Kevin Spacey went on Stephen Colbert’s show to discuss his show House of Cards. Spacey plays Frances Underwood, a Democratic Congressman who is not above using threats and intimidation to accomplish his goals. Colbert had a bone to pick with the realism of House of Cards, but it didn’t have to do with the sort of shenanigans that Underwood pulls.
“You’re a white Democrat from South Carolina,” said Colbert, referring to Spacey’s character. “Is this the show that’s got the dragons in it too? Because this seems like fantasy to me. I’m from there buddy.”
Colbert’s characterization isn’t wrong. South Carolina currently only has one Democrat in the House of Representatives, Rep. James Clyburn, and he is African American. The state did have one white Democrat in office as recently as 2010, but he was bounced in the Tea Party charge that year.
Spacey calmly explains that one shouldn’t read too much into how the show portrays politics.
“Well it’s obviously a fictional show, because it’s also a Congress that gets sh** done.”
That is the sad joke of the current Congress: they fundraise, argue, go on TV, but they rarely pass laws. This is not a general problem with government, but rather an effect of Republicans knowing that they will be punished by the far-right side of their base if they cooperate with Democrats. They remember the lesson of Bob Bennett: a Utah Republican with a nearly perfect conservative record. He worked with a Democrat on one piece of legislation, and was primaried and defeated by a Tea Party challenger. You probably wouldn’t be especially helpful either if being helpful would cost you your job (which you worked very hard to get).
Spacey has recently taken on political roles that allows him to show his disgust with politics. Before playing Frances Underwood, Spacey played a fictionalized version of a real political scumbag: Jack Abramoff.