The more I read about the unfolding scandals at the Department of Justice, the more I'm realizing I've seen this trainwreck before. Upon closer inspection, it seems, the Bush Administration was the inspiration for NBC's The Office.
Hear me out. The comparisons at the top levels are unmistakable.
The boss -- whether it be George Bush or Michael Scott -- is a dim-witted, tongue-tied doofus who's in way, way over his head. Unable to inspire his employees with his intelligence or leadership, he uses frat-boy humor and gives out third-grade nicknames to try and win them over. He desperately craves their respect, to the point that he has to make-believe he has it by buying himself a "World's Best Boss" coffee mug or a "Mission Accomplished" banner. He gets frustrated that the world won't dumb itself down to his level, and this leads to the inevitable tantrums.
And the boss's egomania is readily stoked by his lickspittle lapdog, whether it be Alberto Gonzales or Dwight Schrute. Desperate to kiss ass, he'll do anything to make the boss happy, from cleaning his laundry to dirtying the Constitution. Although he gives himself titles to make him feel important -- Assistant to the Regional Manager, Special Counsel to the President -- he really lacks any appreciable skills other than blind, pathetic loyalty. He likes to think of himself as a leader, too, but is actually even worse at it than his boss. ("Attention, blue collar workers!" is about as subtle as "Everyone but the Loyal Bushies are fired!")
Just slightly down the food chain is an arch-conservative Christian woman whose loyalties are to her immediate superiors and her ecclesiastical ones. Monica Goodling, the 33-year-old graduate of Messiah College and Pat Robertson's Regent University Law School -- unofficial motto: "A third of our graduates can pass the bar exam!" -- is obviously the basis for Angela. Cruel and cold-hearted, she believes that eternal justice is on her side, and wants to bring down God's vengeance on whoever she can, whether it be Kelly from Customer Service or 93 dirty, rotten, disloyal U.S. Attorneys.
I'm not quite sure how the rest of the comparisons work themselves out. It's hard to find a role based on Dick Cheney, but I'm leaning towards the rage-filled Roy from the undisclosed location of the warehouse. Condi Rice is probably best mirrored by Jan, in terms of the influence over Michael/George, though I'm not so sure after the season finale. And for some reason, I'm seeing Creed as the basis for Scooter Libby. Must be the creepiness in his eyes. I'm sure we can brainstorm the rest, so drop your own suggestions in the comments below.
And before the purists complain, yes, I'm well aware that there was a British version of this show before the American one. But I heard they just fired the guy in charge over there. David Blair or Tony Brent, or something.