I stopped watching after around six or seven consecutive season five episodes pissed me off to no end, but apparently the West Wing is making a lot of buzz this year with a fictional Presidential campaign. Check this out from Washington Whispers
: White House and GOP insiders say they feel like suckers after falsely believing President Bush 's re-election would be met with acceptance from Hollywood. Their tip: Last month's West Wing episode in which the Alan Alda character blasted pols who use religion for political advantage. "Just when Hollywood was trying to get back in our good graces," said one insider, "they used that offensive script." Bushies think the script was targeting their boss. But Lawrence O'Donnell, a former Democratic Hill staffer, tells us he was just writing a good story, and he adds that the Alda character is a Republican presidential candidate. Then he let Bush have it. "If the White House worries that when that subject comes up it is somehow aimed at the president, well, you know, who told them to use religion in campaigning so much?" asks O'Donnell. "There's no one in our modern political history who has used his religiosity more deliberately and actively and falsely in campaigning than George Bush, second only to . . . Bill Clinton ."
Interestingly, Zogby is conducted a pretty extensive poll
of West Wing viewers to help determine who wins the television election. Right now, Jimmy Smits (Democrat Mark Santos) is leading Alan Alda (Republican Arnold Vinick) by a comfortable margin: Viewers of NBC's The West Wing would prefer that Democratic Congressman Matthew Santos were elected the next President, giving him a 16-point lead over Republican Senator Arnold Vinick, a new Zogby Interactive poll finds. The interactive poll of 5,505 West Wing viewers was conducted from February 18 to 25, 2005, and has a margin of error of +/-0.7 percentage points.
Santos, the Texas Congressman played by Jimmy Smits, is the favorite of a plurality in the poll, which was weighted to ensure it reflects the partisan breakdown of the U.S. population, and not just the demographic that views The West Wing frequently or occasionally. Arnold Vinick, the California Senator played by veteran actor Alan Alda, trails significantly. The poll also found one-in-five viewers (19%) still undecided on the race, while 9% are not willing to support either candidate. (...)
Part of Vinick's problems can be attributed to a gender gap. While he and Santos are tied among men, each getting 35% of the vote, Santos holds a commanding lead among women, where he outpolls Vinick by 53% to 22%.
Vinick also has failed to sew up Republican support. While Santos has the support of three-quarters of Democrats (74%), Vinick only has a lock on 49% of Republicans. Among independents, meanwhile, Santos leads 39% to 26%.
Considering Vinick's comments about politicians and religion, it doesn't surprise me in the slightest that he is struggling among Republicans.
Here is the conroversial exchange
:Senator Vinick: "Look...I respect Reverend Butler, & I respect his church too much to use it for my own political purposes. That's exactly what I would be doing If I went down there this sunday. The truth is that it would be an act of political phoniness. I may be wrong but I supspect our churches have enough political phonies in them."
Reporter: "Senator, do you or do you not..."
Senator Vinick: "I don't see how we can have a seperation of Church & State in this government, if you have to pass a religious test, to get in this government. And I want to warn everyone in the press & all the voters out there, If you demand expressions of Religious Faith from politicians, you are just begging to be lied to. They won't all lie to you, but a lot of them will, and it will be the easiest lie they ever had to tell to get your votes. So every day until the end of this campaign, I will answer any question anyone has on government, but if you have a quesion on Religion...Please go to church. Thank You."