The Obama-Biden Name Game
Did the sound and rhythm made by coupling a prospective running mate’s last name with his own last name factor into Barack Obama’s choice of a running mate?
If you posed it to a novelist to write a novel about an African American running for President of the United States, and asked that he be named Barack Obama, the writer might trifle with the idea just a moment and laugh, before rejecting it.
“Barack O’Bama, maybe?”
The sound of Obama’s name is beautiful to some, and peculiar to others. To prejudiced and other small thinking Americans, “Obama” is not just odd, but “un-American”, as the would be novelist of popular fiction may have seen. It might therefore have occurred to the Obama campaign that posing the name “Obama” with nearly each surname of the other Democrats on his short list for the Vice Presidential nominee created a further awkward sound. All but one of these names linked to “Obama” might have caused the concern that it would create a sort of sound and rhythm that might inspire laughter at best, and derision at worst, and not just amongst the electorate. Elements of the media would not refrain from getting into such a childish name game, thus causing another needless distraction from the issues which should elect America’s next President, and Vice President.
I am supposing, perhaps in my own small mind, what effects “Obama”, matched up with the last names of most of his potential running mates, might have brought from small minds. How would “Obama” look and sound with the name “Sibelius”?, in reference to Kansas governor Kathleen Sibelius, considered by pundits to have been on Obama’s short list.
That might sound like a conspiracy of too many foreigners trying to get control of the United States government. (Except to Americans of Greek or African descent, of course. However, when it comes to name preferences, what could be better than plain old John McCain? It goes with just about everything. And it’s really “American”.)
He was a long shot, but then there was the retired U.S. senator from Georgia, Sam Nunn.
What are they trying to pull on us here?, I can imagine some right wingers thinking, especially those who don’t care for Catholicism.
Another on Obama’s short list was Virginia governor Tim Kaine.
That sounds vaguely threatening, and biblically so. Most “Evangelicals” would spurn that combo.
Then there was U.S. Senator Bayh, of Indiana. I have heard “Bayh” pronounced both as “bye” and as “bah” (as in, “Bah Bah Black Sheep”, as someone would discover, and pass along.)
There’s a joke or too in that. Jay Leno wouldn’t leave it alone.
If not open to racist “humor”, that one might seem a little silly, at least.
However, Obama has made his choice for VP, and it’s a sound choice, too: Joe Biden.
And so we have: Obama Biden.
That sounds okay. Think about it. Maybe the name-phrase is already suggesting to some that Obama is now “biden” his time, as it were. Perhaps. Anyway, Obama Biden sounds “American”. Or at least “half-American”.
And it’s got rhythm.