Know The Nicknames 

January 1st, 2016 | R. Rados 


It might serve you to know some of North America's important political nicknames. To save yourself from ever saying something dumb like, "Of course, leave it to a Texas hillbilly to name his son Jeb", here are some personal nicknames and terms you'll find in Ottawa and Washington. They might help you in your future political conversations and debates. 

American Nicknames

The Gipper: Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan was an actor before he was a president. One of his most well known roles was as George Gipp, in the film Knute Rockne All American. Even today, most Republicans and pundits will affectionately refer to Ronald Reagan as The Gipper.

Jeb: John Ellis Bush

Jeb is an acronym for John Ellis Bush. JEB is basically Bush's initials. It's likely that you've come across someone rolling their eyes at the sound of his name, not because he's exceptionally obnoxious lately, but because of its hillbilly-esque sound. If this ever happens again, you can correct the person rolling their eyes and inform them that his name is actually John. If you were that person at one point, you can save yourself from sounding like an idiot from this moment forward. Jeb is not John Bush's real name.

Newt Gingrich: Newton Leroy Gingrich

Who the F names their kid Newt?! Nobody. Newt is the shortened version of Newton, which is Newt's real name.

Rand Paul: Randal Paul

Ron Paul was such a brainwashed Randroid that he named his son Rand. Wrong. At one point, many years ago, some Reddit users went on a ridiculing binge based on this false assertion. Their comments and a blog post that originally made the assertion quickly disappeared when floods of Ayn Rand supporters made them aware of Rand Paul's full name. 

GOP, or Grand Old Party: The Republican Party

The Republicans were the anti-slavery party (and still are). In old historic records from 1875, they were first referred to as the "gallant old party" that defeated the Union. The term was later altered to "Grand Old Party" and the acronym was first recorded in 1884. Ever since, the Republicans have been referred to as the GOP. 

Slick Willie: Bill Clinton

Another common and more affectionate name for Bill Clinton was Bubba. It had something to do with him being from Arkansas. The less affectionate name, Slick Willie, came from Bill's talent for being able to slither his way out of sticky situations, like the Lewinski scandal. Although it came back to haunt him and prove him as a liar, most Americans believed Clinton when he said he never had sexual relations with "that woman". It's also important to note – given that the Clinton name is a prominent, aristocratic Southern name – that Clinton was never Bill's real last name. Bill was born William Jefferson Blythe and later took the last name of his stepfather, Roger Clinton.

Killary: Hillary Clinton

This is a play on Hillary's first name and the word kill. It references her time in office as Secretary Of State and the lives that were lost on her watch during the Benghazi incident. 

BHO: Barack Hussein Obama

Most prominently used on social media, BHO or "Bo" is a reference to Barack Obama. During the 2012 election, Obama was also referred to as Showbama.

POTUS: President Of The United States

Another acronym commonly used in media, along with SCOTUS (Supreme Court) and FLOTUS (First Lady).

Rahmbo: Rahm Emanual

When you see the H, you should know they aren't talking about Sylvester Stallone. They're talking about Obama's former chief of staff and current mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanual. 

The Governator: Arnold Schwartzenegger

This nickname comes from Arnold's years as governor of California and his Hollywood role as The Terminator.

Canadian Nicknames

The Grits: The Liberal Party

The nickname comes from the "Clear Grits", which was the name given to members of the Reform Movement in the 1800s. This dates back to the colonist era, before Canadians were Canadians. It was said that the Reform Movement wanted people who were "all sand and no dirt" and who were "clear grit all the way through". The Reform Movement later merged into the Liberal Party.

Tories: The Conservative Party

Toryism is a form of British loyalism that dates back centuries. Although the new Conservative Party is a merger between Progressive Conservatives and the Canadian Alliance (Reform Party), the party still emphasizes royal traditions and maintains a strong bond to Canada's status as a constitutional monarchy. This bond is what partially gives Conservatives their rank as "conservatives". The party also borrows from American conservatism and the ideas of small government, free markets and social tradition. The former Progressive Conservative Party also carried the Tory nickname. 

Dippers: New Democrats

This nickname has contentious roots. Some say it is a slurred and shortened form for "NDPers". Others say it refers to the party's social democratic principles and their history of "dipping" into the pockets of taxpayers to achieve their idealistic social goals. Both sound fair and the term "dipper" is becoming more popular in Alberta for the latter reason. With several new taxes and increases in spending, the Alberta NDP have lived up to their reputation for "dipping". 

The Deef: John Diefenbaker

John Diefenbaker was Canada's 13th Prime Minister and served from 1957 to 1963. He appointed the first female cabinet minister and his government gave Aboriginals the right to vote. He was a Progressive Conservative and Deef is a less commonly used nickname as a shortened version of his last name.

Trudont: Justin Trudeau

A more recent play on Justin Trudeau's name used mostly by his opponents, along with Trudumb.