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If Santos vs. Vinick foretold Obama vs. Clinton and then McCain, is the West Wing about to play political fortune-teller once again by having foreshadowed the 2012 presidential campaign in which the fictional president Jeb Barlett is a stand-in for Barack Obama who must run against Robert Ritchie who bears an eerie to Texas Governor Rick Perry?

Any true fan of television’s West Wing is well aware of the similarities between the show’s fictional presidential election and the real-life 2008 U.S. presidential election; the young, ethnic minority Democratic candidate (Matthew Santos on the show, Barack Obama in real life) has a gruelling but successful primary campaign against a more experienced candidate (Bob Russell on the show, Hillary Clinton in real life) and chooses an experienced Washington insider as his running mate (Leo McGarry on the show, Joe Biden in real life), whereas the Republican contest is determined early in the primary season with an aging “maverick” senator of a Western state being the nominee (Arnold Vinick on the show, John McCain in real life).

Well, if Santos vs. Vinick foretold Obama vs. Clinton and then McCain, is the West Wing about to play political fortune-teller once again by having foreshadowed the 2012 presidential campaign in which the fictional president Jeb Barlett is a stand-in for Barack Obama who must run against Robert Ritchie who bears an eerie to Texas Governor Rick Perry?

Need proof of the similarities between Bartlett-Obama vs. Ritchie-Perry, just watch the clip from their signature showdown at the close of Season 3 (“Posse Comitatus“) when Bartlet and Ritchie are both due to attend a fundraiser in New York City (thanks Wikipedia!).

Ritchie misses part of the play to go to a Yankees baseball game (“how ordinary Americans get their entertainment”) in order to make Bartlet look elitist and out of touch. An aide to the president arranges for the Presidential Motorcade to drive up the Major Deegan Expressway to further delay Ritchie’s arrival at the theater. When Ritchie and Bartlet do meet at the theatre, Bartlet tells Ritchie about the recent murder of Secret Service agent Agent Simon Donovan, to which Ritchie says only “Crime. Boy, I don’t know.”

Bartlet then suggests that he and Ritchie should have a presidential debate. They then have an exchange of words about why they appear to dislike each other, with Bartlet saying that Ritchie turns disengagement into “a Zen-like thing” and Ritchie describing Bartlet as “a superior sumbitch”, an academic elitist, a snob, Hollywood, weak, liberal and untrustworthy. At this point Bartlet leaves, warning Ritchie “in the future, if you’re wondering, ‘Crime. Boy, I don’t know’ is when I decided to kick your ass.”

During the  scene, Bartlett is even seen sneaking an Obama-esque cigarette break, while Ritchie, played by James Brolin, is a white-haired doppelganger for Rick Perry. (Joe Scarborough recently observed how Josh (James’ son) Brolin reminds of George W. Bush, who so many people think Rick Perry bears a striking resemblance.)

On paper, the Robert Ritchie character is similar to Perry in so many ways.  Big-state governor…Criticized for his intelligence…A Zen-like disengagement…Suspicious of science.  Sounds like Rick Perry, right?

As for the Bartlett-Obama similarities, those similarities have been well-documented. But Ritchie-Perry’s criticism of Bartlett is a spot-on critique of Barack Obama:

Academic elitist? Check
A snob? Check
Hollywood? Hello, Oprah
Weak? If I hear the phrase “lead from behind” one more time, I’ll scream.
Liberal? Only DailyKos would disagree with that assessment.

So, yes, somehow Aaron Sorkin, Lawrence O’Donnell and the other writers of the West Wing have outlined a script in which life imitates art.

Although I don’t this Republicans are comfortable with how the story ends. After Bartlet scores an overwhelming victory in one of the debates between the two candidates Ritchie himself admits defeat in the post-debate handshake. Ritchie whispers “It’s over,” to Bartlet, who replies “You’ll be back”.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (10+ / 0-)

    Peter Schorsch's SaintPetersBlog.com is one of the most widely read political blogs in Florida.

    by saintpetersblog on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 05:25:18 PM PDT

  •  After having imbibed (is that a word?) a few... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Christin

    ...beers, it would really help me follow your diary if you included a few west wing clips from youtube or something.

