Jimmy Smits who played the fictional senator and presidential candidate Matthew Santos with the very real Sen. Barack Obama in 2005.
— Photo taken fromThe (U.K.) Guardian
The above photo is from a fun little story from The Guardian about last two seasons of The West Wing and its coincidental resemblance to Sen. Barack Obama's run for the presidency. (Read the whole thing.)
Except the "coincidence" may not be as coincidental as you think. When TWW writers were laying out the storyline for Santos's campaign, they did what they always do: They called on a real-life person working in politics to get some pointers and to consult on the storyline.
The consultant they called in? David Axelrod. Yes, that David Axelrod, Sen. Obama's long-time top political adviser and the guy who ran Sen. Obama's 2004 run for the Senate and his current run for president.
Here's a little snippet:
In the TV show, Santos begins as the rank outsider up against a national figure famous for standing at the side of a popular Democratic president. There are doubts about Santos's inexperience, having served just a few years in Congress, and about his ability to persuade voters to back an ethnic minority candidate - even as his own ethnic group harbour suspicions that he might not identify with them sufficiently.
But the soaring power of his rhetoric, his declaration that the old divisions belong in the past and his sheer magnetism, ensure that he comes from behind in a fiercely close primary campaign and draws level with his once all-commanding opponent. Every aspect of that storyline has come true for Barack Obama. Axelrod, now chief strategist for the Obama campaign, recently joked in an email to Attie: "We're living your scripts!"
What's more, the West Wing had the Republicans choose between a Christian preacher - a pre-echo of Mike Huckabee - and an older, maverick senator from the American west whose liberal positions on some issues had earned the distrust of the party's conservative base: a dead ringer for John McCain.
In the West Wing, the McCain figure emerges comfortably as the party's choice. Apparently the character was not based on the current Republican frontrunner, but was simply a function of the casting of Alan Alda.
I've only started S5 of The West Wing (thanks to judicious lending by kurukami), so I can't speak to the similarities.
So for you, a little video where the fictional Santos announces his candidacy for president. The theme of his announcement? Hope. And if the school behind Jimmy Smits looks kind of familiar, it should.
Well, I'm off to GOTV by annoying my fellow Americans nationwide tonight. I will resuming spamming the lot of you after a get home from the phonebank.
Yes We Can!