Now that we are heading squarely into the 2012 campaign — did a hear a collective groan? — I need to unburden myself about one thing that I just hate: when politicians who no longer occupy an office still are addressed by the title they once held.
If you see Sarah Palin being interviewed, you’re likely to hear her addressed as “Governor Palin.” Alan Simpson, once a Senator from Wyoming, still gets called “Senator Simpson.” Why? This is America, where we don’t have hereditary titles. If you occupy an office, of course you should be addressed by the appropriate title. But if you’ve left the job, in my book you’ve left the title, too. It’s like the scene in the John Adams mini-series where Adams, having been defeated in his bid for reelection, boards a common coach and tells the surprised fellow passengers that he is just “Mr. Adams” now. If only the less accomplished members of the modern political class were as willing to assume the role of a mere American citizen again!
So as this campaign season rolls onward, don’t expect to hear me referring to “Governor Romney” or “Governor Pawlenty” or “Governor Huntsman” (or for that matter “Ambassador Huntsman”). In the land of the free, “Mr.” is what they are, and “Mr.” is what they should be called.