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Elizabeth McCord: Our Madam Secretary

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Love Tea Leoni and for the  life of me I can't remember what show I first saw her in!

 

Even IMDB was no help.  Clearly she was in a lot of ancillary stuff that I watched but didn't 'follow' if you get my drift.  Still she made that strong an impression.

 

Contrary to some comments, I love the way she is playing the role - calm, contained, sardonic at work - - showing her human side with hubby and family.

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I loved the way she played the role too. And I think I love the character she is playing. As someone said above, part of the charm of the character is the fish out of water element. I don't know how that will play in a year or two. But, for now I'm definitely in. 

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Love Tea Leoni and for the  life of me I can't remember what show I first saw her in!

 

Even IMDB was no help.  Clearly she was in a lot of ancillary stuff that I watched but didn't 'follow' if you get my drift.  Still she made that strong an impression.

Depends on your age, I guess.  Flying Blind and The Naked Truth were both actually decent shows, if I recall, although the first only lived one season--so the second is far more likely since it was around for three.  

 

Theatrical movie-wise you could know her from a string of "Hey It's That Girl" type supporting roles in A League Of Their Own, Wyatt Earp, Bad Boys, etc. I don't think she had a truly big role until Deep Impact and then The Family Man (with Nic Cage).  

 

Or you could simply recognize her as David Duchoney's wife (which she was for a long time, but no longer is)--but she was photographed on his arm for like 15 years straight at every Red Carpet.

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Tea is terrific in this role. She's taken a role that could be cartoony, and given it some dignity and most importantly, made it believable.

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From the Tamerlane thread:

 

Calamity Jane:

 

What I like about her wardrobe is that it is low-key but professional.  I appreciate that with her wardrobe very consistent, the focus is (should be) on what she does, not what she's wearing.  In real life, women in politics just can't catch a break about wardrobe, so it seems to me.  Wearing the rough equivalent of a men's suit every day makes perfect sense and seems smart to me.

 

She definitely should be dressing in a suit, like she does, based on her position.  It's just the 3/4 sleeved jackets that I find surprising, because more conservative higher ups would probably be giving them the side eye (in real life, anyway).  I think any suit is professional, but my experience has been that you see them more on 'staffers in the summer' than 'the boss at any time of year'.

 

That also reminds me of another thing I love about her wardrobe; she wears pants!  I absolutely loathe the idea that a woman isn't dressed professionally if she's not wearing a dress or skirt, so to see a woman in power wearing pants to the office on a regular basis is refreshing.

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That also reminds me of another thing I love about her wardrobe; she wears pants!  I absolutely loathe the idea that a woman isn't dressed professionally if she's not wearing a dress or skirt, so to see a woman in power wearing pants to the office on a regular basis is refreshing.

 

There with you. IMO it's old Mad Men time thinking, that professional women should wear skirts, utterly outdated. It's like saying: Don't you dare to express visually, that you might feel on par with the guys around you, don't dare to feel comfortable and at ease doing the same jobs they do, you should feel your femininity threatened by wearing pants, you have to express you are still a woman. I am okay with women who like to wear skirts to wear skirts though. The difficult thing is, women in business wearing skirts might be taken not as serious as men in management positions, a study done in the 90' suggested as much, and sadly some things don't change that fast. So I am somewhat ambivalent about the pants at the same time. It would be great if it wouldn't matter at all, if pants or skirt, as long as appropriate for business.

 

The show has shown Beth in both, in business pants and suit skirt, she looks professional either way. And thankfully they didn't feel the silly urge other shows frequently have of sexing up the female cast even in business wear (unless it is a bit in character as I would say it is for Daisy).

 

Noticed the 3/4 sleeved jackets as well and wondered, but do like it in a way. I struggle every time in business wear to keep my jacket sleeves down, because it looks quite silly when rolled up. 3/4 sleeved is a sort of compromise in my eyes.

