I don’t know what he’s talking about. For starters, this is true:
False. Frank Underwood does not get anything done except an absurdly implausible federal ed reform law. And murder.
— Alex Burns (@alexburnsNYT) December 17, 2013
And he doesn’t even care about the education bill! If he spent 1/1000th of the energy he devotes to personal ambition to passing major legislation, America in “House of Cards” would already have single-payer and an 80 percent top bracket. But what fun would Frank be then? He’d basically be Lyndon Johnson. In fact, it’s a failing of the HOC writers that they had him angling to become VP instead of secretary of state, the job he was initially touted for. Watching Frank run the world by maneuvering various foreign leaders around on his diabolical chessboard would have been a blast. As it is, you can already guess the arc of season two: Frank will have to destroy Zoe Barnes before she destroys him and then he’ll plot the president’s assassination to clear his path to ultimate power. That’s fine, but it’d be nice if there was a smart alternative on TV (er, I mean Netflix) to Homeland’s “Carrie hearts Brody” take on foreign policy.
Never mind that, though. Why is a guy whose executive power grabs have begun to alarm even liberal legal scholars whining about HOC’s comparative “ruthless efficiency”? Frank Underwood’s guilty of many things but not even he proposed having the president simply ignore laws that are politically inconvenient to him. And when O does deign to go to Congress, he’s lucky to have two Underwood-esque leaders there to help him. Harry Reid, whose Machiavellian genius for self-preservation was celebrated just this week in Politico, nuked the filibuster a few weeks ago to streamline confirmation of Obama’s nominees. Pelosi managed to get ObamaCare through the House even after the deep blue voters of Massachusetts replaced Ted Kennedy with a Republican who promised to vote against the law in the Senate. These people are not wallflowers. Maybe the reason Frank Underwood (allegedly) gets stuff done is because he doesn’t push policies that are destined to shrink his caucus in the House. Something for O to think about.
Oh, by the way: He made these remarks at the start of a meeting he called to convince tech execs to keep playing ball with the NSA on surveillance. So much for ruthlessness.