There’s a scene in one of my favorite movies of all time (and book for that matter), The Right Stuff, in which the editor of Life magazine was preparing a feature story on the Mercury 7 astronauts. The editor recites the by-lines, and one was “by Virgil I. Grissom.” Grissom corrected the editor by saying “everybody calls me Gus.” The editor, perplexed, looked up and said, “an astronaut named Gus?”

Turns out that editor must have had several grandchildren, because we’re reading more and more in the MSM about how Fred Thompson could be crippled by his name. The Washington Post had a story yesterday on the name “Fred.” It’s being made to seem that Thompson’s biggest hurdle (once he announces his candidacy) will not be political, but rather social.

The author, after going into varying geographical enunciations of “Fred” that would be called racist if Thompson and the cited drawl weren’t white, notes that there has never been a president named “Fred.”

I’ve heard this being pointed out before on numerous occasions. “There’s never been a president named Fred” — as if that alone ruins Thompson’s chances.

I must have really been sleeping in history class back in high school, because I don’t remember reading about presidents named Hillary, Mitt, Barack and Rudy.

I personally like the name Fred, and I think anybody who doesn’t work in big media and/or is an ivory tower snoot does as well. I don’t think I’ve ever met a Fred I didn’t like. Fred helps you haul firewood. Fred drinks beer and talks about football. Fred knows how to grill steaks. Fred drives with his hunting dogs to the grocery store. This particular Fred just happens to have lots of money, is bright and has a hot wife. The needle on the MSM’s “Fred-meter” goes berserk with this Fred.

The name Gus didn’t stop Grissom from becoming an astronaut, and the name Fred won’t hurt Thompson’s chances either, no matter how hick-ish it might sound to Muffy and Chaz out on the Vineyard or to writers for the Washington Post.

This particular columnist coincidentally shares the same first name with a famous temporary resident of the White House, so if we’re to judge based upon first names, she can expect a phone call from Bubba if Hillary wins.


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