What’s in a Name?
by Holly Bailey (reprinted from Newsweek, July 13th, Periscope)
June 13 issue – Ted Jackson is ready. The Kentucky Republican operative who designed and sold President George W. Bush’s official campaign gear in 2004 is already sketching out the bumper stickers, hats and T shirts that will advertise Bush’s nominee for the Supreme Court—whoever that may be. Amid speculation that ailing Chief Justice William Rehnquist may soon retire, Jackson and his company, the Spaulding Group, are laying the groundwork for what will be an unprecedented public campaign in favor of a high-court nominee. Following the model of Bush’s online campaign store, Jackson plans to sell yard signs, buttons and other items once exclusive to political campaigns and use them to promote Bush’s candidate to replace Rehnquist as chief justice. The only difference, Jackson says: instead of vote for or elect, signs will say confirm.
Could a Scalia for chief justice sign pop up in a yard near you? Jackson says there’s already been “considerable demand” for court items from customers who stocked up on Bush memorabilia in 2004. (He plans to sell the goods on the same site: georgewbushstore.com.) “People are a lot more open with their politics than they used to be,” Jackson says. “In this case, they not only want to show their support for President Bush, but they also want to show their support for his agenda and his nominees.” While there is rampant speculation about potential candidates, Jackson says his group hasn’t drawn up any designs with certain individuals in mind—nor has he gotten any hints from his friends at the White House. Like everyone else, he’s waiting and wondering. “All we need is a name,” he says. “Once we have a name, we can turn around something within 48 hours.”