President Vanderdamp is not only unpopular with the American public, but by vetoing a series of pork barrel projects, he has managed to alienate Congress as well. With believable pettiness, the senate, led by Dexter Mitchell who entertains delusions of presidency, makes a point of shredding every Supreme Court nominee Vanderdamp puts forward. Exasperated, the President nominates Pepper Cartwright, a popular television Judge known for having her fair share of sass and smarts.
In a bid for public name recognition, Mitchell resigns his Senate position in order to play the part of president on a TV series produced by Cartwright’s husband, Buddy Bixby. As Vanderdamp tries to avoid reelection, Cartwright and the Supreme Court must make a decision that will determine the course of the election.
Irreverent and satirical, Buckley’s latest novel blends elements of West Wing with good ole’ boy politics. As Cartwright’s part of the story is buried by parody and subplots, this is not Buckley’s best work but it’s still entertaining to watch him take on reality TV, behind the scenes political machinations and the public’s willingness to be blindly led.