Sam Seaborn was right: terrorists generally don’t win, but they have a chance when a country eagerly dances to their tune

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a journalist in possession of some thoughts about politics must be in want of a quote from The West Wing. Now, you might reasonably think, a box set about politics does not provide the kind of escapism I’m pretty sure we all desire at this point. But allow me to reassure you: the political world presented in Aaron Sorkin’s walkin’-and-talkin’ drama – in which the US president is admirable, and the people around him are brilliant and well-intentioned, instead of being the meanest, richest and dumbest kids who somehow evaded Darwinism and made it to adulthood – feels so far from the current reality you might as well be watching The Wizard Of Oz. If only we didn’t have to return to Kansas, Toto.

So I was watching it the other night and I got, as I have so often before, political guidance from Rob Lowe: “Not only do terrorists always fail at what they’re after, they pretty much always succeed in strengthening whatever it is they’re against,” said his character, speechwriter Sam Seaborn.

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