Sunday, August 24, 2008

An Analogy Too Far?

I’ve highlighted before the remarkable parallels between Democrat Barack Obama’s historic campaign for the presidency and the fictional race of Hispanic candidate Matt Santos on the last season of The West Wing. Obama’s announcement yesterday that he has chosen veteran Senator Joe Biden to be his running mate only makes those echoes louder. I thought I was the only person for whom this came to mind, but Steve Benen (newly migrated from The Carpetbagger Report to The Washington Monthly) makes that identical point this morning:
Everyone remembers the seventh season of “The West Wing,” right? A young, charismatic, relatively inexperienced member of Congress, who happens to be part of a minority group, endures through a lengthy and contentious Democratic primary season, and defies the odds against a better known and better tested party favorite to win the nomination. Waiting for him is an older Republican senator from out west, who’s occasionally rankled various constituencies in his own party.

Ring a bell?

And what, pray tell, does the captivating Democratic candidate do when it comes time to pick a running mate? He chooses an older member of the party establishment [Leo McGarry, played by John Spencer], with a background in foreign policy, who helps bring heft to the ticket.

Sure, the parallels are far from exact, but am I the only one who thought of this?
Nope, Steve, you’re not the only one. Let’s just hope those parallels don’t continue, however, for in the TV series, Democrat Santos won the presidency--but McGarry perished from a heart attack shortly before Election Day.

READ MORE:Biden: A Senate Stalwart Who Bounced Back,” by Patrick Healy and Michael Luo (The New York Times); “Joe Biden: Obama’s Cheney?,” by Jacob Heilbrunn (The Huffington Post).

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