Michelle Obama? Clair Huxtable?

What, you haven’t read about “The Huxtable Effect” (your homework: this and this). About how America has a 1980s sitcom to thank for a 2008 election outcome? About how Bill Cosby’s Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable paved the way for Barack Obama’s President Barack Obama?

Which must mean that Mrs. Obama is similarly indebted to Mrs. Huxtable? Clair begat Michelle? (They’re both lawyers, even!) And it’s a debt Mrs. Obama should embrace, even after she moves into the White House, according to columnist Dianne Williamson in a column of “suggestions” for Michelle Obama (headline: “Michelle: Still fist-bump, but bake a lot” in the (Worcester, MA) Telegram & Gazette.

It will make a lot of people feel better— by people, I mean white Southern evangelicals — if you identify your role model as Claire Huxtable.

While many white people had Huxtable on the brain when they pulled the lever for Obama last week and will continue, when they see Obamas, to think Huxtables (and feel all attendant familiarity and comfort) others, however, will need to be reminded?

Then again, Williamson begins her column as follows:

[A]s a newspaper columnist, it’s my job to cork off on issues I know virtually nothing about…

Which, of course, lets her off the hook in a similar way as does, as Megan pointed out yesterday, the New York Times and the LA Times taking the posture of “We’re not saying we agree with this whole ‘Huxtable effect’ thing…we’re just telling you that people are talking about it.”

Williamson’s version: I’m not saying there is a “Huxtable Effect” — do you see the words “Huxtable Effect” in my column? And after all, I’m just a columnist — I’m just suggesting Michelle work it. In certain company.

Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.