Is “House of Cards” the most tea-party show ever?

posted at 7:21 pm on February 18, 2014 by Allahpundit

I’m going to say no, but not because I quibble with any of Will Rahn’s six supporting points. I just don’t think the show cares about policy or ideology at all. Even Frank’s major accomplishments, like the education bill in season one, come off as things he does to keep busy will he’s waiting for his traps to be sprung, not anything he’s deeply committed to.

And yet, how many political shows over the years have held up entitlement reform as something worth doing? Imagine how that topic would have been handled on, say, “The West Wing.”

1. Entitlement reform is presented as a necessity.

“Why keep fighting it?” says Frank Underwood, the House Whip-turned-Vice President antihero, as he persuades his fellow Democrats to raise the retirement age to 68. Indeed, everyone on the show sees boosting the retirement age as essential to keeping Social Security solvent, with the exception of limp-wristed liberal Rep. Donald Blythe, who eventually caves anyway.

2. Christians actually come off looking good.

Rachel Posner, the long-suffering prostitute enlisted by Underwood and his aide Doug Stamper to help Rep. Peter Russo destroy himself, finds a path to redemption in the form of a Maryland church and its attractive, kindhearted and weirdly hip congregants. This does not sit well with Doug, who looks positively Demonic as he demands that Rachel stop attending the church because he fears she’ll tell someone about Underwood’s schemes.

3. All the Democrats are beyond terrible.

Underwood, who ascends to the Vice Presidency at the start of the season, has murdered two people since the series began, including Russo and Zoe Barnes, a young female reporter/former girlfriend he tosses in front of a moving train. His boss, President Walker, is weak and easily manipulated. His replacement as House whip, Jackie Sharp (played by the great Molly Parker), destroys the life of her mentor and father figure for a shot at more power. And Raymond Tusk, the liberal billionaire who really runs the administration until Underwood shows up, is more than happy to black out much of the East Coast so long as it gets him some political leverage.

There’s more where that came from but point three is key. Is it that the Democrats are beyond terrible or is it that everyone is beyond terrible and it so happens that all of the major players are Democrats? In the 11 or so hours of season two, Republicans are onscreen for about 20 minutes. That’s not, I think, because they’re uninteresting in their virtuousness, it’s because the show’s all about Frank scheming to grasp power and all the people in his way are members of his own party. It would be bizarre if the producers believed one party was significantly less corrupt than the other given that the whole point of the show — I thought — is that Washington, as a collective, rewards corruption and rewards absolute corruption absolutely. (Which is Rahn’s sixth point, actually.) Morally, it’s a toxic waste dump and Frank is the fish who’s evolved a tiny bit past the others in learning to survive while swimming in it. But everyone who’s swimming alongside him has, by definition, learned to adapt too, so it goes without saying that the Republicans are also rotten. We just don’t get to see it. Maybe in season three?

In fact, if you want to pick nits, it’s the Republicans — specifically the tea party — who almost undo the big entitlement reform bill by preventing a quorum. They have to be dragged to the floor, literally, by Capitol Police so that Democrats can pass the sort of fiscal reform that conservatives have been screaming about for years. You could, if you like, read that as the show accusing conservatives of being stubborn to the point of stupidity, insisting on looking even the biggest gift horse in the mouth. Either way, it’s the Democrats who get all the glory for being forward-thinking budget-balancers in the HOC universe. As for Rachel Posner, I got the sense that she was less moved by the faith itself than by the friendship and community the church provided her. (Yeah, I know — leave it to an atheist to say that.) She was the loneliest person in the world, tormented by Stamper, then she made a friend on the bus and finally had someone to talk to. The church welcomed her in — at which point she and her friend began a lesbian affair, which further complicates the alleged religious message here. I think Rachel wanted a safe haven, not Christianity per se.

Anyway. I have no HOC clips to offer you so here’s a reminder from Jimmy Kimmel that America’s low-information voters probably are gullible enough to be serially exploited by even a liar as bad as Frank Underwood.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Coulda sworn this headline was up over an hour ago.

