(image from JohnMcCain.com)
(image from BarackObama.com)Following up on a comment I made over on polyglot conspiracy, I wanted to object to criticism of Sara Palin's recent use of the NP "a Palin and McCain administration". She was criticized for putting her name first as if she was framing herself as the presidential candidate rather than the VP candidate.
My objection is linguistic. The linguistic construction used to refer to a presidential ticket is typically two last names with maybe a dash or special character separating them, and often nothing at all (see above examples), but rarely are the two names conjoined by "and". When I took a look at what Palin actually said ("a Palin and McCain administration") I felt it was perfectly acceptable for a VP candidate to refer to a hypothetical administration that way.
I take this to be roughly a NP-noun compound where the NP is made up of two conjoined names. There are surely patterns to these kind of NP-noun compounds that probably favor listing the more prominant name first, but patterns are not prescritpive rules. On the other hand, I'm sure there are prescriptive rules used by campaing staff and journalists that explicitly spell out which name comes first when referring to a presidential ticket.
Please note, I am not intending to make any sort of political statement with this post. This is intended to be primarily a linguistics blog.