A politician’s name — especially one that makes a witty nickname — can have a disproportionate effect on their legacy and reputation. It’s not vacuousness; our brains are wired to recall rhyme and humor more readily than a politician’s actual legacy.
If a elected representative’s name lends itself to a rhyming pun, an ironic distortion or a catchy insult, they’ll primarily be remembered for the event that coined the nickname.
Although well-known for being the first female British prime minister and her long and formidable tenure in office, Margaret Thatcher is often remembered for something she did before any of this even happened, during her former role as education minister. She revoked free milk for school kids, the perceived measly meanness characterized by the rhyme: “Thatcher, Thatcher, milk snatcher!” Former US president Lyndon B Johnson suffered similar death by nomenclature. Americans’ habit of referring to their presidents by their initials led to a catchy takedown of Johnson’s Vietnam war policy: “Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?”
Some politicians change their name to make them more palatable to the electorate. Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk anglicized the pronunciation of her surname (these days it’s pronounced “pala-shay”) for similar reasons to US vice-president Spiro Agnew, who changed his name from Spiro Theodore Anagnostopoulos.
Want to know more about politicians’ names? Click through to this article at ABCNews to find out much more!