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Jed Bartlet Addendum to Favorite Male Characters List
My White House
sunclouds33
This is sort of a first addendum to my Top Ten Male Character list that I posted several days ago.

You know, I feel like this is the second time this list where I'm at war with the fact that I LOVE a darker interpretation of Jed Bartlet as opposed to just Everyone's Favorite Grandfatherly President because I really think he's owed that as such a fascinating character. However, as I've discussed in the Song Meme, Handlebars is one of my favorite fan-vids, but come on, most of the clips used to show Jed's violent meglomania as the song becomes more threatening are either other group's actions (Palestinian terror organizations' attacks on Fitz) or universally correct actions (arrest the white Supremacists who tried shooting at the President and his staff and seriously injured President and Deputy COS because of inter-racial dating).

I also loved the Strengths and Flaws gif-set that I used when ranking Jed among my favorite male TV characters of all time and praised it in that entry. However I disagree with all of the images in the "Spiteful" section. LOL, I've watched the show a lot so I know that the the images are of (1) Jed meeting with Shareef right while he's weighing to assasinate Shareef on his way home, (2) Jed cussing out G-d for his recent bad luck that Jed's feeling defensive could be karmically his fault, and (3) Jed admonishing Dr. Jenna Jacobs for sitting her ass down while the President stands to protest the administration, for at least tolerating homosexuality.

However, I don't think Jed is spiteful in any of these instances, other than MAYBE stubbing out his cigarette in on the church floor to desecrate it a little but given that I'm agnostic/athiest, I have a tough time finding a victim of that action enough to call it "spiteful". It's not Frank Underwood actually destroying church property, even just as a piece of art and actually ripping off The West Wing scene in Two Cathedrals.

In the actual giffed scene, Jed actually hadn't made up his mind to kill Shareef. It's actually a small display of a decency that Jed couldn't bring himself to shake the hand of someone who he was contemplating killing and someone who Jed was entirely sure was kingpin terrorist whose already murdered thousands of people. Shareef acted offended that he didn't get the handshake because of some *rash on my hand* story but that's just so small in the scheme of what was going on. However even per the assassination, the fact that Jed felt confident in the evidence enough to bring the case to a public trial and repeatedly advocated for that only to be stopped by immunity/logistics problems renders the political assassination of a kingpin terrorist quite correct to me. It wasn't spite. It was an earnest attempt to protect the country.

I wrote how much I was on Jed's side in the Jed v. Dr. Laura = Dr. Jenna war on a TWW forum where some fans were arguing that Jed was being a bully.

I was on Jed's side in The Midterms. It's really incredibly disrespectful to not stand when the President of the United States walks into a formal function at the White House. It's not an innocent faux-pas or fatigue- Jenna Jacobs was grand-standing....without the *standing*. People do reject invitations to the White House because they can't stand the current President and don't believe they can conform with the traditional respect. That's fine- I think I'd do that if a President Donald Trump or even a President George W. Bush invited me. However if you accept the invitation, you need to conform with the traditions to respect the President and actually, everyone at the function who WAS getting off their ass to stand and applaud, no matter their politics.

These hyper-conservatives who make a living off OTT bigotry really have a playbook. I have little doubt that Jenna was rarin' to brag to folks at the party and on her radio show that she quietly sat and showed ole Josiah exactly what she thought of his immoral politics and she respects a *leader*, not some godless, Hollywood liberal who's destroying the social fabric of America, blah, blah, repulsive-cakes. Well, *fine*, now there's a whole other set of stories on how President Bartlet called her out for her disrespect and beat her at her own game of interpreting scripture. She did not leave, essentially a media party, as the winner of the story.


