If a person’s name has anything to do with it, Mitt Romney may have an uphill battle in his bid for the presidency. Most of our presidents have had fairly common first names. Most of them have gone by their first name or a derivative of that name. A few have gone by nicknames.
Alphabetically, we’ve had one Abraham, two Andrews, one Benjamin, one Calvin, one Chester, one Dwight, two Franklins, three Georges, one Grover (twice), one Harry, one Herbert, six Jameses, four Johns, one Lyndon, one Martin, one Millard, one Richard, one Ronald, one Rutherford, one Theodore, one Thomas, one Ulysses, one Warren, four Williams, one Woodrow, and one Zachary.
Not all of these are common names; however, almost all of them have been shared with at least a small percentage of contemporaries. Lyndon, Millard, Rutherford, and Woodrow are quite uncommon, but are not totally obscure. Ulysses, of course, is an historic name.
But Mitt? Who else out there is named Mitt? What the heck were George and Lenore Romney thinking when they gave their son the middle name of Mitt? By the way, Mitt’s first name is Willard. According to Wikipedia, the Romneys chose the name Willard in honor of their close friend, hotel magnate J. Willard Marriott. The middle name of Mitt was apparently in honor of Milton Romney, “a relative who played football for the Chicago Bears.” Mitt was Milton’s nickname.
Usually there is little problem with giving your kid a strange middle name. Heck, most people in your child’s life will never know his/her middle name. But what happens when you decide to use that middle name as your child’s moniker? Both my mother and my mother-in-law have been called by their middle names since birth. I have no idea why their families did that, but their middle names are quite common.
I can see how it happens, though. It’s cute to call your little tyke by a cute name. I have a brother that has been called by his first and middle initials since he was about three months old. But what happens when your child grows up? In some cases they can move beyond the cute name to something more mature. In other cases, the cute name actually works.
But Mitt? Man, that sounds strange. President Mitt? Yeah, it sounds weird. Just imagine what a heyday the political cartoonists would have with that.
All of this is written tongue in cheek. A person’s name has very little to do with that person’s qualifications for political office. However, in the real world of political elections, a candidate’s name provides a certain level of ‘curb appeal’ to the average voter. It will be interesting to see how this impacts Mr. Romney’s candidacy.
And if Romney wins and ends up being rather popular, will that spawn a generation of parents naming their sons Mitt?