House of Clinton?
I’m going to try and avoid spoilers, but consider this fair warning that the subject of this post is House of Cards. More specifically this post is about how the precursor White House fairy tale known as The West Wing has been officially devoured and deposited like a tantalizing plate of Freddy’s ribs.
If this has been mentioned I haven’t read it yet, but I’m definitely catching a whiff of the Clintons lurking behind Francis and Claire Underwood, which would be timely. Mother Jones recently reported on the return of those “crazy Clinton conspiracies of the 1990s“:
During the 1992 campaign, some right-wingers whispered that Bill Clinton was a Manchurian candidate who had been brainwashed by the Russians when he was a Rhodes scholar at Oxford and took a student trip to Moscow. Others circulated fliers—this was before the internet hit big—claiming he had fathered the son of an African American prostitute. And there were claims that the Clintons were connected to a major drug-running operation that had been based in Arkansas and tied to a series of murders. Yes, murders. Dozens of murders.
Yes, the Clinton body count is a rabbit hole alright, and the paranoid right is salivating over the inevitable Hillary run for 2016.
In the meantime, we can enjoy a work of fiction that political insiders have described as 99% accurate. The 1% that’s unrealistic? Getting an Education bill passed so quickly. That meme was spread by Kevin Spacey as he made the media rounds promoting the Valentine’s day launch of Season 2:
Spacey spoke of a specific day when he had finished working on some of the episodes for the upcoming season and upon coming home had turned on the news. Watching the news he began to feel that the story-lines House of Cards works up are really not that “crazy.”
He also said that after talking to lots of different people, most said that they feel that “99% of the show is accurate and the one percent that isn’t is that you could never get an education bill passed that fast.”
The insinuation of this comment is that murdering those who get in your way, politically, is less unrealistic than the speed in which the show depicts the passage of a major piece of legislation. Kevin Spacey delivered this comment during nearly every interview I saw him in, because it was good for a few chuckles.
House of Cards does strive to be realistic, which is why pundits like Chris Hayes play themselves. There is also a minor storyline involving a hacker forced to work for the FBI that I found interesting, because the fictional character tries to leverage help for the real-life Barrett Brown. It was a curious reference that will hopefully bring more awareness to Brown’s case.
I think the creators of House of Cards are doing us a favor by trying to more accurately depict the scandalous, conniving world of American politics. And it appears insiders agree: this is how business gets done in DC.