Monday 24 July 2017

How the 'West Wing' fantasy handlers cocked up parties' General Election campaign

For three of the main parties, it was a huge mistake to make this election campaign all about the leaders, says Brendan O'Connor

Fantasy politics: The General Election was all about the leaders, from left, Gerry Adams, Enda Kenny, Micheal Martin and Joan Burton. Photo: Tony Maxwell/PA Wire
Fantasy politics: The General Election was all about the leaders, from left, Gerry Adams, Enda Kenny, Micheal Martin and Joan Burton. Photo: Tony Maxwell/PA Wire
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

It's hard to say how or why this election campaign became a presidential-style one. I have my own pet theory on it.

Political handlers, political media, and indeed the Twitterati, tend to be more interested in American politics than the average man on the street. The political classes in this country also seem to be big fans of the White House-based soap opera The West Wing.

While low-level thugs like to watch Goodfellas and The Godfather trilogy and imagine this is their life, and single women used to watch Sex and the City and imagine their lives in those terms, political hacks love the fantasy vision of themselves that The West Wing mirrored back at them.

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