I am politically conservative, vote Republican and disagree with a great many of the political ideologies espoused on "The West Wing." And if Martin Sheen promised to stay in character for the next four years, I would vote for Josiah Bartlet for president.
The wit, drama and intelligence of the show is both engaging and refreshing. Yes, it approaches high melodrama with its starry-eyed idealism, but it pulls back before going too far.
I hope the show continues to be excellent in its second season. I also hope they give us conservatives some more juicy dialogue such as when Sam played devil's advocate, arguing the pro-school voucher position with Leo McGarry's schoolteacher daughter.
When a "liberal media" TV show better presents a more conservative viewpoint than the actual Republican presidential candidate, I know I've found a show worth watching.
-- D. Fischer
What Josiah Bartlet has that Al Gore and George W. Bush don't are political enemies who follow a script handed to them by liberals.
Everybody President Bartlet puts in his place, stays in his place. They recognize immediately that Bartlet is smarter than they are, wiser, more honest and in closer communion with the ghosts of Lincoln and Jefferson. They also know to behave like stereotypes and how to encourage liberal sanctimony among the show's audience by acting just as meanly and stupidly as we know "they" really are.
And Bartlet is spared something that neither Gore nor Bush can make a move without taking into consideration: real voters who have opinions, feelings, needs and interests that are conflicting, contradictory, not always liberal and yet still valid.
"The West Wing's" premise is that if liberals would just be forthright and brave in their convictions, voters will slap their foreheads as one and say, "By gum, you're right!" and fall into line. "The West Wing" is a liberal fantasy all right, a fantasy of a country run by an enlightened despot and his staff of white yuppie elitists.
-- David Reilly
I have worked in the California state Senate offices as an intern. Most politicians are there because they are fighting, and fighting hard, for what they believe in. They compromise to achieve part of what they are fighting for. They have the difficult task of governing, of making real choices with real consequences.
I think journalists and other media people would do our country a great favor by not portraying politicians as sold-out know-nothings only out for a moneyed special interest (Gov. Bush as president aside) and recognizing the big gray world most politicians must work in.
-- Stephen R. Stapleton