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Is anyone else distracted by the reflection in her glasses? Not just Elizabeth, but all the characters who wear glasses, every episode all I can see is blue squares (which I guess are the cameras?)

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From the Tamerlane thread:

Calamity Jane:

She definitely should be dressing in a suit, like she does, based on her position. It's just the 3/4 sleeved jackets that I find surprising, because more conservative higher ups would probably be giving them the side eye (in real life, anyway). I think any suit is professional, but my experience has been that you see them more on 'staffers in the summer' than 'the boss at any time of year'.

That also reminds me of another thing I love about her wardrobe; she wears pants! I absolutely loathe the idea that a woman isn't dressed professionally if she's not wearing a dress or skirt, so to see a woman in power wearing pants to the office on a regular basis is refreshing.

Pants are appropriate for the secretarial pool, not the head office. Pants are this generation's version of the sweater. Forty years ago only secretaries wore sweaters to work. The execs wore suits. Skirt suits. And they still do, the skirt suit screams power.

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Pants are appropriate for the secretarial pool, not the head office. Pants are this generation's version of the sweater. Forty years ago only secretaries wore sweaters to work. The execs wore suits. Skirt suits. And they still do, the skirt suit screams power.

 

That's debatable IMO. How many times have you seen one of the most powerful people and most powerful women in the world, Angela Merkel, wearing a skirt suit? Some media have made fun about her "masculine" style, that she's wearing pants all the time and pretty much the same jacket just in different colors. The important question is though not what the public, news outlet and fashion magazines think, find attractive and fashionable and fitting to a woman in power, but that people take that woman in power serious and that other heads of state see her as equal in power. The debate is not suit or sweater but skirt or pants. Secretaries wore sweaters and skirts to work, it was expected of decent women to wear skirts not pants, and when women became executives they still were expected to behave like decent women - that has nothing to do with being perceived as being in power. Skirt suits only scream power in comparison to sweaters.

Thankfully things have changed a little, and wearing skirts doesn't speak against emitting power that much anymore. So women have more of a choice eventually. Aside that in official context and particular in international relations there are situations where you still have to observe etiquette, in daily work situation it is more about feeling comfortable, and if a woman feels more comfortable in that daily work in pants than she wears pants. When you feel constantly uncomfortable you will not show much of self-confident manner - and that is a little more important than being pleasing on the eye and fashionable.

Edited by myril

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How you want the world to be and how it really is are two different things. And how you dress really does matter. Just because Angela Merkel and Hillary Clinton wear pants all the time doesn't mean it actually works for them, they have already climbed the ladder, people know who they are and what they do by their names, titles, and facial recognition.

Reality has been studied, by professional image consultants. They do things like dress people in different garments and the ask a study group to identify which one is the executive? Which one is the secretary? Which one is the chief of staff? The study group does not know names, titles, or faces. All they see are the clothes and make their judgements based on what they see.

One of the most interesting and valuable books I ever picked up was the Woman's Dress for Success book. Advice like " dress for the job you want, not the job you already have" has stayed with me. When people see you standing in an office surrounded by other people, do they think you are the CEO, the secretary, or the maintenance woman? How do you want them to see you?

Save the pants for later. You can wear them AFTER you've risen to the top! The skirt suit screams power and authority. Grab it!

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I think it's fairly obvious by her entourage that Liz is no maintenance person but YMMV. I think she looks confident, comfortable and modern in her suits.  

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One of the most interesting and valuable books I ever picked up was the Woman's Dress for Success book. Advice like " dress for the job you want, not the job you already have" has stayed with me. 

 

Love these guide books selling so well to tell how we should sell ourselves better. Great if that has you given some positive ideas. Social science research suggests a more complicate picture.

