wOct 17, 2009

Obama/West Wing Parallels: Hopefully Continued

I found a nice article this morning reiterating the similarities between the Obama campaign and presidency to the the fictional presidencies portrayed on The West Wing.

Most of the comparisons can be made to a character who appears in the latter part of the series, Matthew Santos. Santos was actually modeled after Obama, after he delivered his speech to the 2004 Democratic Convention.

But the similarities that occurred throughout the campaign and up to the present are almost startling.

In this morning's article, however, the comparison is not between Obama and the Obama-modeled Santos, but between Obama and Jed Bartlet, the man who is president throughout most of the series. The articles note that both men won with a lot of powerful rhetoric and tightly-won campaigns. But once in office, the Bartlet (and Obama) Administrations started out slow, running into roadblocks and an unrelenting media, and seeming afraid to really lay the smack down. The author of the article hopes for an Obama breakthrough that leads to a monumental presidency, and I hope for the same.

His first term in office, after the euphoria of the election win, had seemingly run aground, taking on water from turning the other cheek. They had sought a warmer, gentler path but the conservative forces - unleashing their attack dogs from the lunatic fringe - repeatedly pounded the new president, a sustained attack that cleaved his approval rating.

Then the White House sent out its communications warrior woman to set the media straight. Now, the White House was fighting back: it was going to ''let Bartlet be Bartlet''.

This was the turning point in season one of The West Wing - and it was a defining moment for Josiah Bartlet's presidency.


The start for the Obama team hasn't been particularly inspiring, beyond the soaring rhetoric. (Ditto for his fictional counterpart.) But here's hoping the real-life protagonists can be as successful in overcoming their obstacles as team Bartlet, which even managed to pull together a comprehensive Middle East peace plan in its second term - one that had the approval of both the Israelis and the Palestinians.

Now that would be worth imitating.

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scribbled mystickeeper at 3:57 PM

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