Yes, this blog post is a little behind the zeitgeist curve. You've seen this video before, but watch once again.
What I want you to notice is not Chief Justice Roberts misplacing faithfully, it's not Roberts referring to the office as "President to the United States" (see 0:18)—it's what he and Obama both say, at 0:08 and 0:12, respectively: "Hussein." Yes, that is President Obama's middle name, much to his campaign's consternation at certain points last year.
I figure, hey, the dude's being sworn in for the highest job in the land; if they use your complete full name when you graduate college, you're going for the whole shebang on this occasion, even if part of the name indicates to millions of dumb-ass Americans that you're poker buddies with the 9/11 hijackers. Obama even addressed this. "Hussein" he is, "Hussein" it must be.
That was 1981, when Reagan first took office. First of all, isn't it so incredibly obvious from his delivery that Reagan trained as an actor? But more to the point, notice that he and Justice Berger (mmm…Burger) say just "Ronald Reagan," not "Ronald Wilson Reagan." Even more amazing, when you think about it:
Then there's this (sorry, having trouble posting an edited version; you only need the first 45 seconds):
More fun with Warren Berger. This time, he's Gerald R. Ford—we don't get the full "Rudolph," but we get a middle initial.
Apparently, something shifted during the '80s, because Obama's not the first one to use his middle name; in fact, Reagan was the last to go the abbreviated route. Bush I was "George Herbert Walker Bush," Clinton was the full "William Jefferson Clinton," and Dubya was "George Walker Bush." Perhaps it's all an accident; maybe Bush I wanted to go full monty, cognizant that he wasn't the only "George Bush" out there, and everyone since has just taken his lead. Then again, if you go further back (check out this guy's audo clips), there's serious inconsistency: Some middle names ("John Fitzgerald Kennedy"), some with middle initials ("Dwight D. Eisenhower"), some with neither ("Richard Nixon"). Clearly, no one variation is mandated by the Constitution; perhaps it's just a matter of each individual President's preference.
If that's the case, what does it say about Obama that he chose to include the controversial middle name in what some consider an extremely sacred ritual? Was he indeed mistaken, thinking that using the full name was long-standing tradition? Or—as I suspect, but I am an Obama loyalist—is this part of his ongoing strategy to own up, as it were, to his "otherness"?
During the campaign, Bill Maher once asked a Democratic big shot about Obama's name, how as a kid he went by "Barry," and how, since he was estranged from his father, he had considered taking his mother's last name ("Dunham"). "Wouldn't you rather be running Barry Dunham?" Maher asked. Well, yes and no. Yes, that name would elicit less controversy; no, because the Republicans would've have constantly asked what this guy was trying to hide, turning "Barack Obama" into a dirty word (or phrase).
I say it again: I'm less amazed that we elected a black man, than that we elected a man named "Barack Hussein Obama." (Or that we elected Ronald Reagan, but that's another story…)