If you’ve never watched ABC’s TV show, Scandal, I can’t honestly recommend it too hardily. It weaves together drama and politics, so it’s right up my alley in that respect, though three seasons in it has become too exasperating to care about.
One of the great things, about it, though, is how much it helps me appreciate the political leaders we have. Obama, Romney, McCain? I would vote for any one of them over any of the candidates in Scandalverse’s last election. The guy I would have voted for, Governor Samuel Reston (D-Md), was guilty of killing a man and letting his wife go to prison for it… and yet he was still preferable to President Fitz Grant (R-CA) and Vice President Sally Langston (R/I-GA).
While my reasons for not liking Sally Langston are manifest, Grant is a bit tougher because on paper he should be the perfect Moderate Republican style candidate for me. His biggest problem, though, is that he has the emotional maturity of a thirteen year old boy. Reston might bomb Ulaanbaator because it will improve his re-election odds, Langston because Jesus speaks to her and told her to… but Fitz would bomb Ulaanbaator because he’s sad and he doesn’t want to be president anymore and he’s sad.
In a different timeline, Mark Sanford could have been president. He was the exact sort of candidate that the very conservative voters were lacking. Conservative, ambitious, well-informed, and with a modicum of the credibility Newt Gingrich lacked. Then, of course, he went hiking down the Appalachian Trail.
You don’t get to be president after something like that. But initially, my thought was along the lines of a guy who otherwise might have been okay as president who might have simply gotten caught up in something that disqualified him. And even though I never thought he should have been elected back to congress, with the damage done I did kind of wish him the best on his new marriage and his second chance at happiness.
Pretty much everything that has happened since has convinced me that he is the real life Fitz Grant, minus the moderation and good looks. While I can understand the frustrations of dealing with an angry ex-wife and custody arguments, there are certain things you don’t do even if your spouse is in the wrong (I’m not saying she is – I’m just saying that it doesn’t matter if she is).
At the very least, he seems to have some pretty significant impulse control problems, and a tendency to over-indulge his emotions. Which makes me glad that he was denied the opportunity to run for president, regardless of the Trail Hike.