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Triumph of the West Wing

A first class soap opera is restoring our faith in politics. But how far can it go?

when president Josiah “Jed” Bartlett (Martin Sheen) cursed God in Latin in the finale of the second season of the US television drama The West Wing, over 20m Americans watched the show. The occasion for his rant was the funeral of one of his closest colleagues whose death was marked by a moment of silence in the California State Assembly. (Yes, the real one.)

This mingling of the real and fictional would have been familiar to most American followers of The West Wing. Al Gore visited the set during the election, and the New York Times recently ran an editorial…

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