LashRambo on February 18, 2014 at 7:27 PM

I have never watched this program…

OmahaConservative on February 18, 2014 at 7:28 PM

Spacey is just as insufferable as Obama.

Murphy9 on February 18, 2014 at 7:30 PM

Is it that the Democrats are beyond terrible or is it that everyone is beyond terrible and it so happens that all of the major players are Democrats?

Both.

And it could very well be the most honest portrayal of Washington politics ever made.

Myron Falwell on February 18, 2014 at 7:30 PM

I say yes, only because it’s an accurate assessment of Washington as a whole which stokes my inner Tea Party fire to run them all out on a rail. :)

I appreciate that for once the Republicans aren’t seen as the enemy, and that the corruption isn’t glamorized even as the Underwoods succeed. It’s filthy dirty, and if I take anything from the show it’s desire for reform more than ever. Great show though. I’m taking this season as filler, season three tying up loose ends and hopefully bringing them down.

Bee on February 18, 2014 at 7:42 PM

OT – saw this on Hot Gas’ facebook page.

Peggy Wilson “Conservatives band together?” LOL
You T bangers are all but finished!

Peggy Wilson must be HAL.

22044 on February 18, 2014 at 7:44 PM

Barry loves it and admires the Kevin Spacey character. What does that say about him? I’m not sure, unless lying, extortion and murder are qualities to be admired.

TarheelBen on February 18, 2014 at 7:47 PM

Is this a TV show?

RDH on February 18, 2014 at 7:48 PM

Is “House of Cards” the most tea-party show ever?

Whhhaaaaaatttt???? Allah wins the trolling click through award with this headline. Geez!

captnjoe on February 18, 2014 at 7:51 PM

Allah, with all the money Netflix must be paying you for these commercials you should be able to retire in style.

WhatSlushfund on February 18, 2014 at 7:53 PM

It kinda is because Frank Underwood… initials F.U. … episode 1 of season 2 highlighted that little gem… Frank, is an evil bastard. And frank is also a democrat. None of the republicans are so far evil. They’re frequently hapless, stupid, out of their depth, etc… but not outright evil. And the democrats in this show are all soul sucking vampires.

Karmashock on February 18, 2014 at 7:54 PM

Without having watched a second of it, I’ll bet this is a Hollywood liberals’ idea of what the tea party is. Just like the depiction you see, in numerous movies, of conservatives, this is what they really think of the tea party. Watch it carefully and you’ll see the subtle shots. As I said, I haven’t watched it, but I’m still willing to bet I’m right.

bflat879 on February 18, 2014 at 7:56 PM

Is “House of Cards” the most tea-party show ever?

No its not. And this recent conservative habit of trying to find secret conservative messages in products from Hollywood, some far fetched interpretation really is embarrassing. The film industry is leftwing, get over it!

Dont get me wrong, HoC is actually the only show I watch and I enjoy it immensely, but its clearly a show riddled with liberal messages.

1. Entitlement reform is presented as a necessity.

And its advanced by a murdering psychopath, the anti-hero. And the TEA-Party is portrayed as obstructing it for the sole purpose of being in love with opposing Democrats.

2. Christians actually come off looking good.

Rachel Posner…

…the ex-prostitute, hobby-lesbian kind of Christian!

3. All the Democrats are beyond terrible.

Yes, the Democrats are portrayed as ruthless and powerhungry, but Republicans are portrayed as inept fools that cant be taken seriously. No comparison. People will always choose the strong horse.

The show further advances leftist memes like the necessity of education reform on the federal level. As if it were self-evident that nationalization is an improvement in and of itself. And small stuff like that buried in assumptions and setting political norms is much more powerful than the portrayal and development of certain characters.

Valkyriepundit on February 18, 2014 at 7:56 PM

It is a terrific show — even if the smut is over the top. Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright are phenomenal actors, all the supporting cast does an excellent job as well. I love the cinematography and camera work in the show as well very clever.