 

Right, dress for the job you want. The tricky situation for women is, that to get hired at all in office jobs, like law firms for example, the advice indeed is good to wear a suit skirt to job interview, because it's still what is expected, the appropriate dress code for women is skirt suit. That has little to do though with power position. Interestingly, the more masculine a woman dresses, even when wearing skirt suits, the more likely she might get recommended for a management job, being eventually perceived as more competent. At least that was the result of a study though by now over 20 years old. But politics are still a quite masculine, male dominated field, and unfortunately it means for women squaring the circle. Look feminine, then you might be taken less serious, look more masculine, then you're criticize to copy men and perceived as a threat.

 

Is Beth applying for any job? She has the job. What she needs to show is self-confidence, competence, that she owns the job. Whatever suits her to do that.

As anecdote a little look back into history concerning skirts, at the power suite, and that women had not much of a choice what to wear for some time, see the "Pantsuite Rebellion of 1993".

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Save the pants for later. You can wear them AFTER you've risen to the top! The skirt suit screams power and authority. Grab it!

I find this whole idea disgusting. This is't the 1950s. Wear skirts, wear pants - who cares? How about you present yourself well, know your shit and do your job? I think we would do a hell of a lot better if we stopped policing what women wear and actually focused on what they are doing. This whole train of thought here about women should be in skirts just really pisses me off - it is just so antiquated.

 

And to be back on topic - pretty sure Mdm Sec has worn skirts and pants and has not lost any authority depending on what she was wearing.

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I think it's ridiculous that people think there should be restrictions on what women can or should wear. We're not talking about sweatpants vs suits here, as long as a person appears professional and appropriate for the situation, why do I care if they're wearing pants or a skirt?

I (along with many people I work with) find skirts less practical for the type of work that we do, and therefore I tend to associate them with secretaries and administrative staff more simply because they're the people only who really tend to wear skirts at work.

And then there's that creepy guy who likes when women wear skirts for perverted reasons.

 

There's such a double-standard for how women dress compared to men, though. There was that story about the male news anchor (or talk show host? or something of that nature) who wore the same suit every day for a year and nobody said a thing, whereas people would have been all over it if his female coworker had worn the same clothes two days in a row, never mind a whole year.

 

If this was a male secretary of state, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

Edited by secnarf
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There was that story about the male news anchor (or talk show host? or something of that nature) who wore the same suit every day for a year and nobody said a thing, whereas people would have been all over it if his female coworker had worn the same clothes two days in a row, never mind a whole year.

It was a morning show news anchor-  Karl Stefanovic on the Today Show in Australia. And yes - my point exactly. And for what it is worth, I have worked in a number of different fields and the women with me wore suits, pants and skirts. I've seen receptionists in pants and skirts and waitresses in pants and skirts. I've seen doctors cops and lawyers in skirts and in pants. It doesn't make a difference - it doesn't make them a better worker. I just can't believe this is an issue or even a way people still think.

 

Also - I hate dresses and will never wear them ever - but if I had to I really liked the one Elizabeth wore at the Canadian shindig. But that might be because it had pockets. I appreciated that.

 

Changing the subject - what do people think of her leadership style? Sometimes I think impulsive, sometimes not. I think she'd be  better with a better staff. Or if her staff acted like they had worked in the public service for longer than 5 minutes. I don't really knows why some are still there - particularly as it has been sometime since their boss died (who was a traitor).

Edited by SparedTurkey

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I thought it was better discussed in here as it doesn't have anything to do with the episode (and more to do with Bess than Henry :-))

 

17 minutes ago, Netfoot said:

Is there a politician anywhere, who makes only the amount specified as their official salary?

It would be nice if they addressed that on the show. Bess always appears to not do anything other than what pertains to her position as Sec of State but we don't really know.

 

1 hour ago, kwnyc said:

But Bess was a professor at Georgetown, right? And so was Henry...so they'd have to have had a place in DC, as well as the farm in the country.

 

No, they were teaching at University of Virginia which is in Charlottesville. It's where Bess grew up. And I would love to know if this is her parents' farm. It would make sense. Will probably didn't want to have it and the kids would have inherited it after their parents' death. The argument against it is that it never comes up when they discuss selling it. But they could easily have gone over that already when they talked about selling it before the episode.

