Will Hawkeye be the next US President?

People that know me will already be aware that I’m a massive fan of The West Wing – the US TV series with Martin Sheen playing President Josiah Bartlett. Well I’m now onto the final series of the box set I treated myself to at Christmas (I’m really proud of myself that I’ve managed to spread it out this long – there was a danger I’d watch them all within about 2 weeks).

In this final series we are concentrating a lot on the race to succeed President Bartlett. The Democratic nomination was won by Congressman Matt Santos (played by Jimmy Smits), while it’s Senator Arnold Vinick who is the Republican candidate (played by Alan Alda).

And what’s interesting about this is that I’ve had a real soft spot for Alan Alda ever since he played one of my favourite TV characters of all time – Hawkeye Pierce from M*A*S*H.

So even though all the main characters from the show are Democrats, even though Santos is meant to be ‘our guy’, even though I naturally lean to the Democrats anyway – part of me wants Hawkeye to win.

And that got me thinking about politics. Is it really as simple as having a great public image (and I use the term ‘simple’ partly in jest as I know that it can be very difficult to ‘create’ a great public image)? My local MP is Ken Clarke and while I’m not particularly a fan of his politics, from what I’ve seen I quite like the man – so I’m not unhappy to have him representing me.

So is that what’s it’s about to get elected?

Maybe it is and actually maybe that is where a lot of MPs are failing. I think most of them know that a good public image is important. But the key thing that I think most of them forget is that if you spend a huge amount of time and energy trying to create one it almost certainly backfires – you look like you’re trying to create an image and for the majority of the British public that is about the worst thing you can do.

The main reasons I like Hawkeye Pierce and Ken Clarke (how many times have they been compared in the same sentence before?) is that they don’t try too hard – they just seem like nice guys. They seem like the kind of people who care about others, can get on with others, are genuine in their beliefs and would stand up for those beliefs – exactly the kind of qualities needed for an MP.

So I wonder if Hawkeye will win – if you’ve seen it please don’t tell me.

One Response to Will Hawkeye be the next US President?

  1. Mike Smith says:

    Never mind the US, what about the UK?
    Party conference season always presents oportunities, and this year looks like being no exception. With the Lib-Dems trying to carve out an identity for themselves and emphasise how different they are from the others, and the other two trying to jump into bed with each other and claim how similar they are, does this leave a gap to be exploited?

    In a recent poll, 67% of voters disapproved of the Government’s record and 54% said Brown should step down. But what’s the alternative? Apparently people don’t know. One-third were unable to choose between Brown, Cameron and Clegg when asked who would make the best PM, and the front-runner (Cameron) only got 35%. Rather worryingly, 15% intend to vote for the “other” parties rather then one of the main three. If this support went to the BNP, it would be a disaster.

    Is it time for another push? I am amazed how all the implications of the expenses scandal seem to have slipped away. The Telegraph tried to revive it yesterday, but the establishment seems to have taken the view that if they ignore it, it will go away, and the ploy seems to be working. Surely the burning question to any political party at their annual conference is, what are they going to do to improve the moral behaviour of their members, make MP’s more accountable to their constituents, and restore the public’s respect for politics?

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