As for whether or not this is a tea-party show; “You might think that, I couldn’t possibly comment.”

joshleguern on February 18, 2014 at 7:58 PM

Do you really think that Kevin Fowler would headline a series which portrayed Conservatives in a more favorable light than his own kind?

Let me help you with that. No. And I say this without ever having seen the show.

I wish I could deny his acting ability, but I cannot. Yet, if you look carefully at his most popular movies, the trend is clearly not favorable to a Tea Party mentality, and he is an extreme leftist in his activism.

Of course, The West Wing was often praised for being middle-of-the-road, which is an utterly insane analysis.

Freelancer on February 18, 2014 at 8:06 PM

After the way the Dems behave in this show, how are they going handle it when a Republican becomes Prez?

The new President will call a session of Congress and have all the Dems beheaded and put on a pike and 10 of the GOP just to keep them in line.

His name: Vladimir Cruz

KirknBurker on February 18, 2014 at 8:08 PM

…don’t care!

KOOLAID2 on February 18, 2014 at 8:08 PM

I fell in love when he crushed the teachers union in episode 6.

Xanatos90 on February 18, 2014 at 8:09 PM

After the way the Dems behave in this show, how are they going handle it when a Republican becomes Prez?

The new President will call a session of Congress and have all the Dems beheaded and put on a pike and 10 of the GOP just to keep them in line.

His name: Vladimir Cruz

KirknBurker on February 18, 2014 at 8:08 PM

West Wing might get rebooted.

22044 on February 18, 2014 at 8:12 PM

I fell in love when he crushed the teachers union in episode 6.

Xanatos90 on February 18, 2014 at 8:09 PM

I thought the debate was funny.

Who would Spinella be IRL? Trumka?

22044 on February 18, 2014 at 8:13 PM

Yes, you see how cold bloodedly pragmatic they are, whether it was breaking up the union picket with food, having an ‘evil’pipeline company expedite their medical supplies out of the Sudan, for a clean energy company, recall how Raymond Tusk’s money was ok, when it helped them, but when it went to the Republicans, that was the last straw,

narciso on February 18, 2014 at 8:26 PM

3. All the Democrats are beyond terrible.

This is what convinced Dana Perino on The Five to say the program was worth watching (as if she has a clue). The real truth, though, is that the Democratic party is currently split into two camps: so-called “moderates” who practice realpolitik, and the more saintly radicals who call themselves progressives. This show is about the war between true-believers, the pure-at-heart “real” progressives, and the evil Establishment Dems who mess up utopia with all their plotting, scheming and petty greed for power.

Thus, Robin Wright plays one of the power elite who control the charities, but she hires and attempts to corrupt the saintly charity leader who never compromises her integrity. She’s like a Joan of Arc figure in the story. On and on you see this conflict between the good, saintly true-believers and the evil (mostly Southern) old-style Dems.

The show is so dismissive towards Republicans that it doesn’t even feature them!

To understand what the show would be like in an alternate universe where conservative values were widespread, imagine a soap opera like this, only one which pits corrupt RINOs like Murkowsky and, say, Boehner, against more idealized figures representing types like Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz. Then imagine this soap opera played out before the entire country where not a single Dem is included in any of the action. That’s what’s happening here. Republicans have been completely cut out and ignored because they matter so little to the writers and producers of this show.

Burke on February 18, 2014 at 8:42 PM

I’m very sensitive to liberal sucker punches in TV and movies, and with all of the horrible Democrat characters in the show, any stridency or ineptitude from Republicans washes out completely. Some Republicans come off as nice, in fact.

The only thing that annoys me is the ubiquitous lesbian relationship. Every show I’ve watched the past 10 years or so has required a gay affair. According to Hollywood, two women can no longer just be friends. It’s impossible. No, really. It’s impossible.

