I’m a pretty big fan of the West Wing. I’ve been talking to myself out of buying the entire series on DVD every time I walk past it at Costco. It was at its best when a mental afterimage of the Clinton years was still bouncing around in our skulls. It took on a dark, seratonin-deficient mood when Sorkin left and Bush was the foil for the President’s character on the show instead of ole’ Bill.
But something else changed in the show, something I never really could put my finger on until I started getting sucked into Studio 60. Sorkin portrays the ration side of conservatives and the irrational side of liberals. It’s the worst kind of liberal guilt (even though the liberals usually get the best of the argument in the end). In the current political environment, the recent election notwithstanding, that is sort of like making a show all about how ridiculous black people can be, and how really super white people can be. Conservatives self-identify at a rate no less than 15% higher than self-identified liberals. (Forget party ID for the moment).
It might be argued that there is a liberal bias to the movies or television, but the myth of the liberal media is a parody of itself at this point. Liberals have almost no power in America, and some ideas become impossible merely by virtue of being associated with liberalism. Does anyone doubt that it would have been easier to get out of Bosnia than it is to get out of Iraq?
Sorkin may have fit in an era when liberal-tinged third-way Clintonism was ascendant and liberals needed to take a look in the mirror as they pulled the strings of power. But today, the rag-tag band of survivors that still wears that badge need to breathe and eat and stay alive before they begin to perfect themselves.
And, oh? What about some self-searching for the Enron-Tom DeLay-Ann Coulter-Rumsfeld axis?