February 1, 2014
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I never got into the “West Wing.” Too much of a classical liberal’s view of what politics should be. House of Cards approximates a realist view, which analytically has proved more useful to my life-long study and teaching of politics. Francis is more complicated than most suppose. Like Machiavelli, he understands that without amassing power — by whatever means necessary — that no leader can build or transform institutions, for better or for worse. What we don’t understand about Francis yet is what he means to do with that power. I’ve argued that he is an LBJ figure. We’ll see what he does when he is at the pinnacle of power — whether he self destructs like Nixon, falls flat but does much good like Clinton, or whether he becomes an LBJ and accomplishes much and then melts in his own acid.
This thought was prompted by this review in the New York Times.