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Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

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Hullabaloo


Saturday, March 16, 2013

 
QOTD: Gene Sperling

by digby

Actually this is from a couple of days ago during his Reddit chat:

On "The West Wing" -- I always have answered that it is pretty realistic, except that we are not as funny, don't walk as fast and most of us are not as good looking. The West Wing show aimed for reality, except that they often have to condense a 9 month process to 60 minutes. When President Obama asked me how life in the first six months of his administration during the financial crisis compared to normal times -- I gave the same reply: that we were being forced to do 9 months of policy work in what seemed like 60 minutes.

What I liked most about The West Wing -- and what was most realistic to me -- was that instead of portraying people in Washington as either cynical or naive, our boss, Aaron Sorkin did a great job at portraying serious and deeply committed and well-intentioned people trying to do good things in what is a very difficult, complex and political environment. That is how I think most of us -- on both sides of the aisle -- see our efforts. The West Wing captured that and I think it has inspired many young people to go into public service.

Finally, for me the best thing about 4 years of consulting and part-time writing for the West Wing is that it is how I met my wife Allison Abner. She was a writer on the show, and I met her the first day in my interview.

Ok.. that was a fun one, now back to the real West Wing issues.....

My oh my, these people do think highly of themselves don't they?

The West Wing was a sappy television show about a fictional White House. It was a formulaic as they come, except it had some good snappy dialog. It's nice that it portrayed the government as being filled with "deeply committed and well-intentioned people trying to do good things in a very difficult, complex and political environment." I'm sure everyone enjoyed believing that. But it is not real, and any sense among these people in the White House that they are the heroes of our national political drama is just plain puerile. And kind of dangerous, to be honest. That kind of over-weening self-regard doesn't exactly lend itself to the questioning of one's assumptions. (Like whether or not we need to keep pursuing the White Whale of a Grand Bargain no matter what the circumstances.)

A little humility among our leading lights would be so refreshing right now. After all, it's not as if things aren't monumentally fucked up in nearly every way.


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