That said, they probably used to have a place in DC or, more likely in the suburbs, when Bess was in the CIA but I think they gave that up when she left the CIA. Or maybe they had a place in between DC and Charlottesville depending on when Henry started teaching at UVA. But even though the CIA isn't in DC directly, Bess would not have driven in from Charlottesville each day. I think it's a 2 1/2 hour drive without traffic, give or take and "without traffic" probably doesn't exist in the DC area. (Well, maybe it does in the wee hours of morning... ;-)) And if memory serves, the kitchen in the S1 flashbacks was different from the one they were in in the Pilot.

 

1 hour ago, kwnyc said:

Also, they've probably managed their money pretty well over the years. While they were both career government employees, they could have had enough to at least put down a decent deposit on the house. (Or, Bess's parents could have left her and her brother some money.)

I would assume that they did since it was mentioned that her parents were well-off.

 

1 hour ago, kwnyc said:

ETA that the Secretary of State makes 186K a year, which isn't peanuts, but DC is an expensive town.

It definitely is! And Georgetown is even more expensive. That house would probably go for seven-figures.

 

Since this came up, I took it as an excuse to rewatch the S1 episode in which they discuss selling the farm and when this whole Greece story breaks, Henry tells Bess that she should concentrate on making sure that their 401Ks and house weren't worthless by the next day. He doesn't specify which house and he doesn't say houseS but he doesn't say farm either, so I'm assuming he means the house they're in at that point as the other house is always referred to as farm.

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13 minutes ago, CheshireCat said:

Bess always appears to not do anything other than what pertains to her position as Sec of State but we don't really know.

What could Bess do to earn money in addition to her SoS job?  If she gave speeches or wrote nonfiction books, she probably would not be allowed to say much about her SoS and CIA experiences.  

Maybe she writes thriller novels under a pseudonym, about a former CIA agent who becomes SoS, and whose husband’s talents are ridiculously exaggerated.

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2 minutes ago, Driad said:

What could Bess do to earn money in addition to her SoS job?  If she gave speeches or wrote nonfiction books, she probably would not be allowed to say much about her SoS and CIA experiences.  

I have no idea how this works or would work. I was just wondering because of the post I replied to which said that politicians rarely earn only what they make. And there certainly are several politicians still in office who own a nice chunk of money. But I am wondering if she would have time to do anything else. My impression is that the job is too demanding to do much else. (Of course, lately, Henry's job seemed a lot more demanding than Bess and he also seemed to be travelling a lot more than Bess, so who knows ;-)) Seriously though, could she even give speeches? She'd have to be very careful about who to give them to so that it doesn't appear like she's taking money for policy decisions.

Maybe it's more about how the money gets invested? I do recall something about a current politician having real estate investments or something like that.

But I think if they can afford a house in Georgetown whether rented or bought, send their children to private school and put them through college they do have to have some money and I think they would have needed to have a nice sum of it before Bess took the position. I just don't see them getting a house in Georgetown or a mortgage for it without the necessary financial security.

 

2 minutes ago, Driad said:

Maybe she writes thriller novels under a pseudonym, about a former CIA agent who becomes SoS, and whose husband’s talents are ridiculously exaggerated.

Good one! :-)

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27 minutes ago, Driad said:

What could Bess do to earn money in addition to her SoS job?

Accept bribes.  Like every other politician.

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Before Bess was appointed SoS, she and Henry probably had a household income approaching 300K/year. Now it would be more than that.

They would have to own their Georgetown house. The Secret Service would insist on making extensive security upgrades to their home, which would not be possible to do to a rental property. They probably also got financial help with the down payment on their house as part of getting their moving expenses paid for.