    "If I can't dance, then I don't want to be in your revolution"--Emma Goldman

    by ehrenfeucht games on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 05:36:33 PM PDT

  •  Good call (4+ / 0-)

    When I first started noticing Perry talked about as a potential candidate months ago, I thought right away that he reminded me of Ritchie.  Let's hope the outcome is the same!

    -Alan

    -9.00, -3.69 "The purpose of a campaign is not to answer their attacks, but make them answer our attacks." - Paul Begala

    by SlackerInc on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 05:42:55 PM PDT

  •  But does Obama have the guts to do this: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ehrenfeucht games, Christin

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

    by zenbassoon on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 05:47:23 PM PDT

  •  And here's the clip the poster is referencing: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ehrenfeucht games, Christin

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

    by zenbassoon on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 05:53:28 PM PDT

    •  I don't remember that one at all. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zenbassoon

      Must have missed it.

      Thanks.

      Time to reread the second half of the diary...um...I mean post.

      "If I can't dance, then I don't want to be in your revolution"--Emma Goldman

      by ehrenfeucht games on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 06:04:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  ha! i forgot JB smoked. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zenbassoon, ehrenfeucht games

      like BO did. or does.
        i think that was the last show i really watched on network tv.

      You are not an Environmentalist if you support the brutal, cruel, inhuman life and slaughter of animals in Factory Farms which produce 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.

      by Christin on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 06:48:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Washington National Cathedral (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ehrenfeucht games, Christin

        Of course, there was also the time he ground out the cigarette in the sanctuary of the Washington National Cathedral at the end of the funeral ceremony for his administrative assistant who had been killed in an accident.  Bartlett used the word "feckless" while addressing the Lord, one of its best applications on TV ever.

        "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

        by PrahaPartizan on Sun Sep 04, 2011 at 07:23:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  yes . that one was brlliant. (0+ / 0-)

          it was the talk of the office the next day.
          a group of us watched the show and that one was like HOLY SHIT.

          You are not an Environmentalist if you support the brutal, cruel, inhuman life and slaughter of animals in Factory Farms which produce 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.

          by Christin on Sun Sep 04, 2011 at 10:40:30 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I am a big fan of the West Wing. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmo, ehrenfeucht games

    I've watched the series a few times, the whole thing.

    I agree with you... the minute, well a couple minutes after Perry stepped in the race, one of the first things that came into my mind was the Ritchie character.

    I've thought about it, thought that the debate would be interesting, but unless Obama changes his tactics, I don't believe he'll come anywhere near polling higher in a debate against Perry.

    Perry can have absolutely no idea about foreign policy, for instance, but his "ten words" in today's short-term attention span, survivor mode society, I believe will win the day.

    Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I'll tell you what you believe. Meteor Blades 48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam

    by gooderservice on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 05:57:06 PM PDT

  •  Transcript: (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmo, Christin, IndieGuy, ehrenfeucht games
    Jed: C.J. Cregg was getting threats so we put an agent on her. He’s a good guy. He was on my detail for a while, and he was in Rosslyn. He walked into the middle of an armed robbery, and was shot and killed after detaining one of the suspects.

    Rob: Oh. Crime. Boy, I don’t know.

    Jed: We should have a great debate, Rob. We owe it to everyone. When I was running as a governor, I didn’t know anything. I made them start Bartlet college in my dining room. Two hours every morning on foreign affairs and the military. You can do that.

    Rob: How many different ways do you think you’re gonna find to call me dumb?

    Jed: I wasn’t, Rob. But you’ve turned being un-engaged into a Zen-like thing, and you shouldn’t enjoy it so much is all. And if it appears at times as if I don’t like you, that’s the only reason why.

