Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Obama To Use Full Name

What's in a (middle) name?

Every time they bashed him for his middle name, I heard the oath of office in my head: "Yeah, I'll Hussein you -- 'I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear.'"

Now it's official:
Q: “Do you anticipate being sworn in as Barack Obama or Barack Hussein Obama?"

A: “I think the tradition is that they use all three names, and I will follow the tradition, not trying to make a statement one way or the other. I'll do what everybody else does.”

Politico gets into micro-detail; Carter and Reagan didn't use middle names and LBJ didn't use his name at all--granted, that was kind of a stressful situation. But they miss that Truman actually corrected the Chief Justice at his own hasty inauguration; the judge called him "Harry Shippe Truman" but the middle-nameless Harry said "Harry S. Truman." (Apparently he used the period in his signature.)

My favorite presidential oath of all time was on an old M*A*S*H episode. (Spoiler alert, as if you haven't seen every old M*A*S*H rerun a thousand times.) A broken-hearted Klinger had briefly abandoned his discharge schemes and instead marched straight to Colonel Potter and demanded to re-enlist for six more years. Career-military Potter and draftee Hawkeye argue about the Army as a career:
Colonel Potter: The Army allows you to see the world.
Hawkeye: A scenic tour of the world's battlefields.
Colonel Potter: The Army provides a home.
Hawkeye: Where even the buffalo wouldn't roam.

After Potter gets Hawkeye to admit the Army wasn't all bad, he goes into his avunlcular Sherm mode and lets Hawkeye in on the gag: Potter, knowing Klinger would change his mind, had administered not the Army oath... but the Presidential oath.

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