“Auditor McCaskill. ”
That’s what Matt Blunt kept calling his Missouri gubernatorial opponent, Claire McCaskill, on Charlie Brennan’s KMOX show Friday morning.
Yes, she’s the State Auditor, and he’s the Secretary of State. But I’d never heard “auditor” used as a title that way before. Other office titles are commonly used in this manner — President Bush, Governor Holden, Senator Bond, Mayor Slay — but Auditor McCaskill? Can you just take someone’s job title and stick it in front of their name when you’re referring to them?
It works for some professions — Doctor Smith, Professor Jones, General Franks, Special Agent Thompson — but not for all of them. I don’t call my lawyer Attorney Sherman, and I don’t want him calling me Broadcaster Harris.
Oh, hello, Carpenter Jenkins! Have you seen Plumber Tompkins? If you do, have him get in touch with Store Manager Giovanelli, who’s in a meeting with IT Specialist Fanning.
So why does Blunt do it? It has nothing to do with her qualifications, or his. It has nothing to do with any issue that makes any difference to the people of Missouri. It’s gotta be purely psychological.
There is no doubt some research indicating that “auditor” has a negative connotation with voters. It probably reminds them of the IRS, which was recently named, once again this year, America’s Most Despised Agency — just ahead of the Department Of Major Construction On Whichever Road You’ll Be Taking Today.
By constantly preceding her name with “auditor,” rather than referring to her simply as Mrs. McCaskill, Mr. Blunt surely hopes to subconsciously sway public opinion against her. Maybe this sort of thing does work with undecided voters. I don’t know.
But in a world filled with ugly negative campaigning and attack ads by both sides, it’s best for the voters to remember the horrible word that describes both of these candidates: “Politician.”