Is America ready for a lesbian in the White House? (That was not a Hillary Clinton joke, I swear.) According to The Hollywood Reporter, Cherry Jones has been cast as the new President of the United States for the upcoming season of “24.” The two-time Tony-winning Broadway powerhouse (who has also popped up on movies and TV) has been out since 1995 and in a relationship with “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” actress Sarah Paulson for the past few years. Now, at first glance this news is fantastic. A lesbian playing a woman president on a hit show? Someone pinch me, I must be dreaming! But then when you consider the behind-the-scenes back story to the 1440-minutes of televised counterterrorism things get a little hanky.
The new season will unfold in the midst of the 2008 presidential campaign and parallels are already being drawn to 24’s new Madam President and Sen. I-would-like-to-be-Madam-President Clinton. And then there is the little business of series co-created by Joel Surnow proudly declaring himself a “right-wing nut.” Oh dear. And he has hired an out lesbian to play a woman president? Oh dear. Still, I can’t imagine that Cherry -- who is both one smart and tough cookie -- would sign off on any role that turned her into the Bitcher-in-Chief or some other sad stereotype about powerful women. So I’ll but my skepticism in a lockbox for now and instead start dreaming about imaginary State Dinners at the White House where a radiant President Jones enters with a glowing First Lady Paulson on her arm. What? You’ve got to dream big, right?