Monday, October 10

The West Wing vs Commander in Chief

I am no fan of television (with the possible exceptions of HGTV, the History Channel, CSpan, and sometimes the Discovery Channel) but I have to admit a fascination with and possibly a compulsion to watch "The West Wing." I discovered the show when I was flat on my back recovering from surgery and became addicted. That's the right word, too -- addicted.

Never mind that the show promotes a Democratic agenda. Of course I relish their mistakes: having Air Force One leave Nashville after the President visits Oak Ridge, for example. Poor research there, as was President Bartlett's speech in defense of homosexuals which relied solely on Old Testament references. And there have been others but, interestingly, not nearly as many in the three years or so of episodes that I've watched as there were in the first episode of the new TV series "Commander In Chief."

One advantage "The West Wing" has over the upstart is that they used former White House staffers like Dee Dee Myers as consultants. That makes a HUGE difference.

It's been claimed that "Commander In Chief's" premise that a woman can be President reveals a rising American controversy. What's controversial about that? After all, we've already had a woman as candidate for Vice President. (Remember Geraldine Ferraro?) And in fiction, last year "The West Wing" gave a woman the position of Chief of Staff -- a position much more powerful than the average American voter realizes.

"Commander In Chief" is, however, a thinly veiled (she was mentioned by name more than five times in the first episode) apologist for Hillary Clinton's candidacy in 2008. And if the first episode was any indication, it's not going to do her any good.

For example, the show is rife with feminist concepts, speeches and issues. As soon as she takes the oath of office, President Mackenzie Allen (Geena Davis) initiates military action in Nigeria to rescue a woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery. She does not refer to the UN, nor does she confer with advisors or her Cabinet. She comes on like a dictator, inflicting her will mindlessly, heedlessly and without any thoughtful consideration of repercussions or results. This does, indeed, sound a lot like Hillary Clinton!

Something like this pales in the face of real crises facing the USA. Although it's based on reality -- there have been cases where Nigerian women were sentenced to death by stoning for adultery. So far all have been overturned on appeal and no executions for adultery have actually been carried out. It doesn't take an expert in foreign policy to imagine the political fallout from such a unilateral action by a US President!

The cast is mediocre. I suppose Geena Davis can't help looking like someone just socked her in the mouth but you can't help but shudder at the thought of such mediocre TV actors running the country! The writing is especially poor and the premise that a woman President is unusual is silly. Also, the title of the fourth episode seems like a barometer of the shallowness of the show: "Walk Softly and Carry A Lipstick." There is no depth in this show and no passion. Another thing that is lacking is that sense of awe and respect for the American system that's in the West Wing. The fast, intelligent repartee is missing, too.

Women now run corporations, serve in Congress, serve in the military and more. The only problem with fielding a woman for President is that there are so few qualified women out there.

In "Commander In Chief" we can get an idea of what it would mean to America if we let modern feminists loose in the White House. An unmitigated disaster.

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