THE BLOG

Why Mitt Doesn't Fit

06/18/2007 04:53 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Let me explain something to those who don't live in Chicago, Illinois, with its history and bureaucracy and politics and "largest population of Polish people outside of Warsaw, Poland."

On the first Monday in March of every year, Chicago school children are allowed to stay home and learn nothing and state employees are given the day off to do whatever state employees do on their days off (not move slowly, not scowl, not itch their heads with pencils) while the rest of us enjoy less congested expressways, trains and buses.

The reason? Why, it's Pulaski Day, of course.

Casimir Pulaski? The Revolutionary War officer born in Poland who died at the Siege of Savannah in 1779? You've never heard of him?

Neither have many of those school children, but that's not the point. The point is that Pulaski was a Polish hero and a large number of people with Polish ancestry reside in Illinois, especially in Chicago. His name fits with the place, people and social climate and thus, a holiday.

It's like Babe Ruth.

In the 1920's there were several sports figures with infantile nicknames. There was a "Kid," a "Sonny Boy," and a "Honey Boy." But The Babe was the king of them all, the immortal one, because his name fit perfectly with what baseball was at the time...raucous, riotous, in its infancy. He was a huge and hugely talented booze-swilling baby. Fans were unsure whether to applaud him or goochie-goo his double chin.

Which brings us to Mitt. Not the ball glove, the former Governor of Massachusetts conducting a campaign for the Republican nomination for President. Forget that he's largely unknown to the entire country or that he's a bore; the reason the guy will never be President of the United States is because his name is Mitt.

Mitt doesn't fit.

It's too-short-for-something-else or too void of depth. Too blasé and curt. The President of Rawlings, yes. Of the United States, never.

The same goes, and went, for Tom Vilsack, the Democrat and former Governor of Iowa who ended his bid for his party's nomination in February. Say it a couple of times... President Vilsack, President Vilsack...and the only part that resonates is the sack. A sack's a tough sell in any context, it being a fleshy fold or some type of fluid repository, but as president? Please. There's also no way anyone named Rudy will ever be President...it screams "nerd with a gun"...or John Edwards...too blandly familiar, too Love Boat guest star-ish, too fingerprint-free.

What matters about the name of a symbol or figurehead, which the president certainly is, is not only that it fits the office but that it fits the social mood of a particular moment in time. After the reign of a FDR, the country could ease up a bit with a Harry. After Ike we wanted a Jack and a deposed Dick replaced by a Gerry led straight to a Jimmy (whose country-boy Jimmy-ness opened the door to his complete opposite, a Ronald.) After almost eight years of our current deadly-snickering monosyllable-in-chief, I think the country is ready for more than a blunt Mitt.

Ready for a name with layers that connotes depth rather that one that feels like an in-joke.

Maybe like a Barack.