A Few Bad Writers


Gene Healy bids good riddance to The West Wing:

Can you picture a young John Dean in the Bartlett White House, rubbing his hands together at the prospect of "using the available federal machinery to screw our political enemies"? A young Bill Moyers demanding that J. Edgar Hoover find homosexuals on Barry Goldwater's campaign staff? Could even a Dick Morris or a David Addington walk the halls with saintly C.J. and noble Toby? Not likely.

It's not that every White House staffer should be played as Gollum-with-a-briefcase. But the West Wing writers wouldn't even entertain the possibility that anybody gets corrupted by proximity to power.

And then there's Martin Sheen's President Bartlett. He's some sort of Catholic theologian-cum-Nobel laureate in economics—you know, the sort of guy we usually get for the job….

The West Wing was, above all, a Valentine to power. And despite the snappy repartee and the often-witty scripts, it was a profoundly silly show. It managed—in 21st century America—to be markedly less cynical than Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

I can't agree about the alleged wit and repartee. Otherwise, amen.