After months of resistance, I’ve been shanghaied into watching House of Cards (courtesy of my brother). Two weeks in and I’m done with two seasons. I suppose the holidays were the best time to get addicted anyway.
(It’s been two years since the thing started so I am not going to announce spoilers.)
Right after Frank Underwood takes over as president, in a remarkable process of underhanded wrangling, we see his approvals drop and his struggle to get a new initiative off the ground. So far, we’ve seen his power, his much-vaunted ruthlessness in simply getting things done.
But I propose to you, dear 1.5 readers, that Frank is a good politician. We haven’t seen if he’s a good leader. In fact, House of Cards comes as close to making the argument that politicians are not leaders, as anything I’ve seen or read.
The sexual assault bill, which would have really reformed some aspects of military life? Shelved. Retirement age and the support system? Worse off. AmWorks? Pulls money away from entitlements and funnels it into reducing unemployment — well, I’m not familiar enough with the background of unemployment/benefits to argue the disadvantages of the bill.
It’s entirely possible of course that I haven’t grasped the subtleties of the American legislative system. But the give and take of favors is what allows plans to go through, and the thing that generates support for various initiatives isn’t fact, but rhetoric.
If this is anywhere close to reality, it’s frightening. It encourages also the notion that local grassroots support is superior to relying on anything that Washington can provide. Coming from a tiny country, the divide between state and federal administrations is astonishing. And the disparity between various states’ wealth, education and health standards is large. For instance, why does Texas get to gut its science education system?
I can’t tell if it’s a good or bad thing that I can’t vote yet.