I'd use other scenes to gif Jed being spiteful because I really think he can be. He throws his spite on the people around him. If I were to gif Jed being spiteful, I'd first go for Jed/Hoynes scene because Jed's primary emotion through their whole relationship is spite. After Hoynes was hurt and humiliated by Jed mocking him mercilessly in front of the Cabinet and then being accused of leaking the story to Danny when there were like fifteen people in the room and tried to stand up for himself:

HOYNES: What did I ever do to you? Where, in our past, what did I do to make you treat me this way?
BARTLET: John...
HOYNES: What did I ever do to you except deliver the South?
BARTLET: Really?
HOYNES: Yes.
BARTLET: You shouldn't have made me beg, John. I was asking you to be Vice President.
HOYNES: Due respect, Mr. President, you have just kicked my ass in a primary. I'm
fifteen years younger than you. I have my career to think of.
BARTLET: Then don't stand there and ask the question, John. It weakened me right out
of the gate. You shouldn't have made me beg.

Spite also frequently comes up in how he treats Abbey. After he broke their one-term agreement without even consulting her and used the Haiti issues to avoid discussing it with her when she was angry, he goes on the offensive right when she's trying to put her defenses down to be amicable so he can take back the moral high ground.

ABBEY: What are you reading?
BARTLET: I don't know enough about agriculture.
ABBEY: I wouldn't worry about it, agriculture isn't really your field.
BARTLET: Yeah, well, agriculture is responsible for one in five American jobs, so it
is a little bit my field.
ABBEY: You know... [gets up]
BARTLET: 15 percent of the world's cotton, 25 percent of the world's beef, and 50 percent of
the world's soybeans are grown in my field; farmers and ranchers pay taxes in my field,
their kids go to school in my field, they go to jail in my field. From time to time they
go to war in my field.
ABBEY: Jed...
BARTLET: So when I say 'it's not my field,' I'm not saying something, I'm trying to
learn so I can.
ABBEY: Why won't you talk to me?
BARTLET: Why aren't you with me?
ABBEY: How do you know I'm not?
BARTLET: You're not.
ABBEY: You're pissed at me?

Or in my Top Ten Male Character entry, I had the scene where Jed takes out his unhappiness at the Shareef decision on Josh by screaming at him in front of everyone in the Oval Office and fundamentally undervaluing his whole worth because of recent mistakes. "True or false, Josh, my life would be better if you and your girlfriend swapped jobs!...Why is it that for every good thing that you do, we've got to endure ten screw-ups?!" However, I don't get so cross at Jed there because every screw-up that Jed listed....Josh really, really did and it felt good after seeing CJ and Sam and Donna and heck, Jed publically bruised throughout S3 for his mistakes, for Josh to get a little bit of that blow-back after making lots of strategic mistakes in S3.

There are a number of other incidents of Jed being spiteful with his staff. Shutting Toby out for weeks for being too harsh with the truth in The Two Bartlets, and then, inviting Toby to play chess and say whatever's on his mind and then, flipping out when Toby does so. Making his primo argument against listening to Leo's advice in the Israel disaster in late S5/early S6 into "You're not president! It's not your legacy, therefore you don't care as much as MEEE." Firing Amy (although he took it back) because she's being an active First Lady's COS which is a reminder to Jed that his wife left the White House for New Hampshire because she's angry at him. "She has to be here to want things!...And you don't have to be here at all!")

However in Jed's defense, he usually doesn't take that anger and spite into his presidency. It's a consistent part of his character that he personally unleashes on the people around him, but it's never portrayed as particularly malicious because it's part of how he processes his feelings so he can make temperate, good choices for the country, even under remarkable stress, and that's the most important thing. To some extent, that's part of the oft-repeated Great White Man problem with fiction but then, I also think it's *reality*. It does have to come out somewhere. I don't think Jed makes a publicly-executed choice as President out of spite.

But the moments where Jed WANTS to can be giffed. Like, Jed wanting to engage a disproportional, total war response to devastate Syria and its civilian population because several troops shot down the plane carrying HIS doctor-friend is far more spiteful than Shareef for foreign policy. But Leo stopped him. Or how he seemed much more hot-to-trot to fire his Surgeon General for being pro-legalization of marijuana when he felt more alienated from Ellie when she stood for her godmother/surgeon general. But Milicent stopped him right before the axe was about to fall by SINCERELY THOUGH saying what Jed emotionally wanted to hear about his and Ellie's relationship.

Jed's absolutely spiteful. Loved the gifset- it's one of my favorites. Just pick the right gifs! There are so many.

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