LIFE DECLINES TO IMITATE ART. Reading the West Wing piece Mike linked to, I stumbled across this tidbit I'd not known:

On that score, Mr. Sheen was offered an opportunity to see how his character's appeal would play in a real-life campaign. Not long ago, he said, he was approached by Democratic Party representatives from his native state, Ohio, to see if he would be interested in running for the United States Senate after he left the show. Though he would have had little trouble drafting a campaign platform � he is a fierce opponent of nuclear power and the war in Iraq, and a champion of human rights � he turned them down.

So Paul Hackett wouldn't have been the only telegenic neophyte punching his way through the primary. Intuitively appealing as a Bartlett candidacy might be, though, Sheen made the right decision turning them down. It's one thing for a party to court celebrity when they've a dearth of good candidates -- see California's decimated Republican Party and Arnold Schwarzenegger. But in a state with Sherrod Brown and Paul Hackett, among others, leapfrogging qualified, hungry applicants in favor of an ultraliberal television actor is both bad precedent and, probably, poor politics.

--Ezra Klein