Anyone who watches Veep (available to stream anytime on HBO Now), knows that Selina Meyers (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) wasn’t exactly the most competent of politicians (or people). Still, despite her numerous character flaws, Selina managed to do some good during her eight-month tenure as POTUS. While we’ll likely never get to find out what kind of politician Dreyfus would be in real-life — though not for lack of trying — here are five times Selina Meyer proved to be a solid-enough occupant of the Oval Office.
5. Brokering The Release Of Leon West
While flying high off the success of her 10-day peace trip to the Middle East (more on that in a bit), Selina managed to negotiate the release of journalist Leon West (Brian Huskey), one of her most ardent critics, who’d been imprisoned for two weeks. Granted, she extended his imprisonment by a full day just for the photo opportunity and wound up leaving two of her aides stranded in Iran when she tried to stop West from spilling the beans, but the initial act was still totally commendable.
4. The Families First Bill
This was one of those moments that proved that Selina was willing to do some good for the country — so long as it didn’t hurt her politically. After her inauguration, she began working on The Families First Bill, designed to use tax dollars to help the low-income families out of poverty. Of course, Selina and her team tried to do what they could to quietly derail the bill once it became clear that it was a liability, but in its own (not so great) way, that’s a pretty presidential thing to do too.
3. Making It Through The Congressional Hearings
Speaking of which, desperate to secure her spot on the ballot, when Selina tasked Dan (Reid Scott) and Amy (Anna Chlumsky) with sabotaging the Families First Bill and a breach kicked off an investigation, Selina and her team all somehow managed to come out relatively unscathed. And being able to navigate the stormy seas of Congressional oversight is an essential trait for any politician.
2. Her 10-Day World Peace Tour
Selina drew broad praise for her World Peace Tour from her constituents and it seemed to give her all the momentum she needed to launch her Presidential campaign, given that the election was only eight short months away. While it may have been largely symbolic (these things often can be), it will likely be remembered as her greatest accomplishment as President (that she’ll get credit for, anyway).
1. Blaming Her Incompetence On Chinese Hackers, While Freeing Tibet
Okay, hear me out on this one. After trying to flirt with her new romantic interest, Charlie Baird (John Slattery), Selina accidentally tweeted an insult to Senator O’Brien (Brad Leland), her political rival. In a desperate attempt to cover her tracks, she blamed the whole thing on Chinese hackers and imposed sanctions on the country. And it somehow worked out in her favor! We can’t give her credit for the execution, but she deserves some kind of applause for the fact that she was able to hold secret talks with the Chinese government to lift the sanctions while also freeing Tibet.
In the end, Selina didn’t get credit for it — that would go to her successor, Laura Montez (Andrea Savage) — but it’s still the Presidential equivalent of taking lemons and making lemonade. Lemonade that someone else gets credit for, but still, if any real-life President had managed to accomplish this, they’d be carving their spot on Mount Rushmore right now.