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Michael Hirsh Still Misses West Wing

John on May 16, 2008 at 3:09 pm

Poor Michael Hirsh. Its been two years and he still hasn’t recovered from the cancellation of The West Wing.

Today the lead article at Newsweek (at least this morning) was this piece by Michael Hirsh. In it, Hirsh rehearses a litany of Bush failures and goes on to offer his own alternate history of the last eight years. He gives away the game early on when he reaches for the familiar BDS lexicon:

In any case, along with their trumped-up case on WMD, the Bushies never successfully made the argument that Al Qaeda grew out of a lack of democracy in Arabia…

And on it goes, blaming Bush and Cheney for America’s decline in the world amidst charges of shadow governments and an end to “checks and balances.” The US is in tatters…cats and dogs living together!

In contrast to all this messy reality, Hirsh envisions a utopian America that might have been:

Fixing Afghanistan was always going to be, even under the best circumstances, brutally hard. But contrary to what you might hear, it was possible, had we stayed focused.


[H]ad anyone in Washington been paying serious attention, the worst of the credit crunch—and loss of prestige—could have been avoided.

The secret to this lovely alternate history is having a chief executive more sensitive to European concerns, most especially global warming. I wonder what alternate contender for the office of President Hirsh has in mind? Perhaps President Bartlet?

Hirsh ends his piece with a plea to the reader to keep on believing in what could have been. It’s a line worthy of Aaron Sorkin:

This is not pipe-dreaming; it is the history that easily might have been.

Well, actually Mike, pipe-dreaming is exactly what this is. I’m not sure what else envisioning a perfect, trouble-free version of the last eight years could be called. But, hey, if you’d prefer to call it “speculative fiction” I’ll accept that. What it’s surely not is anything related to the real world, where trouble intercedes into even the best laid plans of mice and men.

It’s pretty amazing that a major news weekly would publish something so obviously self-indulgent, not to mention absurd. But welcome to the Reality Based Community. While you’re here, don’t forget to clap for Tinkerbell.

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Category: Politics |

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