Tuesday, November 08, 2005

My Favorite Republican


According to today's New York Post, Sunday's live West Wing debate episode "gave a boost" to Alan Alda's Republican candidate, according to Zogby International polls taken before and after the show:

"Last week, in the days leading up to the debate, Santos (Jimmy Smits) led Vinick (Alan Alda) by a margin of 59 percent to 29 percent. After the debate, in which Vinick apparently impressed many viewers, Zogby found that the gap had narrowed, although Vinick still trails Santos significantly — 54 percent for Santos, 38 percent for Vinick."

I think it's been an astonishing and resurgent year for The West Wing, and my only regret is that one of these guys eventually has to lose. I had been concerned that Vinick was unrealistically moral and decent to be a believable Republican candidate, but the writers cleverly surrounded him with true believers who manage to represent their point of view without being mustache-twirlers.

Still, anyone who thought Alda was being set up by a "liberal show" to take a fall Sunday night had to be impressed with the evenhanded way the episode presented the two candidates. Not to mention the fact that this "phony" debate featured a more nuanced and enlightening discussion of health care and prescription drug policy than I've seen on the 24-hour news channels!

If only our real debates were as spirited and intelligent, and our actual candidates were as intellectually honest, think how great our democracy could be.

(All that having been said, of course I'm voting for Santos)

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