Laugh at me if you will, but I watched the last season and a half of The West Wing. Mainly because I wanted to see if all of the rumors were true that a Republican would win the White House on the show. Of course Hollywood didn’t let that happen, but it was pretty intersting to say the least. The brief synopsis is this: The Democrat who wins the election, Matt Santos (played by Jimmy Smits) practically came out of nowhere to win the nomination. He was a minority candidate, very young, not a lot of Washington experience, and won a huge following. On election night in the show, he picked off South Carolina and Texas, traditionall red states, however he was a Congressman from Texas. He ran on a pretty moderate platform in the general election, with the exception of universal healthcare. His Republican opponent was an old guy named Arnold Vinnick, a senator from California (played by Allan Alda). Vinnick was old, a moderate Republican, old, a senator for several years, old, and was doing very well in the polls up until an incident at a nuclear reactor tilted the election in Santos’ way. He did wind up winning California in a close race, mainly because it was his home state. The election was a lot closer than this year’s, with Santos clinching the win in a close victory in Nevada. Vinnick immediately concedes out of concern for dragging the country in an electoral fiasco. I understand that this election wasn’t nearly as close as in the TV show, but there are some striking similarities. There was one especially at the end of the series.If you haven’t gone to another post, the series ends with Santos putting his administration together, enrolling his kids in a public school (like any president would do that), and his inauguration. Along with putting his administration in place, he offered Vinnick the Secretary of State position, which Vinnick accepted. It’s kind of realistic, since Obama could possibly offer John McCain the post of Secretary of Veterans Affairs. A line that was uttered near the end of one episode kind of struck me at this current time. To paraphrase, Santos told Vinnick that he could take whatever time that was needed to persuade him, but Vinnick was expected to support whatever decision Santos would make in the end. In other words, say what you want, but it’s my game with my rules. This is what we’re getting with Barack Obama and his cabinet picks. There’s a lot of people out there that are in awe of the “centrists” selected by Obama to fill these posts, but Obama gets the final say on policy. Robert Gates can say whatever he wants on Iraq, but Obama can do whatever he wants in the end. Larry Summers can spew free market economics on Obama as much as he wants, but Obama gets to determine the course of action in the end. I grow tired of people on the left (and even some on the right) that are telling me to give Obama a chance. I don’t trust him. Maybe Obama really does want to govern from the center, but I don’t think Reid and Pelosi will let him. I also believe that some of these “centrists” are a masquerade. After all, aren’t all of the “moderate” Democrats elected in 2006 voting in lockstep with Reid and Pelosi? Back to my point, it’s kind of strange how the end of The West Wing told the story of this past election. Not that studying it would have helped all of that much, but whether it’s a nuclear reactor or economic meltdown, sometimes there’s only one incident a candidate needs to propel to victory.

Tags: 2008