One marathon. 13 episodes. 26 hours. Two Underwoods. Two competitors.
In a remarkable turn of events, I exercised the self-restraint to not watch all of the newest season of House of Cards, choosing to instead to binge watch all 13 of them.
When season two came out last Valentine’s Day, I spent the whole day alone in bed, motionless, watching Frank Underwood continue his quest to the White House.
This time around, I spent two days watching the newest season with my amazing best friend, Emily, who interned in the Senate with me.
It goes without saying that we spent the entire time fact-checking it extensively.
I had intended on providing an episode-by-episode commentary, but after a couple I realized that this would be far from conducive.
Needless to say, spoilers will ensue, so grab some Chipotle and get ready.
For some reason, this season was less phenomenal than the previous two, but there were (of course) some interesting things worth remarking upon:
- Frank appointing Claire to be UN ambassador is of course, unbelievable (although I feel like a potential Hillary presidency would results in similar awkward discussions with Bill about what his role is in the White House). However, it’s not entirely out of the blue. Just think about how JFK appointed RFK to be Attorney General. Of course RFK was more qualified than Claire was to be Ambassador to the UN, and he did do a great job busting up organized crime.
- I don’t remember the specifics, but someone mentioned that it was virtually unprecedented for a nominee to be rejected by the Senate and then appoin
- I actually was almost expecting a joint Underwood ticket towards the end of the season, especially after Jackie Sharp endorsed Heather Dunbar.
- I also was expecting an assassination attempt at some point, but that has yet to happen (think about Scandal, for example).
- Russia’s president is Vladimir Putin on almost every level. However, the odds of the President of the United States meeting him on the ground in the Jordan Valley is absurd. Its point about being gay in Russia is also spot on, but I doubt that Putin has any qualms about the status quo, unlike his fictional counterpart (who does nothing to change them, despite assuring Underwood that he personally opposes them).
- The very thought that Israel would ever allow for a UN force to monitor that area to begin with is also ridiculous, given how they have in fact fueled further violence with their sheer ineptitude in the past in the region (for more on that, I suggest reading Dore Gold’s book on the subject).
- The concept of America Works being introduced by a Democrat makes absolutely no sense. In Maryland’s upcoming Senate primary, Congressman Chris van Hollen is being attacked from his Left for not being supportive enough of Social Security. As an oped in The Washington Post stated:
“It became clear that the enforcers of Never-Compromise ideology are ascendant inside the Democratic Party, as they have been for years among Republicans.
Grover Norquist, meet Social Security Works.
The target of the day was Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), who is running in a Democratic primary to replace retiring Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski.
Van Hollen is by any definition a liberal. He is among House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s most trusted lieutenants. He may be the savviest federal budget expert in the Democratic caucus. And he has never supported cuts to Social Security.
But Van Hollen a few years ago called the Simpson-Bowles commission’s grand bargain for fiscal salvation “a good framework.” He didn’t embrace its specifics, but he understood that any deal to save the country’s finances would depend on Democrats accepting reforms in health-care programs in return for Republicans agreeing to revenue increases.
That concept was relatively uncontroversial then — President Obama agreed, too, though he also declined to embrace the specifics of Simpson-Bowles — and it remains true today. But to the Norquists of the Democratic Party, any hint of a whisper of a tentative inclination to consider reforms of Medicare or Social Security is heresy, and never mind the arithmetical realities of an aging society.
So there was Van Hollen last week at a news conference in support of a bill, introduced by Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.), that not only “saves” Social Security but expands it — to the tune of $3.1 trillion over the next 75 years.
“You don’t save Social Security by cutting Social Security,” Van Hollen dutifully said, as The Post’s Rachel Weiner reported.”
- Underwood’s declaration that he would not seek a second term was obviously ridiculous from the start (why would there be a show if he abandoned the presidency?). However, every incumbent who has been challenged from their own party (in a serious manner, not like the primary Obama faced in 2012, although he did almost lose West Virginia…to a felon) has gone on to lose the election (if they even remain a candidate. LBJ dropped out rather than continue to be a candidate for reelection in 68). Just ask Gerald Ford, who was challenged by Ronald Reagan in 1976, or Jimmy Carter who was challenged by Ted Kennedy in 1980, or Bush 41, who was challenged by Pat Buchanan in 1992.
- Underwood did win the Iowa caucus, so if Dunbar loses New Hampshire she has all but no chance. No candidate has ever won the nomination without winning one of those two, so we’ll see next season how that plays out.
I figured that having some commentary on politics in general would be an adequate replacement for the thoughts I had planned on giving.
Maybe this wasn’t the best season possible, but I stand by my previous post where I claimed that House of Cards is better than Scandal (I will, at some point, discuss how Alpha House fits into this. For more of my House of Cards themed posts, look no further than right here).
Was this the most serious post I’ve ever written? Probably not. But, as Tom Yates said, “I think it may be the best thing I’ve written in years. It could also be utter and complete shit. But when I can’t tell the difference, that’s a good sign.”
Did I miss your favorite plot hole? Let me know!