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She Plays One on TV

Geena Davis makes her debut as el presidente tonight … or is that la presidente???  Either way . . .

Some pundits are hypothesizing her new show, "Commander in Chief," could pave the way toward electing a female chief executive (which is a lot of pressure to put on a TV show). Davis herself told USA TODAY, "We’re making this as entertainment. But God willing, if this show stays on and people see a woman in that office for a while, I think it will help people become more used to it. It’s certainly about time that we had a few female presidents."

This raises some interesting questions . . .

  • How powerful is imagination?  Is the first step toward being elected president being imaginable as president?
  • Is voting really just “casting” a person who looks presidential?  In short, is symbolism more important than substance?
  • If so, is TV the only way to escape this catch-22 (you can’t get elected because you haven’t been elected)?  What other ways might we challenge the dominant paradigm?
  • Is this show an attempt to use TV to manipulate the public or simply a money-making venture that has already yielded lots of earned media?
  • If this show is an attempt to manipulate the public, will it work?  If the goal of the last twenty-five years of liberal media was to elect liberals – they have a lousy track record.

I don’t have the answers, just some interesting thoughts and questions about this one.  Stay tuned.

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Mr. Lewis has managed political campaigns and served as director of grassroots for the Leadership Institute, as well as political director for GOPAC. In 2002, Campaigns & Elections magazine selected him as a "Rising Star of Politics." He is the author of "Teaching Elephants to Talk." His blog can be read at

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