Supercommittee: A name doomed to fail.
Did anyone else wince when they first gave the Supercommittee its name? What an incredibly inept choice. In the realm of organizational titles, it may be the most tin-eared naming decision in recent memory. As a writer who works on creating brand names for clients, I’d like to offer Congress some advice. And some options.
Leave “Super” out of it. Dear Congress, have you seen your latest polling data? One poll had you at a Berlusconi-esque 9% approval rating. Are you Superficial? Yes. Supercilious? Absolutely. Beyond that, leave super out of it.
Managing expectations. Guys, when your brand reputation is in the chemical toilet, it’s not the time to make promises about your capabilities. The name “Supercommittee” in effect says to the public, “Wait. You’ve got us all wrong. And we’re going to prove it this time.” The subsequent thud we all heard was Charlie Brown’s brain stem hitting the dirt and Lucy, you have a massive amount of explaining to do.
“Committees” are where useful time goes to die. Committee-level work is necessary, even critical. But it’s also synonymous with pettiness, polemics, and meetings so stultifying that one should not operate heavy machinery afterwards. Congress, we recognize you have lots of committees. It’s one of the things we hate about you. Don’t remind us.
And please, God, not another Blue Ribbon Commission. Is there a more self-congratulatory name than the Blue Ribbon Commission? It speaks adoringly of the elite pedigrees of the hand-selected participants, each of which brings deep wisdom and visionary problem-solving skills to the table. Name the last BRC to do anything important and I’ll personally bake you a pie.
The options box. Enough with the criticism. It’s time to consider a more creative and contemporary approach to the issue. Instead of “The Supercommittee,” how about:
• Response Team Charlie Foxtrot. It has a serious, military sound to it. It also has legs. For example, it could be the title of a reality TV show based on the lives of powerful Congressional members. We could tune in to witness them wielding gavels, bloviating, and molesting interns.
• The Vitalis Brigade. There’s still a lot of hair tonic in politics. It didn’t go away with Donald “Bay Rum” Rumsfeld. We should embrace the tradition of white men who use bad hair products and give the old guard a retro identity they can build on. If a product as bad as Old Spice can do it, so can Congress. Maybe.
• Club PoopyPants. Polls indicate a plurality of Americans perceive Congress as a group of dysfunctional, infantile egomaniacs incapable of finding their own fannies with two hands and a flashlight. Why not give the committee the name we use to describe obstinate, grumpy, ill-tempered children who act like they just fudged their undies?
Looking at my options, I don’t really like any of them. But if anyone agrees with me that our elected leaders should demonstrate more aptitude with the language of leadership, I’ll chair the committee that takes the matter under advisement.