Being the token conservative on “The View” is like being the drummer in Spinal Tap.
Sure, there are several key differences. The conservative on the long-running ABC chat-fest invariably quits; the drummer in Spinal Tap gets killed in bizarre fashion. “The View” usually is unwatchable, while “This is Spinal Tap” is one of the funniest movies ever made. Also, “The View” is real while “This is Spinal Tap” is fiction.
That last part is the biggest issue, seeing as how subjecting actual people to the actual environment of “The View” causes actual pain — something one of the show’s former token conservatives says left her with post-traumatic stress disorder.
According to the Daily Caller, Candace Cameron Bure — best known for her role as D.J. Tanner on the TV show “Full House” — said her time co-hosting the show in 2015 and 2016 left her with PTSD.
“The stress and the anxiety — I actually have a pit in my stomach right now,” Bure said on ABC’s “Behind the Table” podcast, the Daily Caller reported Wednesday.
“There was only one type of stress that I’ve ever felt in my life; that came from that show. And I (have) PTSD, like, I can feel it. It was so difficult, and to manage that emotional stress was very, very hard.”
For those of you who’ve managed to avoid “The View” during its 24-year run, let me first say that I envy you. However, the basic setup is this: A group of co-hosts sit around a table and angrily talk over each other regarding the sociopolitical and cultural issues of the day.
Well, let me check myself — they don’t all talk over each other. While the core group of yammerers changes from year to year, the ideological makeup of the panel remains strikingly consistent.
With one exception, there are liberals and progressives from different walks of Hollywood life. Then, there’s one conservative who’s supposed to serve as “balance.” The rest of the panel proceeds to shout over the heartless reactionary.
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While Bure was known to be a conservative Christian from her time in Hollywood, she told “Behind the Table” she felt “pressure” on the show to take a conservative angle on topics despite her lack of opinion or depth of interest.
“(I was) just trying to understand and have a general grasp of topics that I didn’t want to talk about or didn’t care about,” she said.
“When I felt like I was going into a show that I didn’t have a clear opinion about or it was something that I was legitimately nervous to talk about because I did have an opinion about it but I knew I was going to be the only one at the table that had my opinion, I would just get sick to my stomach. I hated that feeling.”
While Bure said she didn’t regret the experience, she added she often found herself in tears before the show.
The “pressure” to be the conservative foil wasn’t unique, either.
When Nicolle Wallace was still a nominal Republican, the former George W. Bush administration official was the token conservative on “The View.” That stint ended with her firing in 2015 after just one season — in part, Variety reported, for “not offering enough dissent about political issues.” (Wallace later converted to liberalism and currently hosts MSNBC’s “Deadline,” where one assumes “not offering enough dissent about political issues” isn’t a problem.)
Offering political dissent isn’t guaranteed to make your life easy if you’re the token conservative, either.
Meghan McCain became the most recent token conservative to leave “The View” this past August, and — wouldn’t you know it? — reports say her tenure was far from smooth.
In January of 2020, the New York Post’s Page Six reported numerous insiders at “The View” who said the only co-host who would even talk to McCain was Abby Huntsman — another nominal conservative, although something more of a RINO. Sources with the show said McCain was “rude and dismissive” to guests and co-hosts on “The View.”
Totally unlike “The View” co-host Whoopi Goldberg, who is neither rude nor dismissive here:
Whoopi: “Girl, please stop talking!”
Meghan McCain: “No problem! I won’t talk the rest of the show.” pic.twitter.com/aYtrtvuRnR
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) December 16, 2019
And believe you me, there’s plenty more where that came from — not just from Whoopi, but from co-hosts such as Joy Behar and Sunny Hostin.
The New York Post’s Carlos Greer also reported that McCain had become an outcast on the show because she “feistily” feuded with all of her co-hosts. And yet, Bure said she felt “pressure” to take more conservative angles, and Variety reported Wallace met her demise for “not offering enough dissent about political issues.” So, if you’re a conservative, you’re either doing too much feisty feuding or not enough of it.
In short, the problem isn’t McCain, Bure, Wallace or whoever else the next sacrifice is. (Former Trump administration official Alyssa Farah guest-hosted earlier this month and was compared to a Star Wars-style “stormtrooper” in Darth Trump’s White House, according to The Wrap, so she’s already fitting in.)
The problem is the show’s format, which demands that the token conservative be treated like a wrestling heel and forsakes intelligent discussion for an hourlong version of George Orwell’s “Two Minutes Hate.”
The shock shouldn’t be that Bure has PTSD from her time as the token conservative, sadly. The shock would be if she ends up being the only one.