Bess and Henry would save lots of money by working for the government in very high-ranking positions. Bess especially would get lots of perks and stuff paid for so she devote herself 100% to her job. It's cheaper for the government to pay for her dry cleaning, for example, than for her to go to the cleaners every week with her Secret Service detail. Henry would get some kind of hazardous duty pay whenever he participates in field operations. That adds up over time. Bess gets driven everywhere by the Secret Service and Henry no doubt has a government vehicle at his disposal so they just need to own one car for the kids to use. A small economy car would do. As employees in sensitive positions who are on call 24/7 the government would pay for secure phone, internet, hardware, etc, so they they are always reachable. Bess might get a clothing allowance so she can dress appropriately when she represents the United States in public and at official state functions. She needs a lot of high-end clothes for her job. Other expenses they incur for their jobs that the government doesn't pay for can be claimed as tax deductions.

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6 minutes ago, orza said:

They would have to own their Georgetown house. The Secret Service would insist on making extensive security upgrades to their home, which would not be possible to do to a rental property.

Not to get into current politics, just using it as an example but it was reported that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner were only renting when they moved to DC. I wanted to point the security thing out yesterday, it was actually my first thought that they surely would own the home because of the security but when I remembered the aforementioned I assumed that maybe it's still possible to rent and live in a secured home?  

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14 minutes ago, orza said:

Bess might get a clothing allowance so she can dress appropriately

They should increase it so she can afford long sleeve jackets to wear over her long sleeve blouses.

I would “like” some recent posts, but since yesterday’s upgrade my “like” button has disappeared.  Is there a way to get it back?

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9 minutes ago, Driad said:

 

I would “like” some recent posts, but since yesterday’s upgrade my “like” button has disappeared.  Is there a way to get it back?

It has moved to the right.

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13 minutes ago, CheshireCat said:

Not to get into current politics, just using it as an example but it was reported that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner were only renting when they moved to DC. I wanted to point the security thing out yesterday, it was actually my first thought that they surely would own the home because of the security but when I remembered the aforementioned I assumed that maybe it's still possible to rent and live in a secured home?  

"Senior advisors" and adult family members may not get the same level of security as the SoS. They are not at constant risk and so probably don't need bullet-proof glass and armored doors in their home.  Assassinating the SoS is a big deal with political consequences that affect the working of the government. The untimely death of a presidential family member, while tragic for the surviving loved ones, not so much.

Home security was a big plot point in House of Cards when Frank Underwood became vice president and decided to remain in their home instead of moving into the official residence for the VP.

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4 hours ago, orza said:

Henry would get some kind of hazardous duty pay whenever he participates in field operations. That adds up over time.

Especially when it occurs every week.

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5 hours ago, orza said:

"Senior advisors" and adult family members may not get the same level of security as the SoS. They are not at constant risk and so probably don't need bullet-proof glass and armored doors in their home. 

Looking at it from that angle makes sense. I was just thinking about security details and that Bess mentioned in the pilot that they sweep for bugs every day, and all that. I didn't think about bullet-proof windows and armored doors. Though Bess' doors don't look armored.

 

Quote

Assassinating the SoS is a big deal with political consequences that affect the working of the government. The untimely death of a presidential family member, while tragic for the surviving loved ones, not so much.

I'd argue that that might depend on who is doing the assassination and who is President and the relationship the President has with his family. President or not, I think it's hard for any parents to react responsibly when a child gets killed and if it were to happen at the hand of a foreign power, I'm not sure I'd trust any President to not let that influence his decisions. I mean, look at Conrad and how he reacted with regards to the drug lord from Mexico after Harrison had checked into rehab again.

Now, Conrad could probably be talked off the ledge if Harrison were assassinated by a foreign power and if not or he wouldn't trust himself to act rationally, I guess, there's always the 25th amendment, article 3, as the last episode and the West Wing have taught us ;-) But the President would have to invoke it, and if not, the Cabinet Secretaries would have to make sure that they trust the President to act rationally, so I think that the death of a close family member does have the potential to affect the working of the government.

