Jack Tame: Only the Potus can pick a name

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We know that Trump has pivoted towards the election. Photo / AP
We know that Trump has pivoted towards the election. Photo / AP

You can't give yourself a nickname. It's simple: one of life's defining rules. I tried it once but "Big Jack" never caught on. My friends call me "Saddle Bags" instead. My dad reckons he once knew a guy who answered only to "Turd" and though I can't say for certain, I'm guessing Turd didn't offer that up himself.

Still, better to be labelled by your friends than to be nicknamed by Donald Trump. His steady teasing of his Republican opponents has served to belittle seasoned politicians more than any policy debate possibly could.

"Low Energy" Jeb came to define Jeb Bush's campaign. "Little Marco" proved prophetic as Rubio's campaign withered and died, and "Lyin' Ted Cruz" sounds like a character in a 1950s western.

Still, Cruz will be happier with his Trump moniker than with the nickname bestowed on him by fellow Republican John Boehner. We've all seen politicians get nasty but Boehner's description of Cruz as "Lucifer in the flesh" should be considered from the perspective of Cruz's core support group.

Among evangelical Christians it doesn't get worse than Satan himself.

We know that Trump has pivoted towards the election. Not just because he's making foreign policy speeches or reading from autocues but because Hillary Clinton has a freshly issued Trumpian nickname. Get used to "Crooked Hillary" because we're likely to hear it for the next six months.

And only once the election has past, might we next hit an exception. For along with the nuclear codes and the world's best Rolodex, Presidents of the United States enjoy a unique human privilege. They choose their own nickname.

Each President and his or her family members are issued a codename, used by the Secret Service when discussing a high-value political mark.

Barack Obama is "Renegade", Bill Clinton is "Eagle" and Ronald Reagan was "Rawhide". And the decision is critical: is it any wonder that George W. Bush had such a tough time in office, given he began his political career as "Tumbler"? Maybe Saddle Bags isn't so bad.

- Herald on Sunday

Jack Tame is on Newstalk ZB Saturdays, 9am-noon.

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