Lawrence O'Donnell and Richard Stengel

What Would President Bartlet Do?
An email conversation about the news of the day.
Aug. 10 2000 10:44 AM

Lawrence O'Donnell and Richard Stengel

VIEW ALL ENTRIES

President Bartlet is the president we would like to have, not the one we do have or ever have had. So, no, he doesn't do much pandering. I know people think he is supposed to be Clintonesque, but no one here intends that. He's a Democrat. That's where the Clinton comparison begins and ends for us. A writer for another TV show asked me recently what's going to happen to The West Wing if Bush wins. I didn't know what he meant. We think of the show as so clearly unconnected to the real world that we don't see why that would make any difference. But maybe some of the magic is that the audience connects it to the real world, even if we don't, and with a Republican White House, they won't be able to do that. I'm not worried. A hit TV show just needs 15 to 20 million viewers. If Bush wins, there are bound to be 20 million saddened Democrats who will need The West Wing more than ever.

Lawrence O'Donnell is a co-producer and writer on The West Wing and writes the "National Affairs" column for New York magazine. Richard Stengel, the editor of Time.com, is the author of You're Too Kind: A Brief History of Flattery (click here to buy it). He was also chief speechwriter and senior adviser on Bill Bradley's presidential campaign.

TODAY IN SLATE

Sports Nut

Grandmaster Clash

One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

Uh-Oh. The World’s Oceans Have Broken Their All-Time Heat Record.

The NFL Explains How It Sees “the Role of the Female”

Future Tense

Amazon Is Now a Gadget Company

Food

How to Order Chinese Food

First, stop thinking of it as “Chinese food.”

The NFL Should Lose Its Tax-Exempt Status, Which It Never Should Have Had Anyway

The Country Where Women Aren’t Allowed to Work Once They’re 36 Weeks’ Pregnant

The XX Factor
Sept. 18 2014 11:40 AM The Country Where Women Aren’t Allowed to Work Once They’re 36 Weeks’ Pregnant
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 18 2014 8:20 PM A Clever Attempt at Explaining Away a Vote Against the Farm Bill
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 18 2014 6:02 PM A Chinese Company Just Announced the Biggest IPO in U.S. History
  Life
Outward
Sept. 18 2014 4:15 PM Reactions to a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Reveal Transmisogyny
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 18 2014 8:07 PM Crying Rape False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 4:33 PM The Top 5 Dadsplaining Moments From The Cosby Show
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 6:48 PM By 2100 the World's Population Could Be 11 Billion
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 18 2014 3:35 PM Do People Still Die of Rabies? And how do you know if an animal is rabid?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.