Sheeeeeeeeeeit: When Political Art Resembles Political Life
We did it, America! While our elected representatives can barely come together on policy, we can largely agree on how we feel about them. And we think they’re childish assholes. A survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and The Washington Post released Monday showed that 72 percent of the 1,001 adults polled had negative words to describe the budget negotiations, the top winners being “ridiculous,” “disgusting,” “stupid” and “frustrating.” Democracy is agreeing that democracy can be stupid. U.S.A.! U.S.A.!
Thinking about our members of the U.S. Congress (the awesome Rep. Gabrielle Giffords obviously excluded) brought several film and TV characters to mind who exemplify the very worst characteristics politicians can offer. OK, so one of them turns into an enormous snakelike demon. But the rest of the villains are pretty familiar.
I’ll let you decide who the real-life counterparts are to these fictional pols.
1. Two for One: Sen. R. Clayton “Clay” Davis and Mayor Clarence V. Royce, “The Wire”: The corrupt guys. As the incumbent, Royce will stop at nothing to get re-elected, including forcing the Baltimore police chief to reduce crime numbers by any means necessary. And his cohort Davis will pocket money from practically any “donor,” no questions asked. It’s all in the game.
2. Mayor Richard Wilkins III, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”: The literally-turns-into-a-snake guy. Don’t be fooled by the apparent charm: This slick politician is jaded and will mow over whoever gets in his way of ascending. This being Sunnydale, the Mayor turns into a demon and crashes the high school graduation. Anything for a photo-op.
3. Sen. Bob Rumson, The American President: The inevitable “values” guy, the guy who digs up whatever dirt he can find on his opponent while decrying said opponent’s complete lack of virtue. He wants to bring the pride back, and he wants to tell you his name and the office he’s running for, over and over. Rumson is the classic distraction, riling voters with culture-war issues while real problems go unaddressed.
4. White House Chief of Staff Bob Alexander, Dave: The slimy, behind-the-scenes guy. Alexander is neck-deep in cover-up for his president and will stop at nothing — including pinning scandal on the nice-guy vice president — to come out ahead. He isn’t even impressed when Dave solves the budget crisis with the help of his accountant friend. That’s just heartless.
5. Gov. Robert Richie, “The West Wing”: The “one of us” guy. As the Republican nominee for president, Richie plays the “real American” card and attacks President Bartlett’s elitism. But in true Aaron Sorkin style, his inability to compete intellectually causes him to lose the election. Can Sorkin write all the political discourse for our country?
Sarah Carlson has a front-row seat to the decline of the newspaper industry and lives in Alabama with her overly excitable Pembroke Welsh Corgi. She’s also sick and tired of politicians, dagnabbit!
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