ABC’s Republican Character Under Siege from ‘Conservative Purity Police’ and ‘Ultra-Conservative Yahoos’

Three weeks after the mother on ABC’s Brothers and Sisters (“Nora Walker” played by Sally Field) fretted over the GOP “denying global warming,” the ABC drama on Sunday night featured an episode centered around her daughter, “Kitty Walker-McCallister,” a Republican candidate for Senate in California played by Calista Flockhart, coming under attack from conservative rubes who think she used her influence to get the visa renewed for her older sister’s French boyfriend, “Luc.”

At a campaign event with mini-video camera-toting bloggers visible, protesters boo and repeatedly chant: “America for Americans!” as they hold up signs, such as “FRENCHIE GO HOME!!!” and, with a mustache added to Kitty’s face, “Hi Kitler!” Just like the real media’s slander of Tea Party protesters.

Kitty’s husband whom she is running to succeed, incumbent “Senator Robert McCallister,” played by Rob Lowe, charges: “It’s just the conservative purity police trying to purge the party of lily-livered Republican moderates.” Kitty complains to her sister, “Sarah Walker,” played by Rachel Griffiths: “I am fighting for my political life with a bunch of ultra-conservative yahoos who want my head because you decided to fall in love with a guy who has immigration issues.”

Audio: 90-second MP3 clip that matches the video highlights from the March 14 episode.

As the plot proceeds, Kitty condemns the “character assassination” and “guilt by association” while Sarah yells at a blogger with a video camera: “It's people like you who give this country a bad name!” Kitty also rues: “We can't control this crap that they put on the Internet.”

But it all ends on a happy note with a Bob Schieffer-like fairly tale of bi-partisanship, as Kitty, Sarah and brother “Kevin,” played by Matthew Rhys, go to the airport to stop Luc from returning to France and to confront the irresponsible bloggers. Kitty defends her sister: “She is a professional businesswoman, taxpayer, soccer mom and my sister. And this, this is Luc-- Luc Laurent. And, yes, he is a French citizen and an artist who takes no jobs from Americans. He loves Sarah and Sarah loves him.”

Kevin soon proclaims: “We can despise each other's political opinions, but we don't despise each other.” Kitty agrees:

That's right. And that is the spirit that I want to take to Washington. You see, if I ever get to the point where my ideology is so rigid that I can't see another point of view or if my loyalty lies with my party instead of my country, well, then I want the voters to send me home.
Which earns applause from a crowd that has gathered, including the blogger Sarah earlier denounced as a “douche-bag.”

In the early days of the program produced by ABC Studios, Kitty was a DC-based conservative host of a TV debate show who was frequently at odds with her liberal and vocally so mother, Nora. As recounted in a November of 2006 NB post, “ABC's Conservative Character: 'Acknowledge the War Was a Mistake,'” it “took ABC until just the ninth episode...to have its sole conservative character 'grow' -- as they say of conservatives who move to the left -- from a pro-war right-winger to a critic of the Iraq war who declared it 'a mistake.'”
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center