Monday, May 15, 2006

The ‘West Wing’ Fantasy Finally Dies


Well, the guys in Hollywood finally took the hint and killed off President Bartlett’s Mythic Adventures. Naturally, they had to polish up the lie as much as possible, to such a degree that it would be difficult to explain in one column just how far from reality that show really was.

Maybe one good example is the scenario they finished up with, two-term President Bartlet being succeeded by newly-elected President Sanchez. When, think about this, was the last time a two-term Democrat was succeeded by way of election, by another Democrat? Let’s roll back and see:

President Clinton followed the first President Bush, and was followed by Dubya, so GOP-Donk-GOP, no match;

President Carter was a one-term President, but anyway he also was preceded and followed by Republicans, so no match there;

President Johnson followed JFK, but by way of Kennedy’s death, and in any case Kennedy was only elected once;

President Truman followed multi-term FDR, but again by way of the former President’s death, so again no match;

President Franklin Roosevelt got elected four times, but he followed a Republican;

President Wilson was elected twice, but he followed a Republican, and his successor was a Republican;

President Cleveland was elected twice, though not sequentially, and in any case he followed a Republican, and was also succeeded by a Republican;

President Buchanan was elected once, and he followed another Democrat, but both men served one term each. He was succeeded by a Republican;

President Pierce was followed by another Democrat, but he only served one term. He followed a Whig in office;

President Polk served only one term, and he both followed and was succeeded by a Whig;

President Van Buren succeeded President Jackson in 1836. Jackson served two terms. So ‘West Wing’ was true to life, except that they were 170 years off. Of course, it should be noted that the two-term Republican followed by another Republican has happened two times before; when Hayes followed Grant, and when GHW Bush followed Reagan. A bit closer to modern times, and it may be observed that the 2008 election, if people are sane at that time, may be another such situation.

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