Dongemaharu on February 18, 2014 at 9:05 PM

They did incorporate the GOP, more in this season, the Senate majority leader, a Rubio type, and at least one Tea Party figure,

narciso on February 18, 2014 at 9:09 PM

To understand what the show would be like in an alternate universe where conservative values were widespread, imagine a soap opera like this, only one which pits corrupt RINOs like Murkowsky and, say, Boehner, against more idealized figures representing types like Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz. Then imagine this soap opera played out before the entire country where not a single Dem is included in any of the action. That’s what’s happening here. Republicans have been completely cut out and ignored because they matter so little to the writers and producers of this show.

Burke on February 18, 2014 at 8:42 PM

Cha ching my man.. Cha ching!

preallocated on February 18, 2014 at 9:18 PM

To understand what the show would be like in an alternate universe where conservative values were widespread, imagine a soap opera like this, only one which pits corrupt RINOs like Murkowsky and, say, Boehner, against more idealized figures representing types like Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz. Then imagine this soap opera played out before the entire country where not a single Dem is included in any of the action. That’s what’s happening here. Republicans have been completely cut out and ignored because they matter so little to the writers and producers of this show.

Burke on February 18, 2014 at 8:42 PM

Ironically, that’s what makes this an honest portrayal of Washington politics. The GOPe is irrelevant to the national landscape, mainly because the RINOs who lead the GOPe ARE corrupt pols like Bohenor, Cantor, Paul Ryan, McConnell and Grahamnesty. They work so hard to be loved by the Dems while cutting off their rank and file at any turn.

Any other scenario in which there were more people like Cruz, Lee and Rand leading the opposition in real life, and it would be a 100% certainty that “House of Cards” would still ignore them. Or make them the enemy.

As it is, the show got damn lucky because the GOPe is hated by all sides in real life, and people do embrace fictional antiheroes (a la House).

Myron Falwell on February 18, 2014 at 9:55 PM

Frank Underwood is not a liberal, he’s a politician. Well… wait a minute…

fatlibertarianinokc on February 18, 2014 at 10:22 PM

Is Frank Underwood supposed to be Gerald Ford?

Sheerq on February 18, 2014 at 10:29 PM

The new President will call a session of Congress and have all the Dems beheaded and put on a pike and 10 of the GOP just to keep them in line.

KirknBurker on February 18, 2014 at 8:08 PM

You say this like it’s a bad thing.

307wolverine on February 18, 2014 at 10:38 PM

The new President will call a session of Congress and have all the Dems beheaded and put on a pike and 10 of the GOP just to keep them in line.

KirknBurker on February 18, 2014 at 8:08 PM

You say this like it’s a bad thing.

307wolverine on February 18, 2014 at 10:41 PM

“As for whether or not this is a tea-party show; “You might think that, I couldn’t possibly comment.”

One has to view the the British HoC to understand this comment.

I have only viewed through episode 4, but my take is that it is pretty accurate. Democrats are evil, assertive, and get what they want, and Republicans are weak and stupid. Isn’t that what we have seen the past couple of years?

Techster64 on February 19, 2014 at 9:54 AM

The only thing out of sync is it was Democrats doing all this while the press didn’t perform its usual Pravda role for them.

rlwo2008 on February 19, 2014 at 12:59 PM

Thank you Allahpundit for writing this piece! Now my husband actually will watch this show with me. I told him it was great but he didn’t believe me. I like watching Castle and any Star Trek series. Could you do a Tea Party or Conservative spin on those shows too?

She Walks In Beauty on February 19, 2014 at 1:34 PM

I actually like this show. Pretty hooked. Kevin Spacey is an amazing actor and plays a sleazy congressman to a tee. You’re missing out if you don’t give it a chance.

scrubbiedude on February 19, 2014 at 2:03 PM

The show is a liberal’s view of the Democratic party. So corrupt and willing to compromise on their principles for political gain. Education Reform, entitlement reform, even the sexual harrasment bill.

FreshAir on February 21, 2014 at 10:01 AM