There are so many things that change when you become President of the United States — for instance, like the Pope, you lose your name. And with this election, lions are lying down with lambs, former rivals are — at least according to Andrew Sullivan — submitting to the authority of their onetime rivals, and former Harvard President Larry Summers is losing out on a Treasury gig to a guy who snowboards. No one's love for the idea of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State is more true than that of Salon's Rebecca Traister who joins me in mocking Aaron Sorkin, congratulating the Washingtonienne, comparing Obama to Luke Skywalker and generally making one another uncomfortable with mental images of Mr. Summers fingering things.MEGAN: So, welcome to Crappy Hour, where lacking coffee is only one of many things wrong with every morning. REBECCA: Well, I have to confess that over the past year, I've always taken the title of this feature as a reference to the general crapitude of the news discussed. I now understand that it is a reference to the actual hour at which the conversation takes place. It is indeed crappy. But I am awake! I have coffee! And a question. MEGAN: By all means! I promise an answer. I won't promise that it will be good. REBECCA: When someone becomes president, do his friends really stop calling him by his first name? I have wondered this many times, actually. Mostly while watching Aaron Sorkin movies. I wonder it now because we are living in an Aaron Sorkin movie. MEGAN: It also worked like that for Michael Douglas in An American President. But Sorkin — and particularly Mary Louise Parker — was who I thought of when I saw the executive director of EMILY's list was joining the Obama Administration as communications director. REBECCA: I'm really glad you brought this up. This makes me so happy. Count me among the happily surprised. I am a huge fan of EMILY's List, and I think this appointment is remarkable. To go into EMILY's List, an organization that by dint of its stated project supported HRC in the primaries — and busted its hump to get its constituents on board with Obama from the second Clinton conceded — is a real show of respect, and a tribute to his recognition of their impact on the political process, on Obama's part. MEGAN: Also, as Executive Director, she's doing way more of the day-to-day work of the organization than Ellen Malcolm, and yet you have to be really, really into it to know her name. Which fits with No Drama Obama. REBECCA: But then of course, I'm also one of the few, the proud, the thrilled...about Hillary. MEGAN: Who, it is said, is willing to give up her lifetime Senate seat because she's "disenchanted" with the institution. REBECCA: Regarding Clinton's "disenchantment.:" Sigh. Being happy about Hillary is always such a fraught position. I am amused, however, to already see the articles burbling with speculation about the nature of her relationship with Obama MEGAN: Let alone her potential future relationship with him. REBECCA: Well, the stuff about their relationship cracks me up in part because there is always — with regard to any Clinton — such a massive degree of projection into the particulars of a personal dynamic. The L.A. Times story, a heavy breathing, even without sexual intent or implication "Mr. Obama, who was in the first steps of what would become a strategic courtship, called afterward to thank her." MEGAN: Maybe that's what it all is, it's just sexual fan fic. Maybe people aren't worry about Hillary crushing their balls, that's just mad they can't possess her sexually. All those Republicans and their repressed sexual fantasies. REBECCA: Back when there were big heated arguments about whether he should pick her for veep, I used to think that it would be the right choice precisely because they are the Brangelinaniston of the political world. People cannot get enough of who called whom, who dissed whom, who had a secret conversation behind whose back, and who plotted to get rid of Bill! MEGAN: It was really uncool of Obama to pretend that he wanted her as VP while snuggling up to Joe Biden. REBECCA: The Pres-SecState that launched a thousand US Weeklies! Or a thousand touchy-feeling lurid relationship speculation pieces in the Times, and that gives life an energy to ye olde favorite Dem past-time, Clinton-hating! It's like a mitzvah for the Clinton critics! Something to kvetch about for....an indeterminate number of years! Yay! MEGAN: But Rebecca! She's totally going to, like, start another war! She's not a flaming liberal! She is married to Bill!! We voted for chaaaaaange. (By the way, how come I haven't seen a piece in a major paper about Obama's supporters not being over the primaries yet? Hmm?) REBECCA: Megan, no one wants to be over the primaries! MEGAN: It was an exciting time, it's true. REBECCA: The primaries were the most fun anyone in Democratic politics has had in a thousand years! This is why keeping Clinton in the picture is so crucial. Obama's great and mythic and No Drama and good and ethical and just and plain spoken and all. MEGAN: He will dick you over, though. Just ask Susan Rice. REBECCA: Or JOHN KERRY. Man, he must be pissed. But you know, Luke Skywalker would have been totally boring without his almost-rival partner in