    Rob: You’re what my friends call a superior son'bitch. You’re an academic elitist and a snob. You’re, uh, Hollywood, you’re weak, you’re liberal, and you can’t be trusted. And if it appears from time to time as if I don’t like you, well, those are just a few of the many reasons why.

    [Music begins to play, Jed gets up]

    Jed: They’re playing my song. [turns back to Rob] In the future, if you’re wondering, 'Crime. Boy, I don’t know' is when I decided to kick your ass.

    Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I'll tell you what you believe. Meteor Blades 48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam

    by gooderservice on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 05:59:56 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for this diary. I'm continually (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Christin, Geenius at Wrok

    amazed at how often a line in one of the West Wing episodes comes up in my head to help analyze, dissect or reiterate a current situation I see in my life or in life in general (assuming there's a difference). (!) One of the most commonly recurring is when Bartlet was watching a SuperBowl and says, referring to the game, [paraphrasing] "One of the hardest things in life must be [the equivalent of] losing the SuperBowl 21-0 at halftime and realizing your need to abandon the system that got you there in the first place."  I see person after person confronted with some version of this dilemma in some area of their lives.  The wisdom contained in so many WW lines, especially the first four years when Sorkin ran things, is really startling.

    I have all 7 seasons on DVD and still watch them, from time to time, even though after 10 or 11 times through the entire series I can say about half the dialogue along with the actor; the series still gives me great comfort.  I agree about the similarities in your diary re 2012; I never noticed the earlier (2008 campaign) similarities, but they're certainly there.  I don't believe Perry will be the candidate, but many call him a very gifted, slick opportunist, so maybe he will.  The mood of the country seems to be ready for a completely bullshit election and presidency, but I use dKos for my news, and it's pretty damn full of chicken little "oh noes," compared to mainstream news, which most people (and voters) still use for information, so I may be too pessimistic.  Perry may even be elected, altho Obama seems to be burrowing toward the right as fast as he can.  This country is in real trouble as long as the corporations continue to monopolize the public dialogue.

    But I digress.  I'll be watching some more WW reruns tonight.  Thanks again.

    Kick apart the structures - Seth

    by ceebee7 on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 06:13:46 PM PDT

    •  i don't use DK to for news. (0+ / 0-)

      i i use it to supplement my   news.
      this is an opinionated news site.
      like fox news is opinionated and reports from a right wing perspective.
      daily kos is not fox - i don't mean that.
      but it reports a lot of issues with opinions and slants and cherry picks to fit what it wants the narrative to be.
      i learned that a the hard way when i sent out diaries and front page posts to people at work and then found out how many mistakes were in the diary. it was humiliating.
      kinda like what michael moore does.
      he gets you to go where he wants you to go.

      rolling stone is one of the best sources.
      as it harpers. talkingpointsmemo.
      throw in andrewsulllivan.
      and realclearpolitics - NEWS ONLY.
      not their editorials.

      plus you have people posting comments here.
      which really throws it all off.

      in addition to everyone here is  political news junkie.
      i bring up stuff to people at work i read here and every single  one of them is what the hell are you talking about?

      when i stayed away from here for about nine months i noticed a HUGE difference in how i felt.
      i 'm terrified and worried here.
      needlessly at times. many many times needlessly.

      there's concerned, and then OH MY GOD IT'S DONE WE'RE DOOMED terror.
       

      You are not an Environmentalist if you support the brutal, cruel, inhuman life and slaughter of animals in Factory Farms which produce 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.

      by Christin on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 06:58:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  T&Rd for the West Wing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Christin

    Still miss that show. Was hoping for a video though. ~:(   Thanks for the memories of the best series evah!

    "The answer to violence is even more democracy. Even more humanity." Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg

    by poe on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 06:18:37 PM PDT

  •  Were t only that good.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PrahaPartizan

    ...Bill Daley is no Leo or Josh. He is just stupid.

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