Yes, the show was sexier, faster-paced, and more idealistic than Washington really is, but what’s wrong with that? We should aspire to do big and ambitious and idealistic things in this country—even if it takes longer than one hour, or one season.” The West Wing, he says, “was idealistic and so were we. Everyone hoped politics would be like that.
I feel like there’s an unexplored companion angle: what of those individuals who went to Washington (or their local state house, etc) with West Wing idealism only to be let down by the systemic failings and entrenched interests? Not to be wholly pessimistic, but the West Wing spoke to an idealism in many like me that simply (regarding domestic policy at least) today feels entirely foreign to our political process.