Eleanor Clift Mourns HBO's 'Veep' Is Caught In a Post-Palin 'Time Warp'

HBO premieres the comedy “Veep” tonight, which Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift wrote up as another pre-baked HBO shot at Sarah Palin: “Veep was in development in 2010 when the aftertaste of the Palin campaign was still lingering, and insider accounts revealed just how unprepared Palin was to step into the presidency, should that be required.”

Sadly, suggests Clift, now the show may undermine women in politics as a whole. “But in the midst of an election cycle where no female is on the short list for vice president, and women’s groups are silent on the subject, Veep seems caught in a time warp.”

"Palin has moved on; she’s now dropping by the Today show. Politicians are fearful of what’s called 'the Palin effect,' shorthand for advancing an attractive female politician too fast and too soon," Clift wrote. "The portrayal of Selina as the veep enhances the Palin effect, and is likely to produce a collective cringe from a generation of women who still wish for Hillary Clinton in the White House.”

Unlike "The West Wing," "Veep" simply "looks back, elevating a Sarah Palin–like figure to the vice presidency with a narrative that relies on one-liners that provoke uneasy laughter and expose the smallness of the veep’s vision."

Julia Louis-Dreyfus plays Selina Meyer, whose party is not revealed, but it doesn’t take long to determine she’s a liberal version of Palin, identified with clean-energy jobs and filibuster reform. The titans of Capitol Hill are wary of this woman crashing their party, and Meyer doesn’t inspire confidence. Ideology aside, she has a high dingbat quotient. Think Elaine from Seinfeld, scattered and a bit bizarre, and a heartbeat from the presidency.

If liberals ever nominated a woman with a "dingbat quotient" for the vice presidency, would liberal journalists ever notice? Or is being liberal mean never having to say you're sorry for being a dingbat?

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis