Yesterday, four men lunched at the White House at the invitation of President Bush. But not just any four. They were President-elect Obama and former Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. This was the very first time all present and former presidents had been assembled in the White House since 1981, when Carter, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford met with President Reagan before leaving for the funeral of assassinated President Anwar Sadat in Egypt.
Practitioners of the revived science of Americanology at the Kremlin may be pondering the way the past, present and future Presidents lined up when it was time to pose for the cameras, much as American Sovietologists used to ponder the changes in the lineup at the Kremlin during May Day parades. Indeed, some American Americanologists might be wondering too. Why is Obama standing between the Bushes, rather than next to his fellow Democrats? Can Daily Kos give us the answer before long?

And in other Beltway news, it looks like the precise moment can be pinpointed when former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris completed his passage from pariah to incoming Senator. It happened Tuesday night when he dined at that familiar Capitol Hill watering hole, the Monocle. According to the Washington Post’s Reliable Source column, “throngs” of diners left their tables and lined up to greet him. But not only that, but the children of the Monocle’s owner drove across town just to have the chance to meet him. In an establishment where celebrity diners from the political arena are a dime a dozen, that’s what’s called prestige. Truly, Burris is, as he says, the Magic Man.