Code names don’t tell real story

By Kevin Wilson: Freedom New Mexico columnist

Sanity is why I want to be in the White House.

Monday afternoon, I found out the Secret Service has tagged the family of President-elect Barack Obama with codenames, all beginning with “R.”

I don’t think I particularly like Barack Obama’s actual codename of “Renegade.” If you take out the obvious issue of race, I don’t see what’s so renegade about a presidential candidate who went to Harvard and Princeton, then ran for the Illinois Legislature and the U.S. Senate. But then again, maybe he’s a financial renegade, the kind who just spent $250 million to get a job that would pay him $2 million if he keeps it for eight years.

The three other Rs, by the way, are Renaissance (Michelle Obama), Radiance (Malia Obama) and Rosebud (Sasha Obama).

Personally, I would have called Michelle Obama “Reminder.” When her campaigning husband said, “We will be celebrating our 15th anniversary next week and she just about has me trained,” she issued a one-word press release: “16th.”

And other “R” words have been suggested. Maybe Media Research Center president Brent Bozell wanted to call Barack “Redistributor,” arguing he was the most liberal senator and he wanted socialism. Or maybe he’d pick “Reaganite,” since that’s what Bozell called Obama one week later, after concluding Obama won by running as a conservative.

And what of other codenames over the years?

• John McCain is “Phoenix,” because they’re both in Arizona. Boring; he deserves better. I’d say “Maverick,” which is what he and others call him … but true mavericks don’t do what everybody expects. They’d do the exact opposite, so I say he would have been “Predictable” President McCain.

• Sarah Palin is “Denali.” No complaints with that, since it’s the summit of North America and the name given to the pipeline in Alaska. Still, I’d go with “Tina Fey.”

• President Bush is “Tumbler.” That name goes back to when his father was the president. And I now think the most questionable decision of the Bush administration is not demanding the leader of the free world be referred to as something other than “Tumbler.”

• Jean Mondale, the wife of 1984 Democratic candidate Walter Mondale, was nicknamed “Cameo.” I love this nickname, because even the Secret Service knew the Mondales weren’t going to be there very long.

I’d want a codename that sounds amusing to communicate. That’s what comedian Eugene Mirman did when his bank let him pick his own telephone security question. Now, he says, they have to ask him, “What are you wearing?” and he has to answer, “I don’t think that’s appropriate.”

That leads me to Sanity. That’s what I want if I’m ever given a Secret Service codename. That way, the radio traffic would always be, “Sanity has left the building,” or “Sanity has arrived.”

Maybe media critics wouldn’t feel the same way about me in public service. But if the guys with suits and guns call me that, I’d say I’ve lived a pretty full life.

Kevin Wilson is a columnist for Freedom New Mexico. He can be contacted at 763-3431, or by e-mail: