This week’s episode of the new CBS body-snatching, political comedy BrainDead kicked off with escalating tensions as Senators Luke Healy and Ella Pollack battle to become the next Democratic Whip. For those outside the beltway, the whip is a party’s enforcer. It’s their job to count votes and ensure their members toe the party line when necessary. The show also continued to bash Republicans.
At a caucus meeting, Senator Ella Pollack launches into her opponent. The Democrats have been too soft, she explains. It’s time for them to stop compromising with the enemy across the aisle. When Luke interjects that the Republicans “aren’t terrorists,” she snaps at him and demands to know why he’s defending the GOP.
Luke: Hey, Ella? How are you? I thought you were sick.
Ella: I got better. Let's get started. Let's go.
Luke: Thanks, Ella. You'll have to teach me how to do that, sometime. Just a short update. The Republicans have overreached with their budget demands and are now hurting their presidential chances.
Ella: Yes, the Republicans have overreached, but we are responsible.
Luke: Sure, go ahead.
Ella: Our compromise put a bullet in the terrorist's gun.
Luke: Uh, the Republicans are not terrorists.
Ella: Why are you defending them? It's exactly that attitude of appeasement that has encouraged the Republicans.
Luke: I'm not appeasing, I'm saying this hyperbolic language hurts us. I want to play this smart. We can't just be the party of "No."
Ella: Why can't we be? Seriously.
Ella: Why must we always be the party of adults? Let me just say this, I will never, ever compromise my ideals, and that is why you should make me whip. Can you say the same thing about Senator Healy?
If only this were hyperbole: in the real world, Senator Chris Murphy, celebrated by media cheerleaders after his 15-hour anti-gun filibuster, urged fellow Democrats “to make this clear, constant case that Republicans have decided to sell weapons to ISIS.” Representative Alan Grayson of Florida said letting Republicans control any aspect of government was akin to recruiting “Al Qaeda members as pilots” and branded his 2010 general election opponent “Taliban Dan.” If BrainDead wants to lampoon political extremism, they’ll find no shortage of material from today’s Democrats.
With the hyper-partisan rhetoric out of the way, BrainDead gave shout outs to a litany of conservative and right-leaning organizations. Mocking Congress’s abysmal approval ratings, the fictional Congress recognizes the need for grassroots organizations like the American Conservative Union, Family Research Council, Conservative Caucus, and Eagle Forum. The show also name-dropped Breitbart, crediting the site with breaking news of a Senator’s affair, just as the real Breitbart was among the first to expose Anthony Weiner’s career-ending sexting habit.
While I'm sure this is more about adding realism to BrainDead, it's not often that one conservative organization--much less an entire slate--gets a positive mention in mainstream culture. I'll take what I can get.