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Friday, September 26, 2003
The West Wing Rebuttal

So in my last rebuttal on May 16th, we discussed the brief tutorial of the left’s view of American politics that we received during the season finale. A noble view of the liberal democrats, a stark dismissive view of the repugnant republicans, and a longing view for the way government should be.

We also took a few stabs at what this next season might bring, guessing primarily that there would be some grand GOP gesture of perceived political opportunism. A refusal to abdicate power back to President Bartlet perhaps, the appointment of a republican (or at least republican friendly) Vice President, or perhaps just the indiscriminate bombing of some poor Muslim folk. Well it looks like we’re going to see at least two of those things, and by the time the next show ends, maybe we’ll even hit the trifecta.

So while The West Wing may have already solidified their view of Republicans as fat, old, white male war mongers, and Democrats as the struggling, noble visionary intellectuals just trying to keep it all together, it appears we’ll have to wait until at least next week to see just how bad the GOP is going to muck up Camelot. Until then, I’d like to analyze just a view of the real life comparators to the current Bartlet/Walken administrations:

* The discussion about how our European allies would not appreciate the coming bombing of Qumar (recall Qumar is the mythical Arab nation where all the action on the show can take place without fear of naming anyone in real life) due to their extensive “oil and gas contracts.” This sort of surprised me, the cold reality of this line could not have sat well with the Euros or their aoplogists, good thing we had that fat old Republican to snort out "screw the Europeans" so that we could keep in mind who the real ignorant folk are.

* The argument between President Bartlet and the First Lady upon her hearing that the US, under President Bartlet’s orders, had assassinated a Qumar terrorist leader - the brother of a senior government official of a supposed ally. “I agonized over this” Bartlet said, “and I made my decision.” “But it wasn’t our decision Jeb,” replied the First Lady. I mean, how can you not think to yourself “well they didn’t elect you Hillary.

* How about the noble Democrats not “polling” as to how the President's decision to temporarily step down was being received by the public? “You know the Republicans will,” was the reply – of course they would. Not like those noble Dems, so above the political fray – they would certainly never try to politicize in a time of war or national crisis, would they?

* We saw more sit-room tussles between Defense and State – this is where the show’s writers really portray how they desperately want to believe Colin Powell acts and feels - it’s almost my favorite part of the show.

* And then the Press Secretary disobeys a direct order from the President of the United States – completely undermining his decision, and it’s actually portrayed (once again) as noble. It's quite a little world they live in.

The critics, such as the NY Times, have already decided that the show “has taken a sharp right turn,” in the post-Sorkin era, noting that they even brought John Podhoretz on to consult with the writing team. I don’t buy it. John Goodman may be dropping Republican bombs on the show, but the real political bomb from the show’s writers is right around the corner. Remember, Bartlet stepped down so that he wouldn’t do something irrational like bomb the terrorists in Qumar, but as we all know well, all Republicans are irrational. The point of this storyline is abundantly clear already: the noble Democrat had to step down, so that his emotions wouldn’t usurp his massive intellect and cause him to act irrationally – like a Republican.

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