In honor of Mitt Romney’s VP pick of Paul Ryan – which has spawned a whole new wave of bumper sticker proposals – I’d like to take a moment to examine and rank some of the awful, stupid nicknames for candidates and parties currently making the rounds.
A caveat: I’ll probably miss some. As a fan of serious discourse, despite my biases, I’ve never felt the need to attack someone with a pun. But there are plenty of people who will, and they appear on message boards everywhere. Now, to the list!
(Note: Scores are HIGHER for shrillness, stupidity, and childishness. Cleverness and appropriateness will depress the score.)
Gekko/Galt – This is a bumper sticker for Romney/Ryan proposed by Paul Krugman. I think this works especially well in light of Bioshock, whose Galtian antagonist shared the last name Ryan. 3/10
Vulture/Voucher – Also Romney/Ryan. Policy oriented, referring to Romney’s tenure at Bain and Ryan’s Medicare voucher plan. Way too thinky for most message board denizens. 2/10
rMoney – An anagram of ‘Romney,’ both emphasizing Mitt’s out-of-touch reputation and the fact that Democrats like word games. 5/10
Nobama – A simple expression of a simple desire from Republicans. 7/10
Odumbo – This one kind of makes me mad, because 1) it’s part of a trend of Republicans implying that their policies are the policies of the intelligent without ever giving justification for it 2) it insults the President without criticizing any actual policy or action he’s advocated and 3) it almost always comes from some idiot whose economic plan involves rounding up all the brown-skin folks and putting them on cattle cars back to Mexico. Dumbo, indeed. 10/10
Obomba – This one, on the other hand, made me laugh. It’s a reference to increased drone strikes and a willingness to get involved in Libya. Used by both the right and the anti-war left, this one is at least specifically targeting something controversial the president has done. 4/10
Omama – I’m not sure this is a real one; I found it trolling for these on theblaze.com. Appears to be sexist as well, since it implies that Barack Obama “throws like a girl”. 6/10 (DISCLAIMER: Do not go to theblaze. It makes my brain hurt.)
Obamanation – Extra points for being a multisyllabic words and also referencing “abomination” and “Obama nation” in one word. Extra points deducted, obviously. 4/10
Ocrapa – Another theblaze one. Not even a pun. 10/10
O.B.A.M.A. – One Big Ass Mistake America. Well, it’s an acrostic, so it’s more advanced than most of the other stuff on this list. On the other hand, it had to shoehorn profanity in there, and is also pretty vague on what it’s trying to say beyond a haunting suspicion that most Americans are stupid. 5/10
This one is pretty much full of conspiracy theorists.
Piglosi – Cool, guys. Convince me you aren’t sexist by making your criticisms of Pelosi all about her appearance. 10/10
Chewbacca – This is about Michelle Obama, which makes me really furious. Racist, sexist, and generally hateful. Plus it steals Star Wars for the conservative cause, which doesn’t make a damn lick of sense. 11/10
Republicons – Republicans: the bad guys from Transformers. 5/10
Repugnicans – One of the better portmanteaus on the party line. Repugnant policies from the Republicans. 3/10
Conservatrolls – Usually confined to message boards, but overall alludes to a kind of petty meanspiritedness. 5/10
Democraps – Well, that got childish fast. 9/10
Dumbocrats/Dimocrats – Oh, nice. Come on, guys. 9/10
Libtards/Libturds – Really? Scatology and vague implications that we’re stupid? And you have to bring in developmentally disabled kids, too? Not cool, conservatives. 9/10
Well, that was enlightening. For a pun to work, it has to be pithy and resonate with your audience. From what I can tell, the only things that resonate with conservative commentators are telling themselves that liberals must be dumb and ugly, and how smart they themselves are. Oh, I guess we stink, too.
On the other hand, liberal puns tend to be culturally allusive – we may be a bit self-congratulatory on how cool we are. On the other hand, at least we don’t go around calling our political opponents Republipoops.