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December 6, 2022

There was a scene in The West Wing, one I’ve tried and failed to find on YouTube, in which Sam and Ainsley discuss presidential qualities, contrasting what Democrats and Republicans think makes for a good leader.

Sam, genuinely and completely perplexed, asks (something along the lines of), “Wouldn’t you want the President to be the smartest person in the room when tough decisions have to be made?” To which Ainsley replies that (something like this) she wants the President to surround himself with the smartest people in the country, but that the man himself should be a relatable human being. 

Relatable? Hmm. Was Richard Nixon relatable? Hardly. Reagan? Yeah, okay folks had seen him in films and on television – although often as a second banana – even to an actual monkey. (There is a story I heard back in the 1980s, which may or may not be true, involving the director John Huston. He’d been away filming somewhere when Reagan first threw his hat into the presidential ring. Stopping at Heathrow on his way back to the States, he was approached by a reporter who asked him what he thought of Ronald Reagan as President. After a brief pause, Huston was reported as saying, “No, Jimmy Stewart for President, Ronald Reagan as best friend.”) 

As far as I can recall this conversation between Sam and Ainsley occurred after Dubya’s “folksy charm” (and his brother being governor of Florida and the Supreme Court stopping the recount) had installed him in the White House. That was when watching The West Wing went from being a rather uncomfortable reflection of what politics could be like if Bill Clinton possessed any moral integrity to being a painful contrast to what was actually going on in Washington. 

And, of course, this was at a time when the majority of Republican politicians and voters weren’t completely batshit crazy. A time when Democrats and Republican politicians and supporters didn’t passionately hate one another. This was before the Tangerine Wankmaggot and the maniac nation he unleashed.

This. This is what is so completely fucked up about politics in the USA.

Don’t watch the whole thing. It will make you physically ill. How was it possible for this wanker to be elected? Is he evil or just plain stupid? I can’t decide. What I can decide is what his election says about the attitude and average IQ of too many Louisiana voters.

This speech was yesterday in Georgia where that state’s voters will once again be able to prove to the rest of the country that a good man can still be elected instead of a piece of shit. Fingers crossed.

To put myself (and hopefully you, dear readers) in a better mood I shall now share my all-time favourite West Wing clip which, unlike the one I wanted, is easily found on YouTube.

From → Columns

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