ABC's Conservative Character: We Must 'Acknowledge the War Itself Was a Mistake'

It took ABC until just the ninth episode of its new Sunday night drama, Brothers & Sisters, 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.” The show evolves around the “Walkers,” a southern California family of two adult sisters and three adult brothers with Sally Field playing “Nora,” the liberal widowed matriarch who regularly clashes with daughter “Kitty,” the conservative half of a left/right daily TV show, played by Calista Flockhart.

On Sunday's episode, Nora was very upset by the Army's decision to recall her son, “Justin,” who had served in Afghanistan, to go to Iraq. Feeling guilty about her pro-war sentiments which may have influenced Justin to enlist in the first place, before an interview with “Senator Robert McCallister,” a California Republican played by Rob Lowe, Kitty plead with him to get the order rescinded. He refused, but she did him the favor during the interview of not asking about his divorce and rumors he had sex his family's nanny. Before the taped interview aired, she introduced it with an apology as she asserted: “I made a mistake in compromising the interview that you're about to see, and I made a mistake in continuing to defend a war that is in a desperate need of re-examination, re-examination which cannot come until we acknowledge that the war itself was a mistake.”

From the November 19 episode of Brothers & Sisters, Calista Flockhart, as “Kitty Walker,” on the set of the imaginary Red, White and Blue television show:
“In the interview that you are about to see, I asked Senator McCallister about his stem cell bill, his position on Iraq and his aspiration towards higher executive office. What I didn't ask him about was his recent divorce. Now I wish I could I say I didn't ask the Senator about his divorce because of some high-minded notion of journalistic integrity, but it was just the opposite. I have a brother who served in Afghanistan and was recently called back to serve in Iraq. And I did the Senator a favor in the hope that he would do me one and use his influence to keep my brother home, to keep him from fighting in a war that I have defended on this very program.

“Senator McCallister rightly refused to help me. His integrity remains intact. But mine, however, less so. 'Mistakes were made.' President Ronald Reagan said those words 20 years ago at a time when admitting a mistake was perceived as a sign of strength, not weakness. I made a mistake. I made a mistake in compromising the interview that you're about to see, and I made a mistake in continuing to defend a war that is in a desperate need of re-examination, re-examination which cannot come until we acknowledge that the war itself was a mistake. None of this is meant to serve as an excuse for my own conduct, but I do hope that you will find in your hearts to accept my apology.”
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