Of course, the government/secret service could very well see it differently and think that the security measures you mentioned aren't necessary for a President's immediate family.

 

Quote

Home security was a big plot point in House of Cards when Frank Underwood became vice president and decided to remain in their home instead of moving into the official residence for the VP.

I wish it had been a plot with Madam Secretary, too. I feel we were cheated out of an episode or two at the beginning. I'm sure there'd have been a story to tell about the move, the transition period, the confirmation hearing, the adjustment to suddenly have security 24/7. I have a hard time believing that you just slip into it like they seem to suggest Bess did. From what I understand, the detail has to adjust to who they are protecting but we did see a glimpse of there being restrictions when Bess was arguing with Fred about attending Alison's soccer game. So, while the detail is probably supposed to allow those that they protect as normal a life as possible, it seems that there are things the protectees (is that a word?) are not allowed to do and I would have liked to see this explored a bit more.

 

ETA: And I miss that they've moved away even from the little that we got in that regard, like the soccer game story or the one when Bess accompanied Alison to look at the college. They've shifted it away from "Bess has security restrictions and her job is keeping her away from home so that Henry has to do what "traditionally" mothers do" to the more cliched "the mother does these things with her family while the dad is busy working/saving the world". Such a pity.

Edited by CheshireCat
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On 1/26/2018 at 2:27 PM, CheshireCat said:

Not to get into current politics, just using it as an example but it was reported that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner were only renting when they moved to DC. I wanted to point the security thing out yesterday, it was actually my first thought that they surely would own the home because of the security but when I remembered the aforementioned I assumed that maybe it's still possible to rent and live in a secured home?  

Didn't the home the Obama's rented after his presidency get a bunch of security upgrades?

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I was sort of thinking along those lines, where a substantial house in the DC/Virginia area would get the necessary security upgrades and be available to high ranking Cabinet members and such, with the idea that they would move on if they left government service.

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I rewatched a West Wing S1 episode and the POTUS-VP relationship got me thinking about a Bess-VP ticket and from what we have been shown on the show so far, I don't think it would be a "realistic" thing to happen either way.

I don't think the VP would accept another VP position since she has her sights on the "big chair" and with the way she has been portrayed, I can't see her giving the VP spot to Bess for fear that she'd upstage her. From what we have been told, Bess polls better and is better liked generally. So, in order for Bess not to upstage Hurst as President, Hurst would have to give Bess the mind-numbing tasks that she seems to have now and not include Bess in policy decisions (like Conrad seemed to want to do when he offered the position to Bess). I doubt that Bess would be happy cutting ribbons though.

I think that if the show got that far and Hurst became President, Bess would stay Sec of State. (I don't think that the show will get that far though). As far as a VP if Bess became President, I'm clueless. Maybe Jay? With Blake as Chief of Staff (even if he said he didn't want the position after Nadine left). I know I've said Morejon before but that was after the Christmas Party episode. I've moved away from it ever since the next episode he was in.

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8 minutes ago, CheshireCat said:

As far as a VP if Bess became President, I'm clueless. Maybe Jay?

Jay?!??  He makes a mediocre assistant to the Secretary of State.  Nowhere as good as Nadine was.  As far as I know his political connections are slim to none.  Vice President?  Wow.  Matt would probably be better.

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39 minutes ago, Netfoot said:

Jay?!??  He makes a mediocre assistant to the Secretary of State.  Nowhere as good as Nadine was.  As far as I know his political connections are slim to none.  Vice President?  Wow.  Matt would probably be better.

I wouldn't make any of Bess' staff VP. None of them have been written as the character who I could imagine becoming VP, including Nadine. But I wouldn't have made Jay CoS either, so who knows what they'd do ;-)

Maybe Hurst would do it if Bess promised her a partnership of sorts but I'm not sure how much they truly agree on the issues to make that work and if Hurst would be willing to play second fiddle yet again. And we still don't know if Bess will run. But even if Bess runs, the question probably wouldn't come up before the show ends. And if they ended it with some sort of epilogue they could easily skip it altogether.

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2 minutes ago, CheshireCat said:

And we still don't know if Bess will run.

No, but we do know that she won't, until the show comes to an end.

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On ‎28‎.‎04‎.‎2018 at 8:28 PM, Netfoot said:

No, but we do know that she won't, until the show comes to an end.

I think she wouldn't assume the presidency until the show's end. As for running, if they plan to have run this cycle I don't think they can just abandon it again. Bess has to make a decision sooner or later. But I don't think she'd have to consider resigning to campaign for at least another season and knowing Bess, I wouldn't be surprised if the writers came up with some sort of compromise of not-campaigning if we get a sixth season.

In any case, the most recent episode made me think that Ellen Hill would be a great running mate for Bess. I don't know if they'd go for an all-female ticket but I think Bess should consider someone with military experience as VP if she decides to run.

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The question remains: since Conrad ran (and won) as an Independent, she would have no party support. Even in the world of the show, that's a hard obstacle to overcome.

They've never actually addressed that elephant/donkey in the room: Hurst presumably left her party as well (because Russell said it was key to be able to get PA). Did the cabinet secretaries leave/switch parties, too? 

I can buy the insane triangulation that got Dalton the victory in the House ONCE, but not again.

I think we're meant to think Bess would be a good president. But the show's kind of cut off her path to the Oval Office.

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48 minutes ago, kwnyc said:

The question remains: since Conrad ran (and won) as an Independent, she would have no party support. Even in the world of the show, that's a hard obstacle to overcome.

They've never actually addressed that elephant/donkey in the room: Hurst presumably left her party as well (because Russell said it was key to be able to get PA).

I don't think Hurst would have to leave the party. Did they say so? I think she just said that she turned her back on the party. Considering that what they did was highly unusual and everyone seemed upset over it, agreeing to run with Conrad as an Independent and supporting him under the circumstances could be seen as "turning her back".

Andrew Johnson served as a Democrat under Lincoln, if memory serves.

 

Quote

Did the cabinet secretaries leave/switch parties, too? 

Again, as far as I know, they don't have to. Bess doesn't belong to any party, per Russell, so she would have served without any party affiliation during Conrad's first term while he was still a party-affiliated President.

I've wondered how they'd address that, too. In episode 11 Russell said that "they" like her (Bess) better (than Hurst). So, I'm assuming there's broad support, I'm a little fuzzy about where it's coming from but I wouldn't be surprised if it came from the party. They may have been upset at Conrad for running as an Independent but if Bess is the one who can win them another WH then they'd probably be very happy to welcome her with open arms. I'm not sure that Bess would become a member of any party though. Considering how we've gotten to know her, she does not strike me as a person who wants to have to toe a party line and be bound by party politics. She cared more about climate change and doing the right thing than she cared about winning and becoming VP in S3.

However, I think there are two ways they can address it: Conrad running as an Independent and winning could make it more likely that future Independents succeed as they could argue that he paved the way for third parties/Independents and that a win is possible with the right support and enough money or they could go with what I just read about in the media. Apologies for the real life politics, but I read that states determine how their electoral votes are counted and several states have passed laws which give the electoral votes to the candidate who wins the popular vote. Right now, the states who have passed the law have a combined electoral vote count of 165 and the law(s) becomes effective when the combined vote gets to 270. Writing that in and getting enough states to pass such a law in the Madam Secretary world is how they could (easily) make her another Independent President.

Edited by CheshireCat
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@CheshireCat, that^^ all sounds like it could make for some intriguing examination of what US politics could look like with a viable third or independent party.

So far the show has pretty much skirted around the third party topic, seemingly only using the fictional third party to avoid alienating viewers of any one party.

