Socks the Cat, the most beloved of all the Clintons, died peacefully on Friday after a battle with cancer.
Throughout the eight controversial years of the Clinton presidency, during which the American public fell into and out of--and then further out --of love with the human Clintons, Bill and Hillary, nobody could ever find fault with Socks, the cat. Socks was just a helpless critter caught up in the thick of world events because in 1991 Chelsea Clinton scooped him up from her piano teacher's before they had a chance to give him away to somebody less important.
Socks occupied the same position in the Clinton mythos as Jane Wyman did in the Reagan legend: the classy, long-suffering original companion whom everyone forgot once a fluffier new model came along. In the case of Socks, that new competitor was Buddy, the odious chocolate lab, and for four terrible years Socks lived a life of constant turmoil, violence, and unrest as he warred with the dog.
Upon the conclusion of the Clinton presidency, Socks became an orphan once again and threw himself on the mercy of Bill's secretary, Betty Currie. Meanwhile Buddy retired to Chappaqua with the Clintons, until he got hit by a car and died, so maybe Socks lucked out after all.
He lived until the age of twentyish, which is a fine old age for a cat. Now that he is dead, the title of Most Tolerable Clinton passes on to Chelsea. May she have a long, happy run at likeability.