View Full Version : Is 'West Wing' Idealistic or Realistic?

05-11-2006, 11:18 AM
President Bartlet is leaving office, taking his tart tongue and Nobel Prize in economics, his principled stands and arcane musings, his wise, feisty wife and his witty, attractive, smart staff. Really smart. Also, really Democratic. And did we mention high-minded and idealistic and looking out for the common good?

NBC's West Wing, which ends its seven-year run Sunday (8 ET/PT), often had the feel of wishful thinking — especially for Democrats who haven't controlled the White House for six years. Yet "for all the leaps you have to make in TV land," as former Bill Clinton aide Gene Sperling puts it, Democrats and even some Republicans say the show offered a fairly accurate picture of how the White House works.

"It was very realistic, and that's why people liked it," says Marlin Fitzwater, a press secretary to Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush who became a consultant to the show. "They wanted to see good government. They appreciated people who were trying to do the right thing for the right reasons. That was common to both parties."

Among its many legacies, The West Wing offers cautionary tales for politicians with secrets (Bartlet was censured for hiding his multiple sclerosis) and for strategists looking toward the next election (Nevada was the pivotal state and nuclear power the pivotal issue in the campaign that made Democrat Matt Santos president-elect).

Some scorn The WestWing as a liberal fantasy, despite Bartlet's hawkish foreign policy. "It was a place (liberals) could go and have everything that they wanted reinforced," says Marshall Wittmann, who worked for the Christian Coalition and Republican Sen. John McCain and is now at the moderate Democratic Leadership Council.


05-11-2006, 03:20 PM
I haven't seen all the shows but I really liked the show. It is fast moving and there are a lot of different story lines. Martin Sheen was good as the Prez, and Jimmy Smits is doing a good job as the President Elect. That was sad when that one guy died...I think he was the Chief of Staff.?..can't remember his name. It looks very realistic.