Conservative House Speaker the Ogre on ABC's 'Commander in Chief' Drama

ABC's new Commander in Chief drama, which debuted Tuesday night, clearly intends to make the conservative Republican “House Speaker Nathan Templeton,” played by Donald Sutherland, the foil on the show revolving around Geena Davis as “President Mackenzie Allen.” On the debut, Republican “President Teddy Roosevelt Bridges” dies of an aneurysm, but before he does so he asks VP Allen, an independent with more liberal views, to resign so the Speaker can become President since he "shares my vision." Allen plans to do so, enraging her chief aide who declares of Templeton: “This guy makes Genghis Khan look like Mahatma Gandhi.” And he warns that a Templeton presidency would mean “the return of book-burning, creationism in the classroom, invading every third world country."

During a meeting with Allen, who is on a quest to save a Nigerian woman sentenced to death by stoning for having a baby outside of marriage, Templeton enrages Allen by deriding the woman as “the adulteress” and “a lady who couldn't keep her legs together." (As if that's how conservatives view the plight of women in the world.) Templeton's buffoonery prompts Allen to fold up the draft of her resignation letter -- and thus make the theme of the TV series, a woman President, occur. Sutherland is a leading character on the show and the preview of next week's episode suggests that he will “sabotage” Allen's VP pick.

Fuller transcripts follow. Early in the September 27 episode, Allen derisively refers to “Nathan 'Bloody Hell' Templeton.”

> "Vince Taylor, chief aide" to the VP pleads with Allen to not resign: “Nathan Templeton? Come on. This guy makes Genghis Khan look like Mahatma Gandhi. You can't be serious.”

> A conversation between Taylor and “Communications Director Kelly Ludlow,” reading from her draft of a resignation speech:

Ludlow: “'The desire to see a woman in presidential office cannot be as important as-'”

Taylor: “The return of book-burning, creationism in the classroom, invading every third world country-”

Ludlow: “Would you shut up Vince. We have to get this done.”

Taylor: “No we don't have to get this done. We should be in there talking some sense into her. Templeton cannot be our President. Not on my watch.”

> Templeton. meeting with Allen.

Allen, reacting to Templeton's claim that the world, especially leaders in the Middle East, will not respect a woman President: “Not only that Nathan, but we have that whole once a month will she or won't she press the button thing.”

Templeton: “Well, a couple of years you're not going to have to worry about that anymore. You know that your vice presidency was never, ever intended to be a presidency. It was done as a stunt. You can see that. You're a female, you're an independent, you're a teacher-”

Allen: “University chancellor.”

Templeton: “A philosopher Queen. But the point is it was all done as pure theater. And you got great reviews. But now you should get of the stage while the audience still loves you and before they figure out that your vice presidency was a whole lot of nothing because when they get a look at that go-away mission he sent you on to Nigeria for what's her name, the adulteress.”

Allen: “Almon Mudullah [spelling of character a guess].”

Templeton: “Yeah. Well it was supposed to be another piece of theater. But then you up and went to France and asked them for assistance. France? You asked guys who can't get elected without the Muslim vote to intercede in the verdict of Nigeria's Sharia court? Come on Mac. And we're going to look silly and ineffectual because you're never going to be able to save her and we're going to lose face. And for whom? A lady who couldn't keep her legs together.”

Allen folds up and puts aside draft of resignation letter.

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center