Friday, November 7, 2008

Er--that was HILLARY, not Nancy, Hon...

President-elect Barack Obama wasn’t even five minutes into the Q&A of his first post-election press conference this afternoon—in which he acquitted himself quite well and thus continued affirming my centrist vote for him Tuesday—when he startlingly confused two memorable moments from the frequently-fascinating distaff side of Presidential history.

Elaborating on his response to a Chicago Sun-Times question about consulting with his predecessors, Obama clarified that since his election three nights ago he had only spoken with those former Presidents “who are living ...(I didn’t want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about doing any séances…)” he joked.

What’s remarkable is he how blithely he conflated two distinct First Lady vignettes, each of which bordered on the bizarre and thus engendered copious eyebrow-raising: Nancy Reagan’s post-Hinckley reliance on a San Francisco astrologer through much of the 80s, and Hillary Clinton’s reported séance a decade later in which the spirit of Eleanor Roosevelt was supposedly conjured.

I expect hundreds if not thousands of pundits, both widely-read and obscurely blogging, will make this point over the next couple of days. What’s unclear is how much the conflation will be seen as some sort of Freudian dig at Fancy Nancy, the epitome of Republican style and elegance on, as it happens, the very day Obama sycophant Maya Angelou declared that Michelle Obama shall be the first chic Presidential spouse since Jackie Kennedy.

BRYAN STYBLE/somewhere

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