Blasphemy: ‘Josiah Barlett was a mediocre president’

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Ian Millhiser can’t understand why the left wasn’t as disappointed with fictional President Jed Bartlet as they are with President Obama:

For seven seasons, the West Wing was therapy for thousands of Bush-weary progressives who fantasized about being governed by a Nobel Prize winning scholar who didn’t believe that high-income tax cuts were a panacea. Now that America actually is governed by a Nobel Prize winning scholar with a real domestic policy agenda, however, it’s time to be honest about President Bartlet’s legacy. While ability to rhetorically shameconservatives made him an appealing fantasy, the substance of Bartlet’s policies ranged from uninspired on issues like health care to downright destructive on Social Security and education. Bartlet had a lackluster economic record. He gave away a seat on the Supreme Court to the far right, and he consistently favored symbolic cultural victories over real opportunities to make life better for American families.

H/t to Andrew Sullivan.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.