Hillary, Bunny, and John Edwards

Many decades ago, what is now the Style Section of the Washington Post was called the Women’s Page (or Pages, I don’t remember which). I never read the Women’s Page, but a bit of gossip in today’s paper strikes me as perfect grist for that mill. To be fair, it also relates to style, or the lack thereof.

The Post tells us, per a new book, that heiress Bunny Mellon developed animosity towards Hillary Clinton during a 1994 encounter at the White House. According to the book’s author, Meryl Gordon, Bunny felt that Hillary was insufficiently appreciative of the Rose Garden, which Bunny designed for President Kennedy.

From then on, Bunny referred to Hillary as “the old rag” and “the elf.” Whether Hillary could have avoided these monikers merely by being more into the Rose Garden is unclear. Bunny was, after all, considered an icon in matters of style, according to the Post.

In any case, Bunny Mellon ended up being the biggest financial backer of John Edwards’ runs for the presidency. She also provided the funds — “Bunny money” — that Edwards illegally funneled to cover up his affair with Rielle Hunter.

The Post suggests that Bunny might have backed Hillary in 2008 (or at least not backed Edwards) if Hillary had “stopped and smelled the roses” when they met in 1994. However, the Post acknowledges that Bunny was snowed by John Edwards, whom she also backed in 2004. Gordon writes:

Edwards’s initial visit to her Upperville, Va. mansion in 2005 gave the Kennedy confidante shades of Camelot. “It brings back the excitement of the day John Kennedy walked into the house, before he was elected president,” Mellon wrote at the time. . . .

To be sure, Kennedy and Edwards were both pretty-boy philanderers. Yet, you would expect an icon of style to have spotted important differences between the two. Even John Kerry, a closer facsimile than Edwards of JFK, quickly figured out that Edwards was a phony.

Bunny Mellon was too superficial to do so. But at least she got Hillary about right, even if for the wrong reason.

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