Monday, September 22, 2008

What Jed Bartlet Said to Barack Obama

The New York Times has a fascinating account of an (imaginary) conversation between President Jed Bartlet and Barack Obama. It's actually written by West Wing creator (the God that is) Aaron Sorkin. Read the full piece HERE, but here's a snatch to wet your appetite...

BARTLET That was a hell of a convention.

OBAMA Thank you, I was proud of it.

BARTLET I meant the Republicans. The Us versus Them-a-thon. As a Democrat I was surprised to learn that I don’t like small towns, God, people with jobs or America. I’ve been a little out of touch but is there a mandate that the vice president be skilled at field dressing a moose —

OBAMA Look —

BARTLET — and selling Air Force Two on eBay?

OBAMA Joke all you want, Mr. President, but it worked.

BARTLET Imagine my surprise. What can I do for you, kid?

OBAMA I’m interested in your advice.

BARTLET I can’t give it to you.

OBAMA Why not?

BARTLET I’m supporting McCain.


BARTLET He’s promised to eradicate evil and that was always on my “to do” list.

God I miss the West Wing.


Anonymous said...

have just bought the complete box set (only £73 from Amazon) and there are days when its all that keeps me going. Ok, slight exaggeration but it is good.

Anonymous said...

"BARTLET I wouldn’t go that far. Brains made me look arrogant but they make you look uppity."

Interesting what Johann Hari's take on this will be. When Fraser Nelson described Obama's critics referring to him as uppity Nelson got described as racist on Hari's pages. I suspect Hari doesn't think Pres Bartlet is racist......

Obnoxio The Clown said...

"A snatch to whet my appetite"? Only a gay bloke could say that with a straight face. :o)

Anonymous said...

"The Bartlett Presidency" - one of the truly great Presidencies that the US never had.

Watch Jonathan Freedland's "President Hollywood" - screened on BBC 4 last week - still available on BBC i player.

Fiction mirrors true life - amazing - West Wing's President Santos aka Obama . Senator Arnie Vinnick aka McCain although I don't think Sarah Pallin is modelled on CJ Cregg

Anonymous said...

Lots of bad advice there. Some real advice on how to get the (over-30) white women back would have been useful. I guess they both hate Hillary too much.

Anonymous said...

Long live Sorkin.

Thank you very much for that Iain, has brightened my day!

Thought the section you decided to quote was a little...nice...on your guys though!

One thing it did get right- Obama (and the rest of the US)should be angry!

King Athelstan said...

Don't see Martin Sheen as a McCain voter though,( Don't see McCain eradicating evil either He's too steeped in it Himself.)

Anonymous said...

After the protagonists have argued out their views, Bartlett comes up with the correct answer & proves to be the smartest guy in the room.

This is terribly reassuring. If only real governments were like they are in TV land. But I find Yes Minister more lifelike.

Anonymous said...

Actually Gordon Brown probably is the smartest guy in the Cabinet. That is not meant to be a cheering thought.

Anonymous said...

A left-wing wet dream born from the mentalist conviction of the Dems that the Illuminati, the Greys and Karl Rove conspired to "steal" the 2000 and 2004 elections. It is usually far too excruciatingly *worthy* to watch.

Incidentally, Maureen Dowd and people like her are the reason the Dems will lose this time too. The "clinging to guns and religion" thing, whilst being a gaffe, was also the mask slipping.

Anonymous said...

Guanabat said...
Don't see Martin Sheen as a McCain voter though...

In US terms, Sheen is so far to the left, he's almost disappeared off the radar! I do remember him being quoted on Northern Ireland, and being described as an Irish-American. I didn't realise that Mexico was historically a part of Ireland.

Anonymous said...

West Wing?

Come on guys - its not real.

Get a grip.

Anonymous said...

As I read this, I can hear Martin Sheen saying the lines. All that's missing is Toby and Josh butting in.

Iain, you said it right. Man, I miss this show. And not because politically it's a Guardian reader's wet dream (it is, and I am one), but because it's just so funny.

Given that he could write a whole show before breakfast, I can't help thinking that Sorkin probably dashed out this sparkling exchange in about 5 minutes too. Mad, talented b*****d.

Anonymous said...


I miss it sosososo much. That was brilliant, by the way.

Conservative Cabbie said...

Great writing, shame about the politics!

The West Wing was the best thing ever on TV and although I miss it, it really had nowhere to go.

How about West Wing 2, where a Gun-Totin', Moose-shootin', creationist-preachin' Republican woman becomes President and starts to lead a wayward America back to a socially conservative utopia.

Trouble is, the way those pathetic liberals in Hollywood have reacted, they would probably struggle to find anyone wanting to play the lead.

Anonymous said...

Try the DVDs of 'Sports Night', Paul T. No British TV company was ever going to buy it, because it's set in the studios of an American sports channel, so there's masses of rounders, men's basketball and that silly version of rugby with a symmetrical ball; but trust me, if you like Sorkin's writing, you'll like it. See the wikipedia article, which for some reason I can't link to.

I'm emphatically not on Sorkin's side of politics, but I enjoyed 'The West Wing'. I find I don't miss it as much as I thought I would, however. Martin Sheen's Bartlett increasingly became almost as self-satisfied as Martin Sheen, and au fond, it was elitist kleenex fodder for lefties.

Anonymous said...

Correction, having read the wikipedia article I referenced:

In 2004, ABC1, a British offshoot of ABC, began broadcasting Season 1 of Sports Night in the United Kingdom for the first time, although the second season did not air until January 2006.

Conservative Cabbie said...

Off topic - these ads from the NRA are being released. I just find them culturally interesting, so different from us on this side of the atlantc.

Anonymous said...

I was laughing away (loved the Flintstones joke), agreeing with every liberal word until I got to the completely unnecessary, completely unpleasant line about McCain's daughter being forced into "a loveless marriage to a teenage hood". How the f*** does Aaron Sorkin know that? This is exactly why they think we're arrogant and exactly why we'll go down to a less able candidate in November. Again.

Conservative Cabbie said...


Absolutely agree, that line was outrageous. I would have thought Sorkin was more intelligent than that.

He is the best writer of dialogue I've ever read.