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The Telefile
<i>24</i>: Changing Our Political Landscape

Apparently, and don't spread this around too much, television can sway people's political opinions. No, it's true! It was true back in the day, when an unshaven Dick Nixon debated a fresh-faced JFK and came off looking like a cartoon hobo, and it's true today. At least, that's what actor Dennis Haysbert would have us believe. He thinks that playing the President of the United States on 24 for two seasons (as well as one season as a candidate and one season as a former prez) showed America how awesome it would be to have a black president, and said as much to the Associated Press. But if that's the case, why didn't Hillary Clinton benefit from any of the numerous female presidents we've seen on TV?

In 1985, America's former sweetheart Patty Duke played President Julia Mansfield in the short-lived TV series Hail to the Chief, and the once-equally-loved Geena Davis played President MacKenzie Allen in 2005's equally short-lived Commander in Chief. Granted, neither of those shows were very popular, but both Marge and Lisa Simpson have been revealed to be the President in alternate-reality and time-travel episodes of The Simpsons, and that show's been around for 20 freaking years! And let's not forget President Laura Roslin of Battlestar Galactica, the former schoolteacher who's been leader of the human race on and off since the red-hot show began airing in 2003. With all of these great examples, why is Hillary not more popular than Barack Obama, with his lone Dennis Haysbert action?

Two possible answers: In a 1995 episode of Sliders, Hillary Clinton was revealed to be president of a United States where men are "The Weaker Sex" and therefore not allowed in politics. Because Sliders was such an immensely popular show, men across America were scarred by that episode, and it was probably still in their minds when they went to the polls earlier this year. And it certainly didn't help when, in 2006, the evil Vice-President Caroline Reynolds from Prison Break poisoned the president and took over his post. For years, people will be talking about where they were when that episode of Prison Break aired!

So basically, Hillary got a bad break, TV-wise. Perhaps things would have been different had the writer's strike not happened, because then Season 7 of 24 would have premiered on January 13, 2008, introducing Cherry Jones as President Allison Taylor. As it is now, her episodes won't air until November 23, after the presidential election, thereby depriving Clinton of her own, personal Dennis Haybert. So good going, writers -- you've cost Hillary Clinton the presidency.

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