With presidential candidate Mike Huckabee apparently on the rise, it’s time to consider how headline writers will attempt plays on words and other tricks based on his surname. The Drudge Report is already on to this, as seen here. The only thing missing is an exclamation mark: "Huckaboom!" As silly as this is, at least Drudge didn’t refer to the movie “I Heart Huckabees” in this headline. That’s been done.
Drudge, the New York tabloids and others like to use first names for some politicians, shortening those when necessary. This headline in The New York Post is an example. And of course, nastier nicknames are handy for headlines on op-ed pieces and snark-infested blogs. “Slick Willie” and “Shrub” come to mind. (Related posts here and here.)
Huckabee’s name is too long for stingy headline counts on the pages of The New York Post, so he’ll need a nickname to get copy editors through eight years of his administration. After all, they can only use “prez” so often.
Here are some options, with pros and cons for each:
UPSIDE: Contraction looks vaguely hip, possibly appealing to younger readers. Who could resist “H’bee/blasts/Iran”?
DOWNSIDE: Conjures images of Applebee’s restaurant.
UPSIDE: Adding “the” eliminates possible confusion with the football abbreviation for halfback and gives the appearance of “the one and only.” (Example: The Ohio State University.)
DOWNSIDE: Is anyone really buying the “The” thing?
UPSIDE: If it works for Mayor Bloomberg, why not for President Huckabee?
DOWNSIDE: Not distinctive. Potential for confusion with references to microphones. (Related post.)
UPSIDE: Concise. Reference to Twain may appeal to literary types. Can fit anywhere “Bush” was, allowing for easy recycling of headlines. (“Bush pushes/budget plan” from 2001 becomes “Huck pushes/budget plan” in 2009.)
DOWNSIDE: Increased chance for accidental profanity in big type: “H” and “F” are pretty close on the keyboard.