The Fake Invisible Primary

Since at times it seems that only a few people still inside the Beltway care about the fake/real “West Wing” on NBC, we wanted to be sure that you didn’t miss the Times’ horserace story in the Arts section on the state of the race to succeed President Bartlett. (Fishbowl, like many others, long ago migrated to ‘Lost’ at the beginning of this season, so we’re sort of, well, lost when it comes to these new dynamics.)

The consensus? Jimmy Smits and Alan Alda are both in the race for real and are keeping their poker faces on as the race gears up:

The current season will end with episodes set at fictional Democratic and Republican conventions. There will be an election early next season and an inauguration that will be broadcast about this time next year. There are even plans to visit Mr. Sheen’s character in retirement in his home state of New Hampshire.

Now Jacques Steinberg is a great guy, but when it comes to covering the Beltway (even if it’s one that’s in L.A.) he’s no Nagourney or Ambinder–and he’s certainly no Fournier. You just know if the Times’ had tasked Adam or Kit with handicapping the West Wing’s “invisible primary” (Question: is it actually invisible if it all takes place on TV? Or only if no one watches?), they would have come out of the story with the second president’s cabinet choices.