'House of Cards' Is a Tea Party Fever Dream

Imagine how happy Ted Cruz would be if parts of the second season of House of Cards actually happened. (Spoilers ahead, obviously.)

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Imagine how happy Ted Cruz would be if parts of the second season of House of Cards actually happened. (Spoilers ahead, obviously.) The lawless president has resigned in the face of impeachment, and all because of the Democratic Party's ineptitude and corruption. While the Heritage Foundation thought the show increased America's cynicism about DC, Will Rahn at The Daily Caller went so far as to call the show "a stunningly right wing piece of entertainment" and "the most Tea Party show ever," which implies it's more conservative than Duck Dynasty.

Rahn argues that, because entitlement reform passes, while Democrats are murderers and the War on Women is fake, this is the best Hollywood can offer the hard right. Also, the "mainstream" media is still mainstream. As Rahn put it:

House of Cards isn’t your typical red state show, a sub-genre defined largely by an embrace of Christianity and an aversion to smut. ... But any entertainment that makes Washington’s inhabitants look this unsympathetic is appealing to a conservative impulse, whether it wants to or not.

That true, in a sense. The show centers on its Democrats, and they're all awful like Frank Underwood and Majority Whip Jackie Sharp, or useless like the president. But FreedomWorks' Deneen Borelli identified with the season for a different reason — Underwood's use of the FBI to persecute the journalists on his trail mirrors the intimidation tactics the GOP establishment uses against the Tea Party. The establishment is cutting off donors who support the Tea Party movement, as The New York Times reported last week. "Isolating FreedomWorks from its donors is a tactic that fictional character Underwood would appreciate," Borelli wrote. In that sense, Borelli agrees with people who argue that Cards proves the need for smaller government. 

The one thing conservatives seem to be split on is the portrayal of the "mainstream" media. Allahpundit at Hot Air found it "surreal" watching TV personalities report on news manufactured by Underwood and his enemies, adding that, "this is, I guess, their way of winking at the fact that they know the people they cover are corrupt, but it felt strange, as if they were admitting it’s all a game and they’re in on it." But "joshua c," posting in a Free Republic message board, was just amused and wrote, "The funny part is the press going after the Democrats. Talk about fiction." Either way, the right isn't surprised that the "mainstream" media doesn't really know what's going on — the vice president is a murderer. In the defense of The Wall Street Telegraph, everyone on the show is dumb enough to trust Frank.

At the same time, a lot of people aren't convinced that Cards is a win for the hard right:

In his new role as vice president, passing entitlement reforms is biggest obstacle Underwood overcomes during the first half of the season. Tea Party Sen. Curtis Haas nearly ruins it all when he backs out of a deal with Underwood and holds the Establishment hostage, nearly leading to a government shutdown. We agree with Hot Air that Democrats would probably not rally around raising the retirement age to 68. But it was the show's portrayal of Haas that disappointed many of the nation's patriots. Even though Underwood compares idealistic progressives to the Tea Party in the same episode, the show's portrayal is clear: you can't reason with the Tea Party, just the Establishment.

Back to Duck Dynasty, then.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.