Press