Bill Burton and Sean Sweeney had both worked as senior staff members in the Obama White House. But they discovered their experience was of little help when they needed to name their pro-Obama Super PAC:
It took several weeks for Burton and Sweeney to come up with a name for their start-up. To their irritation, every slogan [sic] they considered had already been trademarked by Republicans. “We gave our lawyer 10 more names,” Burton recalls. “Then like 50. We’re literally trying every combination of whatever. You can’t come up with a name that has the word ‘future’ in it that the Republicans don’t control. Romney’s Restore Our Future — that doesn’t even make sense, and that’s probably why they were able to get it.” – “Can the Democrats Catch Up in the Super-PAC Game?” by Robert Draper (New York Times Magazine, July 8, 2012).
Burton and Sweeney ended up calling their Super PAC Priorities USA Action.
Here’s a little perspective. To a professional naming consultant, “several weeks” is a remarkably short time to develop and clear an available name, and 60 or so names is a very modest number. And the competition—only 539 names so far—isn’t very impressive. (Try naming a wine and you’ll see what a really daunting competitive set looks like.)
In his Daily Dish blog, Andrew Sullivan highlighted some of the more risible names on the list of registered Super PACs, including:
AMERICA’S SUPER PAC FOR THE PERMANENT ELIMINATION OF AMERICA'S SUPER PACS
BEARS FOR A BEARABLE TOMORROW
JOE SIX PAC
TALKIN’ SMACK PAC
SLAM DUNKS, FIREWORKS AND EAGLES SUPER PAC
PATRIOTIC AMERICANS FOR A MORE PATRIOTIC AND AMERICAN AMERICA
I’m not thrilled with the whole Super PAC business, which was spawned by the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision. But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t relish naming a Super PAC that had its, um, priorities straight.
UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan’s readers suggest some new names for PACs. I love “We Were Promised JetPACs.”