Hopping on ‘House of Cards’ bandwagon

Members of Congress are hopping on the “House of Cards” bandwagon.

The popular Netflix series about a villainous congressman-turned-vice president shows a decidedly dark side to Washington, but that hasn’t kept political figure from watching it, or from using it to promote themselves.

Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday issued a release highlighting a reference to her effort to get a Defense Department brochure about sexual assault discontinued last year. 

Rep. Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.) invited the creators of the show to his district to sample the wine in Long Island. 

A number of congressmen participated in a video last week in which they quoted short lines from the series.  

And President Obama has come out as a fan.

Late last year, he even joked that he wished things in Washington were as “ruthlessly efficient” as in the series, as he would get a lot more stuff done. 

The series is popular enough in D.C. that when Netflix released the second season in bulk last week, a number of people in Washington urged the company to begin streaming it early while the government was closed during a snowstorm.

Slaughter’s press release highlighted a scene in the fifth episode of the new season, in which Claire Underwood, the wife of main character Frank Underwood, meet with representatives of the Joint Chiefs to address the issue of sexual assault in the military.

Claire Underwood hands a brochure to the fictional staffers that references a real-life military brochure that Slaughter helped bring to attention last year.

After criticism from Slaughter and other lawmakers, the Pentagon announced last July it would pull a brochure that advised victims, “If you are attacked, it may be advisable to submit than to resist.” 

On House of Cards, Claire Underwood, played by Robin Wright, tells the officials: “This is from your own sexual assault prevention literature, and in it, it says ‘in some cases it may be advisable to submit than to resist.’ I think it’s quite clear that there’s still room for improvement.”

While Slaughter was happy with the reference to her issue, Bishop was unhappy with a fictional character’s criticism of wine from Long Island.

His invitation to the creators came after a fictional California congresswoman in the show said the wine from Long Island “tastes like piss compared to what we have in Napa.”

“We have exceptional wines produced by skilled, dedicated and hard-working owners and their employees of vineyards on both forks of our East End, which is why wine production is one of the fastest growing industries on Long Island,” he wrote. “I invite the individuals involved in the show to visit New York's first congressional district to join me at some of our vineyards.”

The series follows Frank Underwood, the House Democratic Whip, while he ruthlessly scales the halls of Congress and the White House. It is adapted from its British original of the same name. 

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the real House Majority Whip, has joked that his job would be a lot easier “if I could just kill one member of Congress,” referring to a scene from season one.  

McCarthy has said he initially balked at the idea of meeting with actor Kevin Spacey, who plays Frank Underwood in the series and shadowed McCarthy for a time. But he finally agreed to it after Spacey said he would be playing a Democrat. 

 --This report was updated at 12:21 p.m.

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