Good grief, where to begin? I’ve written a number of times about the nonsense that is the sweeping generalization of a liberal bias in media, usually the MSM. I’ve also written against policies and actions of President Bush. I guess I’m a raging ideologue for the leftists. At least that’s the way I interpret John Fund’s logic while opining on the liberal fantasy not-so-subtly called Commander in Chief in today’s Opinion Journal. Consider:
The series pits Academy Award-winner Geena Davis against the patriarchal world of national politics until her “You Go, Girl!” attitude puts to rest the doubts of her many detractors. The creator of “Commander in Chief,” Rod Lurie, is apparently trying to broaden the show’s appeal by promising that he won’t be using it as a soapbox for his admittedly liberal views. He is quick to note that Ms. Davis isn’t playing a Democrat. Instead she is an independent who landed on a Republican ticket in order to offset a conservative candidate’s low approval rating among women.
Mr. Lurie insists that red-state viewers need not shun the show. He admits that he “can’t write to a belief system that I can’t swallow myself,” but he says that he has hired some conservative writers to make up for his deficit. Not that a balanced approach was evident at last week’s series-celebrating parties, in Washington and New York, hosted by the feminist White House Project.
Marie Wilson, the founder of the White House Project, told attendees how she struggled for years to convince Hollywood to do a show about a woman in the Oval Office. “We offered a prize, we offered to pay for a script. But they still didn’t think it would interest people,” she lamented. “Then like out of some Zen moment they suddenly decided the time was now.” And maybe the time is now: The latest Rasmussen Poll finds that more than three-quarters of voters are comfortable with the idea of a female president. All the Hillary-Condi talk clearly means something.
But Condi had nothing to do with the conversations at the White House Project parties. Attendees made it abundantly clear that they see the show as a liberal fantasy. Much as “The West Wing” portrayed the White House that liberals wish Bill Clinton had run, “Commander in Chief” will look forward to something resembling a Hillary Clinton presidency, or so its fans presume.
I didn’t watch Commander in Chief for a number of reasons, not least among them the simple fact that I don’t like Geena Davis. But also not least among them is that I think the concept for the show is dull. “Let’s take the president and make him a… her!” I can’t think of a more brain-dead attempt at creativity on network television now. If I landed on ABC while Commander in Chief was on, I’d turn the channel as fast as my thumb could move for fear that my brain would be infected by stupidity. Not liberal stupidity, just generic stupidity.
Consider how Mr. Fund developed his argument. He constantly referred to Hillary-Condi as a possible presidential confrontation in 2008. He even uses a 75% acceptance of a hypothetical female presidency. Remind me again what the election results were last year? Did 75% of voters choose the crazy liberal who can’t wait for Hillary to be dictator for life? By basic reasoning, this acceptance bleeds across political affiliations and ideology. It may be more prevalent in one party, but that doesn’t change the underlying reality. On paper, at least, most Americans say that the shocking idea of a woman as president deserves a yawn. Right, liberal conspiracies abound.
But more than that, I want to focus on Mr. Lurie’s specific statement. As he said, he “can’t write to a belief system that I can’t swallow myself.” Oh. Now I’m convinced. Even I’m willing to ignore the idea that hiring conservative writers will make it a “balanced” show. So what? Mr. Lurie’s statement told me everything I needed to know. If it turns out I’m wrong and the show is moderate, oops. I prejudged and missed out. Along with every other American, I do that every day. Somehow I survive.
That’s not to say I don’t get Mr. Lurie’s point. I’ve written fiction in which I’ve had one character murder another character. I’ve never killed anyone, nor would I ever do so. Does that make me unqualified to write such a scene? Of course not. But if I can’t, that’s different. Incompetence means an inferior product, unless he gets other writers, which he did. The vision still suffers, though, because as the creator he sets the foundation. Perhaps he did and I missed it. Again, if that’s so, oops, but that’s not a ringing endorsement for the show.
Extending this further, imagine reading a novel in which it’s clear the author had a moral axe to grind. He’s convinced that we should outlaw the military, for example. That’s going to be a story with few, if any, well-developed characters and interesting conflicts. The essence of good story-telling will involve interesting characters and interesting conflict. The “lesson” should flow from the story, and be evident from how the main character changes. The message as the foundation doesn’t work in literature, whether it’s books, movies, or television.
In the unfolding execution of the show, Mr. Fund will find that Commander in Chief will not further the President Hillary Clinton liberal fantasy. Viewers will watch, but if the show sucks, they’ll stop. If it preaches, they won’t. If ten million viewers tune in and that’s sufficient for ABC, the show will continue. But how are ten million viewers to an allegedly biased show sufficient to propel Senator Clinton to the presidency? Didn’t President Bush receive sixty million votes last November? And do you really believe that those undecided about Senator Clinton for president are too stupid and brainwashed to separate her from a television character? If people are that stupid, the hundred-plus million dollar box office for Fahrenheit 9/11 should’ve easily propelled Senator Kerry to the White House. Have you seen who calls 1600 Pennsylvania home? Stop worrying and trust America.