On Anagrams & Presidents

I remember finding the Internet Anagram Server, some years ago, and (of course) plugging in my own name to check all the possibilities. It’s a good one for anagrams:

  • He no brawl
  • Whale-born
  • Labor hewn
  • Bean whorl
  • No herb law!
  • Blah owner
  • Whole bran
  • Blew a horn
  • Her own lab
  • Ban Howler
  • Brawn hole (whoa, there)
  • Hare blown
  • Nab her owl!
  • La Web Horn
  • He, lawn orb
  • Horn be law

But I was soon to realize that not everyone’s name has so many interesting and (mostly) pleasant possibilities.

I remember at the time trying a co-worker’s name (eager to show off my new discovery: “hey, did you know your name was an anagram for…”), but when the anagrams appeared they wiped the grin right off my face. Here were the first three:

  • Aping Stript
  • Rapping Tits
  • Strapping It

They get worse (Prating spit, Part gin spit & part pig nits, Grist pit nap, Grasp tit pin) and slightly better (Tsar tipping). But mostly worse.

I didn’t say a word.

Anagrams are particularly useful in political discussions, because you can say “did you know even Dubya’s name is an anagram for ‘he urges bog’?” And that proves your point, because damn — an anagram like that demonstrates the universe agrees with you.

Here are a few more “George Bush” anagrams to use for calling into talk shows:

  • Shoe Bugger
  • Beer go gush
  • Be Surge Hog!
  • He bug ogres
  • He grubs ego
  • Gee, go shrub!
  • Be Gore’s “ugh”
  • He bugs Gore (I know, these last two are way out of date…)

Add in the “W” for more, like “Bush wore egg”, or “Bus egg whore” (whatever that means, it doesn’t sound good) or “How beg surge?” and “We go beg Rush”.

But complaining about Bush is old hat by now. How about the up & coming presidential wannabes? How would YOU vote if the only information you had on candidates were the anagrams of their names?

Well, John McCain can’t go far with his meager and low-quality results, completely nonsensical except for perhaps “Jam in conch” (what? uh, wash it out?) and “No cinch; jam”. Sounds like he has a tough time ahead.

Barack Obama is also weak, and skewed by too many A’s, though he does score the multi-culti & musically tasty “Maraca Kabob”, and if he ever leaves politics he might run the “Karma Boa Cab” company.

Mitt Romney starts well, with Minty Metro (obscure, but yes: many US subway systems would benefit from some serious odor management), and the humorous “Not try mime” (that’s for the best, Mitt). He wavers, though, with “memory tint”, which smacks of 1984-style reeducation plans. I prefer the untinted variety, thank you very much (though perhaps memory tint is a failing of many presidents). But wait — more research uncovers serious reasons to wonder if his presidency would be tainted by personal scandal:

  • My men rot it
  • Men or my tit
  • My, I’m rotten! (That’s the clincher: do NOT vote for this candidate!)

John Edwards: much more promising. He engages the question of America’s “war on terror”, if cryptically (but at least he’s touching on the issue), with “Drowns Jehad” (Jehad is an alternate spelling of Jihad). Perhaps drowns Jihad as a concept, in more rational approaches to this conflict? But we’re in anagram land here, so we also get “Jehads drown” — suggesting that he’ll be overwhelmed by terrorist efforts. Analysis: unclear. The engagement with Islam continues, though, with “Hadj wonders”, and even the very interesting “Hadj ends row” (would he personally undertake the Haj pilgrimage to Mecca, as a gesture of affinity to peaceful Muslims?)… but also the more ominous and action-movie-title flavored “Hadj: Red Snow”….. His platform also includes a number of silly comments, such as “Doh!! Jaws nerd!”, but overall: a strong candidate.

Mike Huckabee: Weak and strangely ditsy candidate. He’s ahead of McCain in terms of saying anything at all, but still… the anagrams that make sense tend towards the not-so-distinguished, such as “meek hick beau” and “Eek! I bake much!”. Beyond that, his responses to important platform questions mostly fall along the lines of “um… I bake cheek?” At least we’re getting signal on the line, but it’s mostly static.

Hillary Clinton has a lot to say, and though she’s not terribly good about staying on message, she is still definitely the candidate with class. The cultured, poetic nature of her anagrams make her stand out in a weak field:

  • Lo, Lyrical Ninth (Beethoven, I assume… the Ode to Joy, “Be embraced, Millions!” and so on)
  • In halcyon trill
  • Carillon thinly
  • Charity Inn loll
  • Thy Nil Carillon (kind of like “His Dark Materials”?)
  • Oh, trill cannily (though “canny” may carry some negative connotations beyond “clever”)
  • Ninth Coral Lily

Would she be a softy, though? Well, the poetic references glove an iron fist; she also comes in with the powerful and positive “Lynch Trial Lion” (encouraging prosecution for hate crimes), “Call iron, thinly” (a suggestion that she’s willing to use force, but no hawk), and “Lo, Tyrannic Hill!” (forceful, and either an outspoken critique of the current administration, or an ominous warning about her own… impossible to say). She makes some foreign policy references, with a few headline-like references to China: “China: Trill Only” and “China Trolly: Nil” (“trolly” is an alternate spelling for “trolley”)… perhaps she’s expressing some protectionism here? She rounds out the package with an oblique reference to the energy crisis: “canny oil thrill”. So… is that about clever handling of OPEC? Or is it actually “canny thrill oil”, a tepid-but-kinda-racy personal revelation? Impossible to say at this juncture.

Rudy Giuliani‘s results don’t look at all promising; with anagrams like these, it’s no surprise he’s trailing. They generally convey “I’d screw it up” (the word “ruin” shows up a lot):

  • Gaudily I ruin
  • I aid ugly ruin

Or on the other hand, he shows a weird, often mystic sexuality that isn’t exactly what most people seek in a president:

  • I laid Yin Guru
  • Rigid Yin Luau
  • I, in a lurid guy
  • I, urinal id guy (that’s great, Rudy)

Conclusions: This race is still too early to call, though the Democrats seem to be ahead with strong candidates in Edwards & Clinton. Many questions remain, and hopefully they will be answered through more careful analysis: stay tuned.


  1. Reply
    Lean. White. Anal. 26th January, 2008

    Oooh, clever analysis, Robbiebird! Love it.

    I have to share one of my personal favorites. My friend Arnold Seong used an anagram of his name to find the ultimate AIM screen name–A Nerd Logs On.

    As for my name–I am definitely the first, by most accounts the 2nd (race as a social construct aside), and have at least been accused of the third. More fitting than Alien Ant Whale, at least (I hope?) 😉

  2. Reply
    Dharma 10th October, 2008

    Dear sir.
    I want to know my son and daughter name to be anagrams. Andrew fritz efron & Carla tamariska britannia. Thank you.

  3. Reply
    rob 28th July, 2009

    I just noticed the comment above… you should visit the Internet Anagram Server and play around with it. Often, long names have a LOT of possible anagrams, so you’ll want to try the “Advanced” option to narrow down your search.

    Andrew Fritz Efron –> “Frozen Wren, Adrift” or “War-Frenzied Front” among many others.
    Carla Tamariska Britannia –> “A Librarian’s Catamaran Kit”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.