There is a frenzy going on in Pennsylvania as primary day approaches. Barack Obama is preaching to his largest crowds ever. Hillary Clinton is crisscrossing the state by plane and bus. Hell, Chelsea Clinton is trolling gay bars in Philadelphia.

Meanwhile, newspapers are trying to understand and predict which way every demographic is leaning. Will older women stick with Hillary? Has Barack made inroads to blue collar voters? In one of the more unique efforts at shining the crystal ball, McClatchy/MSNBC broke down voters by four categories: bowlers, gun owners, hunters, and beers drinkers. (For those interested, Hillary wins each group except the beer drinkers.)

There’s lots of talk about nostalgia, a return to a better time. No, not for the Bill Clinton years in the 90s. The nostalgia is for a return to Camelot, a return to the hope and inspiration of John Kennedy’s presidency. Barack Obama reminds many older voters of that time, they say. The excitement among youth that his campaign has created is reminiscent, they say.

So it’s an interesting moment for Kennedy’s 79-year-old speechwriter and Obama supporter Ted Sorensen, to release his long awaited memoir, titled "Counselor." One passage speaks interestingly of Kennedy’s views on women;

In 1961, when he was due to fly with Kennedy to Paris, the President asked the recently divorced Sorensen if he was taking a girlfriend. "When I replied with an astonished negative, he nodded with a grin: ‘No, you’re right, that would be like taking a cow to cow country."

Now, I’m not suggesting that Barack Obama would echo this sentiment. The point? Nostalgia is usually not all it’s cracked up to be. Misty-eyed memories, as the tune goes, can obscure what a time was really like. And here’s a question: Would women have swooned over John Kennedy if they knew he was comparing them to cows? I don’t think so.

-Elaine L.

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  • Elizabeth Hemmerdinger April 21, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    There’s a lot about JFK I’m glad I didn’t know. A slim majority fell for his charm and good looks — and I feel silly for having been among them. EGH

    Reply