To me, Bess and Conrad act like members of a splinter group of a particular party which shall remain nameless here, but I wouldn't be totally surprised to learn that there are supporters of another here-remaining-nameless splinter group from the opposite spectrum who believe Bess and Conrad represent their party as well, heh.

Anyway, it would be really interesting if the show made a third party look so viable that US history ebooks later credit the show with inspiring the creation of a viable third party IRL, much like pre-space program scifi about space travel has been cited by modern astronauts and NASA engineers as inspiring them.  

Or at least we might get a POTUS inspired by the character of Madame Secretary.

Over on ABC, Keifer Sutherland's POTUS character started out all warm and fuzzy, but lately he seems to be pulling some scary Jack Bauer-esque punches, which reminds me that on network TV, they're not likely to stray from modeling main characters into the most-likely-to-attract viewers mold.

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10 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

@CheshireCat, that^^ all sounds like it could make for some intriguing examination of what US politics could look like with a viable third or independent party.

So far the show has pretty much skirted around the third party topic, seemingly only using the fictional third party to avoid alienating viewers of any one party.

From the interviews that I've read I always was under the impression that they didn't want to have to make that decision. I wonder if they knew what party Conrad belonged to when they started out. It seems like they wanted to be able to make this about whatever issue they wanted to make it about and not have to worry about plausibility/how the party they chose would deal with this or that issue.

 

10 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

To me, Bess and Conrad act like members of a splinter group of a particular party which shall remain nameless here, but I wouldn't be totally surprised to learn that there are supporters of another here-remaining-nameless splinter group from the opposite spectrum who believe Bess and Conrad represent their party as well, heh.

When Bess suggested that Conrad ran as an Independent she mentioned that he's popular with Independents and that he still had support within the party and that his support must be bigger than they thought or Evans wouldn't have wanted his endorsement. Considering, I don't find it completely out of the realm of possibility to go a third-party/Independent route. Of course, it would depend on Conrad's popularity but it would also depend on Bess's and she seems to be polling rather well.

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The other method is to take away enough electoral votes from other candidates so that no one reaches the 270 vote total.  That throws it to the House of Representatives, where Bess might have enough support to win.

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18 hours ago, Dowel Jones said:

The other method is to take away enough electoral votes from other candidates so that no one reaches the 270 vote total.  That throws it to the House of Representatives, where Bess might have enough support to win.

Sure, but kwnyc said that they didn't that it would be credible a second time around. I don't know if it would be or not. It probably depends on how much of a precedent Conrad set and how that influenced the political climate. We don't know much about that other than that the party was upset. But donors don't seem to care, and Bess is visible (unlike third party candidates who usually disappear until it's election time), so with a good campaign, it might work to get another three-way split.

But generally, this was just to say that throwing the election to the House isn't necessarily the only way this could work if Bess decided to run and wasn't a member of either party :-) Technically, she wouldn't have to make a decision until the end of season 5 though.

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I love that we are noodling around with this (Not Noodle! but noodling). 

Since the President is the head of his or her party, Bess probably would have to declare one of the two major parties or Independent. But Independent doesn't have a local base, so a prez would have to cobble together bipartisan strategies, and who knows how the state houses and assemblies would work with the Executive branch.

Still, as we approach midterms in our world, it'll be interesting to see if any independents or third parties pick up any seats.

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1 hour ago, kwnyc said:

Since the President is the head of his or her party, Bess probably would have to declare one of the two major parties or Independent. But Independent doesn't have a local base, so a prez would have to cobble together bipartisan strategies, and who knows how the state houses and assemblies would work with the Executive branch.

But Conrad ran as an Independent. I suppose he is still a member of his party but he's not their President. I would imagine that it gets complicated there.

Not sure if this should be a spoiler, it's speculation based on an interview, but just to be safe

Spoiler

The interview with Hall and McCreary that I posted in the media thread makes it sound like they plan to let Bess run as an Independent

Edited by CheshireCat

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