At the Republican debate last night the most entertaining question came at the very end: what would your secret service code name be? And the presidential candidates’ answers are as follows:
Chris Christie — True Heart
John Kasich — Unit 1
Carly Fiorina — Secretariat
Scott Walker — Harley
Jeb Bush — Ever-Ready
Donald Trump — Humble
Ben Carson — One Nation
Ted Cruz — Cohiba (a cigar brand)
Marco Rubio — Gator
Mike Huckabee — Duck Hunter
Rand Paul — Justice Never Sleeps
It was a cute question to end the debate, but unfortunately most of the candidates wasted their answers with attempts at lame political advertising. Fiorina, Walker, Cruz, and Rubio understood that the point of a code name is to be a succinct word in the form of a noun, choosing “Secretariat”, “Harley”, “Cohiba”, and “Gator”, respectively. These four answers are darling and appropriate for actual code names.
The other candidates’ choices did not follow the general rules of code naming, so let’s do some amateur, psychological analysis of them.
Christie chose “True Heart” as a marketing ploy to convince voters that he is not the bully he routinely comes across as in town hall meetings and media appearances. Meanwhile, Christie’s threat that he was ready to go “nuclear” at the debate if he did not get enough time to speak seems off-message from this personal narrative of being a candidate who just cares too much. On a side note, as the only candidate sitting during the debate, he posturally seemed the least likely to go anywhere, let alone nuclear. Conclusion: Christie’s campaign is somehow both self-conscious of his public image as a bully, and oblivious to his personality as a bully.
Kasich went with “Unit 1”, which to his credit is a code name, albeit not a very good one. He gets extra credit for tying the nickname to his wife, who apparently told him that he’d always be “Unit 2”. Conclusion: Kasich is a professional, establishment politician who has out-lived his epoch of sensible Republican politics.
Jeb Bush called himself “Ever-Ready” as another lame attempt, in a long list of lame attempts, to brand himself as an iconic politician. No Secret Service code name would ever be such a brazen self-promotion. However, his bumbling, flip-flopping campaign responses to the question “Should we have gone to war in Iraq?” which is the most obvious question that the brother of President George W. Bush would be asked, suggest that Bush is not ever-ready. Conclusion: Bush’s early fundraising strength has given him a false perception of his own abilities to actually campaign.
Donald Trump predictably gave himself the code name “Humble” in a narcissistic nod to his narcissism. Conclusion: Trump has an unnecessarily dominating ego complex regarding his personal, inherited wealth, reflecting that, to put it in baseball terminology, Trump was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple.
Ben Carson picked “One Nation” eschewing the obviously awesome code name “Doctor _____”. So many fill-in-the-blank possibilities! He could have gone with “Doctor Chief” in reference to his wanted position of Commander-in-Chief; he could have picked “Doctor Pain” in reference to how he would destroy America’s enemies if he were elected; or he could have simply chosen “Doctor America” and instantly branded himself as an American superhero. What a wasted opportunity! Conclusion: Carson is boring, and his famous smearing of President Obama as a bad, uninspiring leader will be hypocritical if Carson is elected president himself.
Mike Huckabee chose “Duck Hunter.” …Duck Hunter. Because while standing on a nationally televised soapbox in his campaign to be elected president, the one thing Huckabee really wants everyone to know is that he hunts ducks. Conclusion: Huckabee has a delusional, narrow perspective of America’s religious and cultural diversity, and his persecution complex makes him paranoid that the white, fundamentalist, duck-hunting, grit-eating minority of Americans with whom he thinks he exclusively belongs is under attack by an actually apathetic majority of people, who are themselves actually regularly attacked by Huckabee’s white, fundamentalist, privileged minority.
Rand Paul saved the worst code name for last with “Justice Never Sleeps”. Way too long, this code name lacks any aesthetically individualized personality, and does not actually refer to Rand Paul. Conclusion: Rand Paul, to his low-polling credit, is running a campaign based on issues and legitimate governmental concerns beyond the, at this point, cliché and token insults of Barack Obama and purported Co-President Hillary Clinton.