Jewish World Review Feb. 6, 2003 / 4 Adar I, 5763
What's in a President's Name?
The name is the game and the game is the name:
Has Elvis Presley achieved such immortality because "Elvis lives" is an anagram of itself?
- H. Rider was Haggard, but Thomas was Hardy.
- Oscar was Wilde, but Thornton was Wilder.
- Dame May was Whitty, but John Greenleaf was Whittier.
Let's have some fun with the names of our latest candidates, which both happen to be four-letter words:
Al Gore's name spoonerized is "galore," which turns out to be a clever Al Gore rhythm. Anagram Gore's last name, and you come up with the palindrome "Ergo ogre." Republicans experienced Al Gore-aphobia, but Bush whacked the opposition.
George Bush's name anagrammed becomes "He bugs Gore." At the end of the campaign. Gore was bushed but Bush was not gored.
In Roman times, when a candidate for office went to the Forum, he wore a bleached white toga, to symbolize his humility, purity of motive and candor. The original Latin root, "candidatus," meant "one who wears white," from the belief that white was the color of purity. There was wishful (and wistful) thinking even in ancient Roman politics, even though a white-clad "candidatus" was accompanied by followers who bribed and bargained to gain votes for the candidate.
What's in a president's name? Plenty, when you start anagramming the monikers of our twentieth-century chief executives. Some anagrams work better grammatically than others; some are more appropriate to the particular president:
||LOVED HORSE; TREE, TOO
|William Howard Taft
||A WORD WITH ALL: I'M FAT
||O LORD, SO NOW WWI
|Warren Gamaliel Harding
||REAL WINNER? HIM A LAGGARD
||LOVE? A COLD ICING
|Herbert Clark Hoover
||O, HARK, CLEVER BROTHER
|Franklin Delano Roosevelt
||ELEANOR, KIN, LAST FOND LOVER
|Harry S Truman
||RASH ARMY RUNT
|Dwight David Eisenhower
||HE DID VIEW THE WAR DOINGS
|John Fitzgerald Kennedy
||ZING! JOY DARKEN, THEN FLED
|Lyndon Baines Johnson
||NO NINNY, HE'S ON JOB LADS
|Richard Milhous Nixon
||HUSH -- NIX CRIMINAL ODOR!
|Gerald Rudolph Ford
||A RUDER LORD; GOLF PH.D
|James Earl Carter
||A RARE, CALM JESTER
||HUGS REB EGO
|William Jefferson Clinton
||JILTS NICE WOMEN; IN FOR FALL
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JWR contributor Richard Lederer is a language maven. More than a million of his books, which have been Book-of-the-Month Club and Literary Guild alternate selections, are in print. He is the host of "A Way With Words," on KPBS, San Diego Public Radio, and a regular guest on weekend "All Things Considered." He was awarded the Golden Gavel for 2002 by Toastmasters International. Comment by clicking here.
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© 2003, Richard Lederer