The Weird Politics of "House of Cards"

I take a fresh look at the upside down politics of Netflix’s enjoyable series House of Cards at City Journal:

Most Hollywood fictions can be relied upon to rewrite conservative truth into left-wing fantasy. In real life, the staunch Cold Warrior president John F. Kennedy is assassinated by a Communist for the sake of Communism. At the movies, Oliver Stoneturns Kennedy into a peacenik killed by a vast right-wing conspiracy. In real life, a married Democratic president faces credible charges of philandering and mistreatment of women. Onscreen, Michael Douglasmagically transforms him into an unmarried man of integrity excoriated by the puritanical right for falling deeply in love with an accomplished woman his own age. In real life, leftists in the news media attempt to discredit a Republican president by creating a nonsensical scandal out of the Valerie Plame kerfuffle. At the multiplex, the scandal becomes deadly real and Vice President Dick Cheney (who had nothing to do with any of it) is somehow behind it all.

We’ve all become so accustomed to this leftward rejiggering of history that watching Netflix’s TV series House of Cards can be a weird and confusing experience. On the one hand, by dramatizing the rise of a corrupt, soulless Democratic pol willing to break any law, betray any principle, and literally throw his opponents under trains to acquire power—and by showing a Republican opposition too bumbling and cowardly to oppose his ruthless machinations—the series hews so close to the facts that it can hardly be called fiction at all. But when it comes to portraying the actual nuts and bolts of day-to-day policy making, the show sometimes seems to take place in an unidentifiable political Wonderland.


You can read the whole thing here.

And my previous CJ piece on the show is here.


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