Easy Chair — From the May 2013 issue

Power Rangers

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What, then, is the Washingtonian, this smug and satisfied man? Behold him as he ambles toward you on the sidewalks of Capitol Hill, phone clamped to his ear, talking loudly so that all might know his significance. Note well his blue suit, blue tie, the lapel pin announcing his patriotism or his lofty elected position or his allegiance to one trade association or another. What manner of man is he?

The makers of our TV shows think they know. In 1999, they gave us The West Wing, a beloved program about a culture-warring president and his gang of jaded aides who, though they harbor no illusions, try to do what is right for the country. The show was a fantasy of what liberals hoped the powerful were like — as Bill Clinton reportedly said in 2000, it was “renewing people’s faith in public service.”

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