A TV guide to Obama’s new team

Perjantaina, 7. marraskuuta 2008     0 kommentti(a)

As with so many of my generation, my image of the American political system will be forever shaped by having watched the The West Wing. Indeed only last weekend I was chatting over dinner with a political party representative from southwest Finland; the conversation turned to TV programmes and he revealed slightly sheepishly about a time when him and a group of friends decided a good way to spend the weekend would be with lots of beer and snacks and a DVD box-set of an entire season of West Wing. I think he was relieved to find out that all of those around him, as either political analysts or involved in politics themselves, saw this a perfectly sensible way of whiling away a weekend.

And probably like many other West Wing fans, I have completely over-dosed on real American politics in recent days. I was promising myself to go cold-turkey and just try and calm down for a few days, but the appointment of Rahm Emanuel as President Elect Obama’s chief of staff is just too fun (or what passes for fun to political geeks) to go by without mention. Life does seem to imitate art – or maybe even forms circles – because, as all West Wing watchers will remember, the final season was the presidential campaign and victory of Matt Santos (played by Jimmy Smits) – a young, Hispanic congressman who becomes the first non-white president of the United States. The Santos campaign manager, turned chief of staff, was Josh Lyman (played by Bradley Whitford). The parallel between the fictional Matt Santos and real Barack Obama are obvious, but more amusingly the character of Josh Lyman was based upon a young and often described as hot-headed political advisor within the Clinton White House called – of course – Rahm Emanuel.

The fictional President-Elect Santos gave the position of secretary of state to a republican rival. If any of the GOP foreign policy luminaries such Chuck Hagel and Dick Lugar are West Wing fans, they may well be checking their mobile phone batteries are well charged.

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