We will shortly be inaugurating a President with three “funny-sounding” names (depending on where you’re from, and what you find funny.) Barack Hussein Obama. So what?
Well… None of those three names have ever been monikers applied to a sitting president. Trivia question: When was the last time a U.S. President brought not one, not two, but THREE brand new names to the office?
In 2001 George W. Bush brought ZERO new names to the office (George is an old one, and Walker and Bush were both done by W’s dad.)
In 1993 William Jefferson Clinton brought one new name to the office.
In 1989 George H. W. Bush brought two new names to the office – Walker and Bush.
In 1981 Ronald Wilson Reagan brought two – Wilson is the repeat.
In 1977 James Earl Carter brought two – James is the repeat.
In 1974 Gerald Rudolph Ford brought three new names. Woo-hoo! But we never got to vote for him. I declare that this doesn’t count.
In 1969 Richard Milhaus Nixon brought three new names… okay, we elected him. Yes, yes we did. So it’s been FORTY YEARS*.
A statistical analysis of name re-use frequency among U.S. Presidents might be interesting. What would be REALLY interesting would be if it predicted anything useful. Or anything more useful than “statisticians can predict anything once it has happened.”
(*Note: I could be wrong about “Richard” never showing up as a Presidential middle name. My cursory search did not reveal it. I know those guys by first and last names only, just like everybody else who studied U.S. Presidents in grade-school.)