Glen Allen Walken

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Glen Allen Walken
The West Wing character
Westwing actingpresident.jpg
John Goodman as Glen Allen Walken
First appearance "Twenty-Five"
Last appearance "The Stormy Present"
Created by Aaron Sorkin
Portrayed by John Goodman
Gender Male
Occupation Speaker of the United States House of Representatives (Season 4)
Acting President of the United States (Season 5)
Spouse(s) Mary Walken
Children 3
Nationality American

Glen Allen Walken is a fictional character on The West Wing played by John Goodman.

Walken was the powerful and iron-willed conservative Speaker of the House. An eight-term congressman, he became speaker in January 2001 after the previous speaker, Jim Hohner of Illinois, resigned. In his 2002 State of the Union Address, President Josiah Bartlet called him a man of fundamental decency and public servant of purpose. Walken was known to be a staunch supporter of the military, veterans, and according to Josh Lyman proposed a $200 billion capital gains tax cut. He is also known to be an outdoors enthusiast and a strong supporter of gun rights (Josh Lyman said about him: "He's opposed to waiting periods for grenade launchers?!") and supply-side economics.

Walken became Acting President of the United States in May 2003. Vice President of the United States John Hoynes had resigned just a few days before due to a sex scandal and President of the United States Josiah Bartlet then yielded power temporarily under the terms of the 25th Amendment to the United States Constitution. Bartlet's daughter Zoey had been kidnapped, seemingly by terrorists from Qumar, and he did not feel that he could objectively carry out the duties of his office, under the circumstances. Walken was acting president from about 6 a.m. May 8, 2003, until around midmorning May 10, 2003.

Walken was required to resign from his seat in the US House of Representatives to become acting president. While in office, he ordered the bombing of several terrorist training camps in Qumar, as well as a limited and temporary invasion of that nation. He also called the families of several soldiers who died in the invasion. After three days, when Zoey Bartlet was found and freed, President Bartlet then resumed his powers and duties under the 25th Amendment. Bartlet gratefully offered to campaign for Walken if he chose to run again for Congress, but Walken said, half-seriously, that the president would probably not be politically helpful in his Missouri House district. It is not clear whether Walken returned to Congress. (The speaker is required by the Presidential Succession Act of 1947 to resign as he can act as president only "upon his resignation as speaker and as representative in Congress". Walken himself states that no one can serve in two branches of the government at once.)

Several months later, Walken attended the funeral of former President Owen Lassiter, another conservative Republican. Bartlet and former President D. Wire Newman, a liberal Democrat, also attended. Walken, who apparently regarded Lassiter as something of a mentor or personal hero, reminisces during the episode about how he and Lassiter were forced to improvise in the bushes when they couldn't find a bathroom while in Beijing during a trip to China. It is not clear whether Lassiter was president at the time. Walken tells Bartlet that he stopped talking with Lassiter toward the end of his life when Lassiter began making worldwide trips to collect the soil from American battlefields, but that he wished he could get Lassiter's opinion on current situations in the Middle East.

Due to his service as acting president and his leadership during the crisis, Josh Lyman pointed out that Walken would probably become the presumptive Republican nominee for the 2006 election. At the beginning of the primary season, this prediction did seem to be at least partially correct. Although Josh and Leo McGarry both describe the 2006 Republican primaries as "wide open", Walken is mentioned in multiple episodes as a key competitor in the primaries against the eventual winner, Arnold Vinick, a senator from California. Walken was one of the candidates with a "bean jar" in a famous Iowa cafe for the lead-off caucuses there and had stronger support in the state than the more moderate, pro-choice Vinick. Walken, along with Vinick and Democratic primary candidate and former Vice President John Hoynes, took a tough stance against Iran after the Iranian Air Force shot down a British civilian passenger jet prior to the New Hampshire primary. By Super Tuesday, Vinick appeared to have overtaken Walken and become the front-runner, but Walken remained in the race for South Carolina primary (which apparently took place after Super Tuesday) and noted for his hawkish stance on Cuba policy when that issue came up ahead of the Florida primary. However, due to Vinick's continued successes, Walken was soon forced to drop out, leaving the Reverend Don Butler as the only remaining challenger to Vinick by the time of the final New Jersey primary.

Glen Allen Walken's hometown is Liberty, Missouri, a suburb of Kansas City. He is also a great fan of Harry Truman and told Deborah "Debbie" Fiderer, another Truman fan, that if Truman were alive that he would be a Republican. Fiderer told President Walken that she thought that he would be a fan of Dwight Eisenhower. He has a pet pug named Bess, who is seen disrupting a meeting with her barking in one episode.

The character of Glen Allen Walken has some similarities to real life Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Both were powerful House Speakers and conservative Republicans that established successful working relationships with a liberal Democratic president. In Walken's case this was Josiah Bartlet, in Gingrich's case it was Bill Clinton. Walken's admiration for Owen Lassiter also resembles Gingrich's admiration of and work, as a young congressman, with Ronald Reagan.

Walken's positions[edit]

  • House Majority Whip (1997–1999)
  • House Majority Leader (1999–2001)
  • Speaker of the House (2001–2003)
  • Acting President of the United States (2003)

See also[edit]