crime, Han Solo, who was flawed and possibly corrupt and motivated in part by personal gain but also really wanted thebest for the rebel alliance. MEGAN: And at the end of the day, did you really want to hang out with Luke? Even his own sister preferred Han's company. REBECCA: Um, BINGO! You want the character who's going to keep things interesting! And, on a serious note, could really shake things up by making some Obamaland hires at State, starting with Sam Power. I have no evidence that this is going to happen; it is simply my personal fantasy. But wouldn't that be interesting? But back to The Greatest Story Ever Told, can we talk for a minute about Andrew Sullivan? MEGAN: I dunno, if she's getting her own staff picks, I'm guessing Sam Power will stay ensconced at Harvard. REBECCA: Yeah, I know. I'm just looking for the plot twists. But did you see Sullivan? MEGAN: Man, what is Sully's problem? REBECCA: Writing about the benefits of Clinton working the Middle East, he writes, "And, of course, we all long to see Clinton in a veil." That was definitely my favorite part. MEGAN: I liked "Her Imperial Highness of Appalachia." REBECCA: Yeah I liked that too. He is so confused. I think a week ago, he was calling her the "permanent menace." He loves her! He hates her! He loves her! He hates her! His sister! His Daughter! His sister! His daughter! MEGAN: Also, the part where Sully's all like, send her abroad so Bill can fuck around again was very classy. REBECCA: He's a classy guy. MEGAN: I mean, if there could be more sexual innuendos and double entendres in that piece, I'm not sure how. REBECCA: No, it is a fine piece of campaign literature. Remember, she's the"good cop" to Obama's "bad cop." MEGAN: Obama will be able to "show his dominance." REBECCA: It's all part of Sully's elaborate fantasy world, where Hillary Clinton appears to him in a veil and punishes his transgressions. MEGAN: I guess it's cheaper than advertising for it on Craigslist. REBECCA: Suddenly, my Hillary-hiring-Sam-Power fantasy seems a touch bureaucratic. MEGAN: So, you want to talk Geithner for a second? Speaking of fantasies. REBECCA: You're pleased with the Geithner pick, I'm gathering... MEGAN: Well, he is a hipster wonk that says "fuck" a lot. What's not to like? He's not Sheila Bair, it's true, but he's definitely not Larry Summers, and he's better looking to boot. REBECCA: Better looking than Sheila Bair? Never! But ys, the Summers bullet dodged. I do think it should be noted that this piece begins "Mr Geithner looks a lot younger than his 47 years ..." MEGAN: Which, after becoming Treasury Secretary, he probably won't continue to do so for very long. But it'll be sexy while it lasts. REBECCA: Well, to be fair, the parenthetical immediately following says, "(though not as young as he did before the crisis began)" But today we are hearing how Larry fits in. I'm curious, myself. MEGAN: Behind every great Treasury Secretary is a former one, grumbling and fingering his shiv? Wait, I'm sorry. No one should be forced to imagine Larry Summers fingering anything. REBECCA: I was just going to object to your choice of words. And then take a long long cleansing swig of coffee. MEGAN: I think I might need the whole pot. REBECCA: Seriously, do you have any feeling about what we're going to hear about Summers' role today? MEGAN: Blah, blah, blah, advisory role, yadda, yadda, great to have him as part of the team. REBECCA: So let me ask you — do you think it's blah blah advisory role and not Treasury in part because of the women comments? I am genuinely curious on this point. MEGAN: For my part, I think it was pretty clear that they were floating the fuck out of his name in the media to see if they could get away with it. REBECCA: Yes, I thought so too. And it was such an explosive thing to float. Because that issue was so muddy, and Summers supporters are still so riled over the big deal those damn dames made. It was just a potential piece of dynamite, and I was surprised anyone at No Drama camp even dared to handle it at all. So I am interested to see how it gets tamped out and turned into a sweet smelling Connecticut Candle. I think that metaphor was way too labored. MEGAN: I think it was the Obama camp testing what their mandate was on their left, and now they have an idea. Plus, if you're going to piss people off, you do it over Clinton and not Summers. People dislike Clinton for all kinds of reasons — include sexism — which can be marginalized or combated but most people just dislike Larry Summers for one. REBECCA: Well, I move to end on a happy note, by sending former Washingtonienne sex blogger Jessica Cutler all our best wishes in her upcoming nuptials. MEGAN: I'm glad she's found someone to spank her and fuck her up the ass but only after she's had a couple to drink, and most certainly with love. Who knew you had to move to New York for that? REBECCA: An impressive recall of the Washingtonienne oeuvre! Though I think that Elliot Spitzer found that sometimes you have to leave New York to get all that.
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I literally spat out my coffee over my copy of the Sunday Times yesterday morning when I read that line about Andrew Sullivan wanting to see HRC in a veil. Really, WTF? I mean that was overtly Freudian.