The laziest presidential article ever

A new Slate article on the presidential names is about the laziest piece of writing I’ve ever seen on presidential history. The author claims that “Barack Hussein Obama” is such an unusual name that it is entirely out of keeping with American history–largely true–and that past presidents and even presidential candidates have all had very ordinary names, which is patently ridiculous.

Full article at

8 thoughts on “The laziest presidential article ever

  1. Of course Hillary Diane is out of the race, but as first ladies go, what about Elizabeth Bloomer Ford, or Lucretia Rudolph Garfield. What about Hannah Hoes Van Buren?
    My $.02 worth, and boy I sure enjoyed reading your post at Tysto, and thanks!
    I’m glad Chastity Bono never ran for office.

  2. Millard Fillmore is a common name?!?!?

    How about “Grover” Cleveland? (Although his name was actually Steven. Grover was his middle name, used as his first name from a young age.)

    “Roosevelt” is not exactly common, although it’s a good Dutch name, and we are so used to it we don’t think much of it anymore.

    Those are the names that come to mind immediately.

  3. The names were not uncommon in this country in their day. Granted they are hardly widely used today. Hmm, come to think of it we do have Grover on Sesame Street and Cleveland on Family Guy, so the names are still in limited use I guess. I’m sure we have names today that won’t be as popular in 120 years or so either. But there are still plenty of Roosevelts running around today. But honestly, in this country today the names Barrak, Hussein, or Obama are hardly common, let alone putting them together. But I can remember an Adlai, an Estes, a Dwight, a Lyndon and an Abraham, just to name a few, being on the ticket as well, and those names were on the tongues of everyone in the country at one time.

  4. I was unaware this site was now being used for political purposes. I am disappointed greatly in being referred to what amounts to a political ad.

    The quoted statement below comes directly from the description, on this site, of what this site is supposed to be about, or just as accurately, not about. Directing visitors or allowing visitors to be directed to a political ad is NOT what I expect from such a terrific site.

    “This Web site is a private, unofficial, online effort to provide a place to explore the history and heritage of the home of the president of the United States of America. It’s not about politics or policy.”

    This site should seriously stay away from political endorsements, or chance losing its uniqueness, and risk runaway political blogs that ruin any enjoyment this site brings or has brought to its visitors. You had the right idea when you started it, stay the course.

  5. This site is indeed not political. But from time to time I link to something president- or WH-related on other sites that may have political content, including my own other site, Tysto.

    And I assure you that if someone wrote a lazy article suggesting that America was not ready for a president named “John McCain,” I’d leap to his defense too.

  6. Hmmm. I must have missed something. I didn’t see political endorsement anywhere. All I saw was a humorous article about names. Duh, I guess, but no matter what anyone says, I still think it’s great!

  7. My disappointment had nothing to do with which candidate was featured. Having no problem with the Tysto article itself, Derek writes quite well, but I still feel it’s an unfortunate turn for this site to take no matter who may have been the subject of, or in fact the author of the article.

    But I seriously can’t see how anyone could miss the Obama endorsement on the Tysto page, with a picture of Obama in the article, certainly not needed to make the point, not to mention the Obama ’08 link on the page. It is clearly an endorsement for that candidate, which is a contradiction to the welcome statement of this site.

    Others who have attempted to include or unknowingly included political comments in the past, or referred to other sites, political in nature, have been quickly reminded of that welcome statement and the policy of this site. These others have been asked to refrain from using such subjects etc. on this site.

    A political endorsement via a link to another site makes this at the least a fringe political site, but a political site none-the-less.

    I’ve liked this site for many, many reasons and one of the main reasons is that it has remained, with this exception, political endorsement free. Seriously, if something’s not broken, why fix it?

  8. I’ve always known Derek to be very controlled with his political views and he’s always let his desire to be non-political well known.

    When I clicked on the link I did notice the Obama endorsement jpeg on the left but I don’t believe the jist of the article goes out of it’s way to express a political message.

    Right now, there is some debate nationally about Obama’s name. That may be why sensitivities towards anything alluding to it make people who enjoy the non-political nature of this site a bit nervous.

    I believe Derek, although he may not agree that he’s waded into the political shark pool in this case, will take this feedback into consideration.

    I appreciate the presidency. President and candidates who’ve had weird names is relevant to the focus of this website. Perhaps the text of the article could have been kept to this blog alone, rather than linking off the WHM site.

    Please give Derek the benefit of the doubt. And thanks for this place Derek.

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