I’ve been musing about Presidential sounding names, specifically the name Richard. Richard is #7 all time out of 1220 baby names. It translates to “powerful leader.” That sounds like a nice meaning for a conservative running for the highest office. There has only been one President named Richard in our nation’s history. Richard Nixon served from 1969-1974 and is the only one to have resigned his office. His nickname was “tricky Dick” which sounds more sly and crafty than powerful, but hey.
We have had three Vice Presidents named Richard. Nixon served from 1953 to 1961 under President Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Cheney served under President George W. Bush from 2001-2009. There’s a pair of Republican Dicks for you. Just for fun I Googled “famous Dick’s” and there wasn’t much about powerful leaders there.
For the Democrats, Richard Mentor Johnson served under Martin Van Buren from 1837 to 1841. “He is the only vice president ever elected by the United States Senate under the provisions of the Twelfth Amendment.”
Campaigning with the slogan “Rumpsey Dumpsey, Rumpsey Dumpsey, Colonel Johnson killed Tecumseh”, Johnson fell just short of the electoral votes needed to secure his election when Virginia’s delegation to the electoral college bucked the vote of their state and refused to cast their votes for Johnson. He was elected to the office by the Senate along sharp party lines. Johnson proved such a liability for the Democrats in the 1836 election that the party refused to renominate him for vice-president in 1840. Instead, Van Buren campaigned with no running mate, and lost the election to William Henry Harrison.
I don’t know if the “powerful leader” meaning of the name Richard has much political validity in the United States. Admittedly this is a small sample but we can add two more Richard’s. Richard John Santorum and James Richard Perry. Did you notice the shift from Republican Dick’s to Republican Rick’s. I did.
I have some advice for the Ricks. Six US Presidents were named James and I think it might help Rick Perry to go back to his given name of James. He obviously needs all the help he can get. Santorum might want to consider using his middle name. Four US Presidents have been named John. Just a thought from them to ponder.
But then, what’s in a name. Who would’ve thought Barack Husein Obama would be President just based on the name. Now there’s a “powerful leader.”