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Monday, August 21, 2017

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Propaganda-in-Chief?


On Tuesday night, ABC premiered its new show, Commander in Chief, starring Geena Davis as the first female President of the United States.  Set in a post-Bush future, President Mackenzie Allen succeeds to the Oval Office when the President dies.  But, before he dies, the President has a stroke, and asks his running mate to resign, in order to allow the arch-conservative Speaker of the House to succeed to the Presidency.


"Most conservatives regard this series as the Hollywood Left’s effort to prepare the public for a Hillary Clinton presidency.  However, I determined to come at the show with an open mind.  Don’t worry, my mind was not so open that my brain leaked out."


Most conservatives regard this series as the Hollywood Left’s effort to prepare the public for a Hillary Clinton presidency.  However, I determined to come at the show with an open mind.  Don’t worry, my mind was not so open that my brain leaked out.  After watching the premiere, two times, I have some opinions.  The show is a mixed bag.  It’s not full of the preachy leftism that plagues the extreme liberal agitprop that is The West Wing.  However, it does denigrate conservatism, sometimes quite harshly.

For example, Donald Sutherland’s Speaker Templeton is derided by then Vice-President Allen’s staff as making "Genghis Khan look like Mahatma Gandhi."  Sutherland wears his white hair wildly, and looks like a thin version of Konstantin Chernenko.  When Vice President Allen is ready to resign and open the road to Templeton’s presidency, he makes some horrendous remarks about a Nigerian woman who is about to be stoned to death for adultery.  Those remarks were the icing on the cake after a rude, jerky remark about her allegedly-impending menopause.  That ticks off Allen so much that she lays down her resignation and decides to assume the office to which she is Constitutionally entitled.  At a speech before a joint session of Congress, Sutherland’s speaker Templeton arranges for the teleprompter to go suddenly dead, leaving the new President in a position to have to wing it, which she does with a flawlessness that only an actress could pull off.  All in all, this character, meant to embody conservatism, is a complete lie.  Conservatives do absolutely nothing like that.


"It was especially irksome that, when the new President was to be sworn in, the Chief Justice asked for a Bible.  The Allens looked around for one, but (the show’s villain) Speaker Templeton had one in his briefcase."


It was especially irksome that, when the new President was to be sworn in, the Chief Justice asked for a Bible.  The Allens looked around for one, but (the show’s villain) Speaker Templeton had one in his briefcase.  I am unsure if the plot message was: a) Conservative Christians are insensitive and boorish; b) Templeton was expecting to be sworn in on the spot and came prepared; or c) both.  It came off to me that the implicit message in this scene was that  Christians are insensitive and racist hypocrites.  As a Christian, I found myself offended at the notion.  I also found myself saddened that people would spread such lies, since literally no true Christian I know of remotely approaches either epithet.

I also thought that Geena Davis’ portrayal of a woman thrust into the Oval Office was far too cold-as-ice.  While the dying president was in surgery, she repositioned the Navy in order to carry out a snatch-and-grab of the Nigerian woman.  She then used unbridled intimidation on the Nigerian ambassador, playing chicken with the entirety of our Armed forces.  I know that the writers wanted to give her steel cajones, but she came off as unemotional and uncaring.  That has to change if the show plans to keep its high ratings past the first two episodes.

I sort of liked the president who died, Teddy Roosevelt Bridges.  He was a nice and confident person, even when he was on his deathbed asking Mackenzie to resign.  I think that the show would have done better to flesh out the dying president.  I also liked his Chief of Staff, who the new President Allen asked to be her chief of staff, even though they did not initially get along.  The new "first lady,"  Mr. Allen, was excellent.  The actor did an excellent job of playing a good husband who had been Mackenzie’s Vice Presidential Chief of Staff, and was now not going to take over that job in the White House.


"There were several apparent jabs at Hillary Clinton:  ’Mrs. Clinton had twenty [staffers], but that didn’t go over well...Mrs. Clinton had her office in the West Wing, but that didn’t go over well...’ "


The protocol director was hilarous as she showed Mr. Allen his new office, the "First Lady’s" office.  Very Pink!  She constantly referred to Mr. Allen as the "First Lady" or "FLOTUS" (White House speak for "First Lady of the United States).  There were several apparent jabs at Hillary Clinton:  "Mrs. Clinton had twenty [staffers], but that didn’t go over well...Mrs. Clinton had her office in the West Wing, but that didn’t go over well..."  I found myself wondering if the show’s writers were jabbing at Mrs. Clinton in order to distance the show from her impending Presidential candidacy, or in order to put her name out in front of the people and get them thinking about her as someone who is more a President than a First Lady.  After looking at the laundry list of extreme leftists affiliated with this project, I find myself thinking of it as subliminal pro-Clinton propaganda.

Which leads me to the question:  Is Commander in Chief a piece of left-wing propaganda?  Is it designed to be a subliminal Hillary Clinton campaign ad?  Is it in direct violation of the McCain-Feingold act?  Probably.  But, it’s also somewhat entertaining.  The entire "fish out of water" thing for the new President’s husband is cool.  If they keep President Allen’s character politically independent, the show will be successful.  I am less enthusiastic of the Sutherland villain.  This show is still designed to make conservatives look evil, which is a lie, and a lie known by the show’s writers and producers.

Therefore, the show has promise, but it is still liberal propaganda and must be taken as such,