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Blogger living on a Wing and a prayer

By Paul Snyder

I’m sure it plays right into some Madison stereotype, but for years I’ve been a fan of “The West Wing.”

I always thought it was a well-written show, and as I own the complete series on DVD, it’s not uncommon for friends of mine to suggest marathons during these bitterly cold weekends.

There’s an episode in the first season that illustrates how, during the State of the Union, executive staff must pick someone in the line of succession not to attend the speech but remain behind at the White House. That way, in the event of some horrific attack that annihilates everyone at the Capitol, at least one government person will be left standing.

I’m not sure whether the members of the state’s Joint Legislative Council saw the same episode and thought long and hard about it, but they introduced a bill which would allow legislative leaders to pick replacements if a terrorist attack kills several lawmakers. It will be voted on today in the state Senate.

Now far be it from me to start ruminating on the likelihood of a massive terrorist attack on Wisconsin soil (I’m reminded of Donna Moss’ quote in said “West Wing” episode: “What percentage of things exploding have been anticipated?”), but I do wonder what it says about lawmakers’ faith in voters’ ability to put someone in office.

Could every district race now have a ticket? And what happens if voters like the replacement picks better from the start?

But when I saw the bill, I actually started to worry a little more for myself. The last time I hosted a “West Wing” marathon was the weekend before the last State of the State speech, and we watched that very episode.

It prompted a light exchange about what Wisconsin government policies or decisions might push someone far enough to target the Capitol during the speech (and we laughed about more than a few), but then it dawned on me: I’d be in there covering the speech.

And if dying because of a story assignment wasn’t bad enough, I wouldn’t even get to file the biggest story of my career.

Paul Snyder is a staff writer at The Daily Reporter. He dressed up as C.J. last Halloween.

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