Roberts Nickname Contest!
What belittling nickname will President Bush give his new Supreme Court nominee?
Of the many trials facing Supreme Court nominee John Roberts Jr., perhaps none is as daunting as the ritual humiliation of receiving a nickname from President Bush. The president's penchant for foisting belittling monikers on people is one of his least attractive personal traits. It may be a lifelong habit, but now that he's president, it sends a very particular message: "I will call you [Turd Blossom, Tangent Man, Lima Green Bean, whatever ] and you will call me Mr. President." Not since Lyndon Johnson have we had a president who so relished making people feel small. And we're all supposed to pretend that it's endearing!
Roberts may think that, as a Supreme Court nominee, he is too exalted to be subjected to this ring-kissing exercise. But the man no one dare call "Dubya" to his face didn't hesitate to nickname no less than Russian President Vladimir Putin "Pootie-Poot." Does Roberts really think Bush is going to exempt a mere jurist? He will not.
But what will Bush call him? This matter is too grave to leave to chance. Rather than wait for a nickname to emerge, I invite readers to submit possible nicknames. I will cull the best and present the chief executive with a list to choose from. For all I know, Bush already has a guy who does this for him. If so, let's bring the process out into the sunlight.
Please submit entries to email@example.com, with "nickname" in the subject line.
[Update, 7/26, 7:20 a.m.: The contest is now closed. Do not submit further entries. Repeat: Do not submit further entries. The winners will be announced shortly.]
Timothy Noah is a former Slate staffer. His book about income inequality is The Great Divergence.
Photograph of John Roberts and President Bush by Mandel Ngan/Agence France Presse.